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IowaCowboy
Iowa native
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join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
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Cost of light bulbs (Bye-bye T-12)

Since my F40T12 4' fluorescent bulbs in the basement are nearing the end of life (darkening ends and reduced light output) I was at Lowe's today looking to buy replacements. The price of them has skyrocketed since I bought them (not just went up but skyrocketed) and I bought the original ones in 2009 for $4 or $5 a package of 2. Now they are $9.97 a package of 2. The salesman said something about them going all LED but all I could find on the web is the T12 bulbs are going bye-bye come 2014. I am wondering if I should just go ahead replace the ballasts with ones that are compatible with the T-8 lamps and forget about paying through the nose for T-12 lamps that are going bye-bye anyways and I'll have to replace the ballasts sooner or later.

I just installed the fixtures brand new in 2009 or 2010 (can't remember the exact year but I strained my back installing them). They are hardwired. I had no idea that T-12 bulbs were being phased out or I would have opted for the pricier T-8 fixtures. The fixtures I bought was a contractor pack that had two fixtures and the fixtures hold two F40T12 bulbs each. I think the fixtures were on clearance as well. I was aware that incandescent bulbs were going bye-bye in favor of CFLs but not aware of a phase out of linear fluorescent T12 lamps.


rfhar
The World Sport, Played In Every Country
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join:2001-03-26
Buicktown,Mi
Reviews:
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I am in a similar situation. I am wondering what would happen if a T8 bulb would be installed in place of a T12 bulb and if they would fit. I go into the plant that I retired from to use the weight room and I know that the ceiling fixtures are 50+ years old and T12. I heard on of the electricians say to the other something like he wondered if these bulbs would work and the other saying that there was one way to find out. This was several months ago.
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hm

@videotron.ca
reply to IowaCowboy
You might want to check your fixture.
Most all fixtures even from over 3 years ago take both T-12 and T-8. Mine do, and mine have to be around 5 yrs old. Maybe older...


SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:4
Reviews:
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1 recommendation

reply to IowaCowboy
This is something 20 years in the making. Didn't you get the notice?

A couple of short articles

»ddmdesign.ca/wp-content/uploads/···tion.pdf

»www.nalmco.org/WorkArea/Download···x?id=792
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"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." - Aldous Huxley

Speedy Petey

join:2008-01-19

1 recommendation

reply to IowaCowboy
said by IowaCowboy:

The salesman said something about them going all LED .............

Wow. A clueless big box store employee.
What a surprise.


Subaru
1-3-2-4
Premium
join:2001-05-31
Greenwich, CT
kudos:1
reply to IowaCowboy
I had a hard time finding T12's at HD about 2 weeks ago I ended up getting some T8's that worked, the ballast is a rapid start Advance.


nunya
LXI 483
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O Fallon, MO
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reply to IowaCowboy
T12's are history. That's been a "known" for some time now. I can't even remember the last time I installed a T12 fixture.
You can stick bi-pin T8's tubes into a T12 socket, just don't expect them to last more than a few hours. "Maintenance guys" do this all the time, and then the procurement department starts to wonder why they are using 6X as many lamps as usual.
The ballast needs to match the lamp.

Here's what I would do if I were you: I'd buy the T12 lamps one last time. By the time they burn out out again, you can get a T8 ballast and convert the fixture, or trash it and get a new T8 or T5 or LED fixture in the future.

The supply house send out a memo a while back. I'm paraphrasing, but it was something along the lines of: Get your T12 stuff now, cause the shits fixin' to get spensive.
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If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.

scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2
reply to IowaCowboy
Thanks for the word , Nunya. I'll be checking my 4 foot bulbs next weekend.

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
reply to nunya
Aren't there two different types of ballasts for 4' T8's? And aren't they wired differently? Which type would you recommend for a residential application?


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
reply to nunya
I am wondering what brand of ballasts are better as Home Depot sells GE and Lowe's sells Phillips Advance. I am wondering if the Phillips Alto lamps have any advantages over other lamps.


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to IowaCowboy
I put up a new T8 fixture in the garage the other day, bought it from Lowe's Depot. It's about 30 bucks including the bulbs (you buy the bulbs separately since the fixtures don't come with bulbs). I would have put T5 but it gets cold down there.


hm

@videotron.ca
reply to nunya

Standard
said by nunya:

T12's are history. That's been a "known" for some time now.

Indeed. So that why I said above he should really look into what he has bought. Chances are it already supports T-8. Unless he bought some real cheap thing at some real shady place.

All fixtures that I see on sale here for the past 4-5 years, the ballast is made for T-12's & T-8's.

The ballasts in the standard shop-lights are all dual now. Has been for a while.

Even have an old box I pulled out of the furnace room clearly showing it (well not that clearly, only took a fast pic of it above showing the ballast's on todays models support both).

If his does indeed do only T-12, and burns out T-8's like what you are saying, they he got taken by whatever store selling very old stock.

BTW. The prices here start at 6-7$ for two. 9$ for two tend to be the ones with high blue spectral out-put good for starting seedlings in a house. Doubt you need that unless you start your Tomatoes under then in March. So you might want to try a different store if their standard T-12's are really that price.

How much does a new ballast got for? A new light fixture with the proper ballast for the T-12 & T-8 is 16.99$. 12.99 when they go on sale around spring usually.


hm

@videotron.ca
reply to IowaCowboy
Phillips can run diff wattage's.

For example, say you buy a new shop-light with a GE ballast. They are normally set for 40W. Phillips, to my understanding will run 40W, 32W, 25W & 17W.

In regards to the ALTO, only diff is ALTO has less mercury. Other than that no clue if the ALTO is "better".


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
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Springfield, MA
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reply to hm
The fixtures were manufactured by Cooper Lighting.


BillRoland
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Ocala, FL
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Reviews:
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reply to IowaCowboy
This thread caught my eye as the ballast in my fixture above the kitchen sink went out yesterday. It was a T12 bulb, I thought it was the bulb since I've never replaced it and its well over 10 years old, but new bulb exhibited the same thing. Rather than replace the ballast, I just went by Lowes and got a new 24" fixture. According to what I read on the side of the box, it is T12 Magnetic Ballast. It doesn't say anything about accepting a T8 bulb. I had no idea that T12 bulbs were being phased out as I don't keep up with this stuff.

The "future proof" side of me wants to take it down and take it back and get something that isn't already obsolete, but the practical side of me says it should easily last 5+ years and I'll deal with it then. It is a Cooper Lightning brand.
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leibold
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join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
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Reviews:
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reply to Bob4
said by Bob4:

Aren't there two different types of ballasts for 4' T8's? And aren't they wired differently? Which type would you recommend for a residential application?

Yes.

An Instant Start ballast only has a single wire to each end of the bulb and either uses internally shorted sockets (marked with S) or attaches that single wire to both contacts of a dual pin socket. Starting is done entirely with high voltage and no heating takes place.

Rapid Start ballasts (rare) and Program Start (Electronic Program Rapid Start) ballasts are wired with 2 wires to each end of the bulb (same as T-12). Cathodes are heated for reliable, flicker-free starting.

Program Start is recommended but only for T-8 > 3ft. I don't think Rapid Start or Program Start exist for shorter length T-8 bulbs and ballasts.

When converting T-12 bulbs to T-8 bulbs in the same fixture pay attention to the ground requirements of the ballast. Electronic ballasts often require that there is a grounded plane (reflector, enclosure) behind the bulbs at a certain distance from the bulb. This requirement is sometimes no longer met when switching from T-12 to T-8 since the bulb diameter is smaller (however the same sockets still fit since the distance between the pins is the same).
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hm

@videotron.ca
reply to IowaCowboy
said by IowaCowboy:

The fixtures were manufactured by Cooper Lighting.

Mine just says, "Made for distribution for home depot, Commercial use". Don't see a brand name on it anywhere. So it's some generic white-label made in China thing.

Mine is an electronic ballast. I am going to assume the one you have is the old magnetic one?

To me it just doesn't even make sense to change the ballast. One like mine w/ electronic ballast that will do two diff wattage's (T12 and T-8) is 16.99$. Why buy a ballast for ~$25+?

When I looked at the ballasts online I saw nothing under $25. But I only looked at one place. So doesn't even seem worth changing. Unless you have some sort of fancy fixture that's worth saving and hanging on to.

I just think you need to shop at a different hardware store. If I can get 2 Phillips T-12's for 6$ (soft white) to 7-8$ (Day Light) in Canada at home depot, then you should be able to get a better price in the country this company is located in.

Pack of 30 T-12's is ~31$, BTW.


nunya
LXI 483
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O Fallon, MO
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reply to hm

You might want to check your fixture.
Most all fixtures even from over 3 years ago take both T-12 and T-8. Mine do, and mine have to be around 5 yrs old. Maybe older...

Indeed. So that why I said above he should really look into what he has bought. Chances are it already supports T-8. Unless he bought some real cheap thing at some real shady place.

All fixtures that I see on sale here for the past 4-5 years, the ballast is made for T-12's & T-8's.

The ballasts in the standard shop-lights are all dual now. Has been for a while.


I believe your insinuation that "most" fluorescent fixtures have been made with this "dual" ballast is incorrect. I've never happened upon one of these "dual ballast" fixtures once. Maybe it's a Canadian thing. And I'm not implying at all that they don't exist - I'm saying I don't think it's as commonplace as you say.
That's why I specifically said "The ballast needs to match the lamp."
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If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.

Hellrazor
Bah Humbug

join:2002-02-02
Abyss, PA
Reviews:
·Service Electric..
reply to IowaCowboy
Actually I have a few of those cheap dual ballast lights here. They are that cheap crap from HD. They are made by Lithonia lighting and are a huge turd. The ballasts last about 1-2 years and die. They came through as a stock t8 fixture but the ballasts support t12 and t8.

Friends don't let friends buy lithonia lighting. Support for that brand sucks up here in PA and every distrib I use at work cringes when I ask about parts for them. That includes the commercial troffers, etc.


rtcy
FACTS only please
Premium
join:1999-10-16
Norwalk, CA
reply to Speedy Petey
said by Speedy Petey:

said by IowaCowboy:

The salesman said something about them going all LED .............

Wow. A clueless big box store employee.
What a surprise.

just cause he / she works at a big box store does not mean they were wrong

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5C2M24HbdM


my whole house is LED and it cut my bill by 67.00 a month


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Where can I get those LED conversion kits at. I don't see them stocked at Lowes Depot.


Jack_in_VA
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North, VA
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Reviews:
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reply to rtcy
said by rtcy:

whole house is LED and it cut my bill by 67.00 a month

Let's see 67.00 cut for me would represent about 670 kWh. About 1/2 of my total usage. I wish


SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:4
Reviews:
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said by Jack_in_VA:

said by rtcy:

whole house is LED and it cut my bill by 67.00 a month

Let's see 67.00 cut for me would represent about 670 kWh. About 1/2 of my total usage. I wish

I was thinking the same thing. It be about 470 for me
About a third.


rtcy
FACTS only please
Premium
join:1999-10-16
Norwalk, CA
said by SparkChaser:

said by Jack_in_VA:

said by rtcy:

whole house is LED and it cut my bill by 67.00 a month

Let's see 67.00 cut for me would represent about 670 kWh. About 1/2 of my total usage. I wish

I was thinking the same thing. It be about 470 for me
About a third.

so are you implying that I do not use 3500kw a month? cause I could ask you to pay my 700.00 dollar bill

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
Did you convert existing fixtures? What product did you use?


rtcy
FACTS only please
Premium
join:1999-10-16
Norwalk, CA
it's been over a year , so I do not recall, but I got them on the web, that was 3 units that were that type, the rest of the house consists of 50% are built in cones into the roof ans the rest are trac lighting with big bullets using the latest cree flood type bulbs.

I'm not here to push anything, just wanted to make a point about researching stuff yourselves, the internet makes it easy, it's the decisions that are the problem.
will it return the investment in time for you? for me the answer is yes, keep in mind that the early ones were less than great and we returned many to Lights of America for a free warranty replacement, since then we've moved on to the cree led's , they last longer before they start to go dim (5 to 8 years supposedly) oh led's don't usually burn out they just go dim (sounds like MacArthur's remarks)

sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
reply to nunya
I have a bunch (like 8) lamps that use starters. Does that mean bulbs are going to be hard to come by then?

itguy05

join:2005-06-17
Carlisle, PA
reply to rtcy
said by rtcy:

so are you implying that I do not use 3500kw a month? cause I could ask you to pay my 700.00 dollar bill

Damn! I can't imagine a $700 electric bill on a house. Our gas and electric is not even $250 a month!

Glad I don't live on CA!


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
reply to sk1939
Most "popular" T12 lamps were banned in July of this year. As stock dwindles down, prices will skyrocket.
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IowaCowboy
Iowa native
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Springfield, MA
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reply to itguy05
said by itguy05:

said by rtcy:

so are you implying that I do not use 3500kw a month? cause I could ask you to pay my 700.00 dollar bill

Damn! I can't imagine a $700 electric bill on a house. Our gas and electric is not even $250 a month!

Glad I don't live on CA!

He probably lives in Southern California where you run the central A/C 24/7/365 and the nation's highest electric rates behind Hawaii. Hawaii and Puerto Rico have the highest electric rates in the nation because they are islands and the utilities there have to self generate 100 percent of their electric grid capacity because they cannot buy electricity from neighboring utilities like they can in the Continental US. Alaska must be high as well due to the remote nature of their villages.

Massachusetts has high electric rates but it is not as bad as it can get (I heard Connecticut is higher). Iowa has cheap electric rates (two bedroom ranch with gas heat costs about $50 per month for electric).

As for the T-12, if it knocks down my WMECo bill, I'll convert them to T-8. I just replaced the CFL in my bedroom with an LED bulb that I got for $4.99 at Big Y after an instant rebate from MassSaves. WMECo isn't the cheapest utility but not bad like the utility that rtcy See Profile mentions.