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sm5w2
Premium
join:2004-10-13
St Thomas, ON

T8 vs T12 fluorescent tubes (fat vs skinny) Canada vs US?

I'm wondering what the retail situation is regarding any "ban" that might be in place (or will go into place) here in Canada regarding the traditional T12 fluorescent lamps (tubes, what-ever you call them). These are the lamps that are 1.5" in diameter. The T8 size is 1" diam. I'm talking the regular 4-foot-long lamps. You can't use T8 lamps in fixtures that originally came with T12 lamps (because of the difference in ballast).

A year ago this month, a ban on the importation and manufacture of T12 lamps went into effect in the US, and although there seems to be some similar regulatory talk about doing the same here in Canada, I can find no absolute "decree" that we now have a similar ban in place.

Home Depot is still selling them ($35 for a box of 30 T-12) vs the same price for a box of 10 T-8. The T-8 lamps are more expensive now, supposedly, because they use rare-earth elements that China began rationing a couple of years ago.

So - does anyone know if there are any regulatory bans in place (or scheduled) for T12 fluorescent lamps in Canada?


HiVolt
Premium
join:2000-12-28
Toronto, ON
kudos:21
They might work in existing fixtures, you just have to check if the ballast supports it. It would be written on it.
--


agtle

join:2013-03-09
reply to sm5w2
»oee.nrcan.gc.ca/regulations/bulletins/12997

They talk of harmonizing the standards with the EPA, but aren't clear if it the regulation has actually been implemented. I'm not sure it is an outright "ban", per se, but rather, efficiency standards that the older technology cannot meet in a cost-effective way, leading to their (eventual) withdrawal from the market.

I would just add - from my personal experience, we switched about 300 fixtures from mid-1970s ballasts & T12s to electronic ballasts & T8s, and the operating savings are actually true - we are 13 months in, and expect to fully recover the capital outlay for the replacements via lower operating costs after 24 months (a year sooner than the consultant projected).


sm5w2
Premium
join:2004-10-13
St Thomas, ON
I have (at work) about 4-dozen fixtures that each take 4 4-ft tubes and maybe another dozen 2-lamp fixtures, all installed about 1981/82 and all originally magnetic ballasts. As the ballasts fail, I replace them with electronic ballasts (for T12) and have been mystified as to why there are no 4-lamp T12 electronic ballasts. A web-search shows that they exist - but at ridiculous prices ($130 and higher). A pair of 2-lamp T12 ballasts costs about $30-$35 for the pair.

Can you really say that you are saving money switching fixtures over to T8 (vs keeping them T12 and swapping magnetic for electronic ballasts) when T8 lamps are 3-times the price of T12?

Also, not a fair comparison when you replace 40-watt T12's with 32-watt T8's. Tell me how much you save when you compare 34-watt T12 vs 32-watt T8.

T8's want/need to have slightly higher operating temperature that T12's (95f vs 77f) making them more problematic to operate in unheated areas like loading docks, warehouses, etc.

I hear that EMI/RFI interference also increases when you go to high-frequency T8 ballasts...

HeadSpinning
MNSi Internet

join:2005-05-29
Windsor, ON
kudos:5
As a side note, if you have the choice, pick "programmed start" ballasts. Longer bulb life, which is particularly useful in areas where they're difficult to change.
--
MNSi Internet - »www.mnsi.net


Thane_Bitter
Inquire within
Premium
join:2005-01-20
Reviews:
·Bell Sympatico
reply to sm5w2
Most of the ballasts on my old T12 (and apparently cheaply made) tube lights have developed issues in humid weather, they just will not turn on. I have been upgrading to T8 fixtures and been pleased with the results. It is cheaper to buy a box of 10 tubes, I prefer Sylvania but got a box of Natural Phillips 4 foot tubes (Alto II). I find the natural tubes offer a more white light than the warm (too red) or the cool (makes you look like a stiff). I did have a few T8 bulbs go, however these had been purchased a head of time and been sold as a pair, I think they might have been slightly damaged from handling.

BrianON

join:2011-09-30
Ottawa, ON
Reviews:
·TekSavvy Cable
reply to sm5w2
The cost to switch will likely increase over time as rebate/incentive programs are withdrawn.

For example: »saveonenergy.ca/Business/Program···-AC.aspx


sm5w2
Premium
join:2004-10-13
St Thomas, ON
They came around our place a couple years ago.

I complained to them that the idea of paying a licensed contractor $20 a fixture (for labor) plus some inflated price for the ballast to swap out a magnetic ballast for electronic (plus the cost of the ballast) is bull crap (even if I am reimbursed for it later - up to a total of $1500). I told them I should be able to submit a bill to them myself for just the cost of the new electronic ballasts if I swap them in myself, but these programs don't work that way.

$1500 would only do about 30 fixtures at $50 each. Not counting the price for new lamps.

They probably wouldn't allow me to keep using T12's anyways (even if they are more efficient when switched to electronic ballasts) but I don't want to move to T8's because they are 3x the price of T12's.

They (whoever "they" are) should provide free electronic ballasts for any qualifying electricity customer who asks for them, and let the customer replace their existing magnetic ballasts.

After all, I think we all can agree that the vast majority of electricity savings in lighting come from simply replacing magnetic ballasts with electronic ones, and that any additional savings in using 32-watt T8 vs 34-watt T12 is marginal to insignificant -> and possibly even NEGATIVE when you factor in the price advantage of T12 vs T8 lamps.


Spike
Premium
join:2008-05-16
Toronto, ON

2 edits
reply to sm5w2
Its the same thing with the EVSE rebate incentive. You HAVE to use one of their licensed contractors.
You can't simply install it yourself and have the ESA come and throughly inspect it like anything else if you want said rebate.
In the end it ends up costing roughly the same WITH the rebate or doing it yourself without it. Huge waste.
Even worse, you HAVE to use one of their approved EVSE's to be eligible, so if you want to plan ahead with a 60A unit and installation, good luck.

EDIT: In your case you'd come out behind when factoring in having to replace all the T12's with T8's immediately rather than letting the T12's live out their normal life.


linicx
Caveat Emptor
Premium
join:2002-12-03
United State
Reviews:
·TracFone Wireless
·CenturyLink
reply to sm5w2
I am in the US and have both types of fixtures. The new bulbs will not fit in the old connectors. The new design will last longer, any way. When the old fails I will replace it.

I don't know about Canada, the biggest difference between UK and US that I notice is the national power grid and ordinary wall outlets.

This might be an interesting discussion some time.
--
Mac: No windows, No Gates, Apple inside


Hydraglass
Premium
join:2002-05-08
Kingston, ON
said by linicx:

I am in the US and have both types of fixtures. The new bulbs will not fit in the old connectors. The new design will last longer, any way. When the old fails I will replace it.

I don't know about Canada, the biggest difference between UK and US that I notice is the national power grid and ordinary wall outlets.

This might be an interesting discussion some time.

The biggest difference that exists between US and Canada in respect to power is the typical voltages used in commercial/industrial locations. In the US the standard 3 phase power is 277/480 - that is not used in Canada - 347/600 is the standard 3 phase power used in Canada. For lower voltages (medium commercial) 120/208 3 phase is used in both countries extensively. For residential and light commercial, 120/240 center tapped single phase power is the standard in both countries. We use the same harmonized power receptacles in both countries (15A/20A) -- what is sometimes different here is the standard receptacles used for 40A and 50A - they are available in both countries - but the choice of which to use is sometimes different.

Residential lighting uses standard PAR based fixtures in both countries.

Florescent lighting ballasts and fixtures are common - but my be different in large commercial/industrial facilities simply because of the choice of 347V ballasts in Canada vs. 277V ballasts in the US.

That's a quick overview of the differences across our border. We have some other differences in the electrical code requirements that both sides are working on harmonizing - mostly regarding circuit breakers, wiring near sinks and in bathrooms, GFCI and AFCI protection areas, etc - but the differences are usually minimal enough that an electrician who is competent in one area could get along fine in the other area with a little "cheat sheet" as to the differences.


linicx
Caveat Emptor
Premium
join:2002-12-03
United State
Reviews:
·TracFone Wireless
·CenturyLink
Thanks!

I am not an electrician. What we call normal house and appliances is AC/DC. Most of the wiring that comes into the house elecrical panel is 200 but 300 is possible. It is separated into breakers for various usage such as rooms or electric stove.

This is absolutely all I understand. I'm sure you are correct that a competent electrician could figure it out with a little help from a 'friend' (cheat sheet).
--
Mac: No windows, No Gates, Apple inside


sm5w2
Premium
join:2004-10-13
St Thomas, ON
reply to Hydraglass
> In the US the standard 3 phase power is 277/480 - that is not used in Canada

I see a lot of 277V fluorescent ballasts on the shelves of home despot here in Canada, so explain that...


Spike
Premium
join:2008-05-16
Toronto, ON
said by sm5w2:

> In the US the standard 3 phase power is 277/480 - that is not used in Canada

I see a lot of 277V fluorescent ballasts on the shelves of home despot here in Canada, so explain that...

Its probably more cost effective for lighting to just use a 347/600 -> 277/480 step-down transformer.
Nothing at our datacenter for instance uses 347/600 so we have to step-down the 347/600 from the building ourselves. Even the giant APC HVAC units run on 277/480 stepped down from 347/600.

The main UPS units are also 277/480 and you'd be hard pressed to ever find 347/600 models of such large machines...

Less common oddballs like 347V ballasts among other 600V products always cost more.
From what I understand all of the 600V installations are legacy, and the rest of Canada is moving away from it for new installs.


Hydraglass
Premium
join:2002-05-08
Kingston, ON
said by Spike:

said by sm5w2:

> In the US the standard 3 phase power is 277/480 - that is not used in Canada

I see a lot of 277V fluorescent ballasts on the shelves of home despot here in Canada, so explain that...

Its probably more cost effective for lighting to just use a 347/600 -> 277/480 step-down transformer. Nothing at our datacenter for instance uses 347/600 so we have to step-down the 347/600 from the building ourselves. Even the giant APC HVAC units run on 277/480 stepped down from 347/600.

The main UPS units are also 277/480 and you'd be hard pressed to ever find 347/600 models of such large machines...

Exactly - the benefit is of course 347/600 uses lower current - so a lighting installation or machinery installation of the same size might be able to use 10AWG instead of 8AWG or 6AWG wire and save a significant amount of cost. My facility here has all 347 ballasts for lighting (with T8) - they are nice and small and weren't terribly expensive - places like Westburne or Guillevin's carry all sorts of stuff for 347V.

But if you're a part of a larger company, buy a lot of your equipment from US Mfg's, deal with US suppliers like Galco, etc - well you're likely to have a 600 -> 480 transformer in your utility rooms or by your equipment to voltage match. My lab is full of different transformers - I have a 500kVA 600 delta -> 208/120 Wye, a 250kVA 600 delta -> 480/277 Wye, and 3 x 100kVA 600 delta -> 600/347 Wye. All my power is supplied by a 600V Delta Bus Duct overhead (1000A).