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13 Low-Cost Ways to Upgrade Fluorescent Light Fixtures to LED

The use of fluorescent lights has fallen by over 50% since 2015. As technological advances in lighting lead to more efficient light sources, finding ways to upgrade fixtures becomes more important.

Fluorescent light fixtures are a popular choice for many commercial properties and residential buildings, but they can often look outdated and dull. Upgrading your fluorescent light fixtures can not only improve the aesthetic of your space but also increase energy efficiency and reduce maintenance costs.

In this article, we’ve covered 13 ways to upgrade your light fixtures without spending a fortune. Read on for a complete guide to improving your lighting!

1. Replace the Tubes

One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to upgrade your fluorescent light fixtures is to replace the tube lights.

Newer, energy-efficient tubes can provide brighter and more consistent lighting while also reducing energy costs. This upgrade can be especially beneficial for commercial and industrial buildings that use a lot of lighting

When replacing the tubes in your fluorescent light fixtures, you will need to replace the ballasts, an essential part of the fixtures. Ballasts are responsible for supplying power to the tubes.

When replacing the tubes, it’s important to choose a ballast that is compatible with the new tubes.

2. Determine the Correct Lens for Light Fixtures

A lens can be added to your fluorescent light fixtures to help spread the light more evenly and reduce glare. This can be especially useful in spaces with a lot of reflective surfaces.

A lens is a transparent cover placed over the light fixtures to direct the light. This can be especially beneficial in spaces where people are working or studying, as it can reduce eye strain and improve visibility.

Another benefit of using a lens is that it can help to improve the overall aesthetic of the space. A lens can help to soften the harsh light that is often associated with fluorescent light fixtures, creating a more inviting and welcoming atmosphere.

When using a lens, it’s important to choose the right type of lens for your space. There are different types of lenses available, including prismatic, louvered, and parabolic lenses.

Prismatic lenses, which spread light and reduce glare, are the most common. Louvered lenses control the direction of the light and are common in spaces such as retail stores and offices. Parabolic lenses focus light and are best for industrial spaces like factories and warehouses.

Moreover, there are PMMA lenses to consider as well. PMMA stands for polymethyl methacrylate, but the material is more commonly known as acrylic. You may also know the name “plexiglass.”

3. Install Dimmer Switches

Installing a dimmer switch allows you to adjust the brightness of your fluorescent light fixtures to suit the needs of the space. This can be particularly useful in spaces with a lot of natural light at different times of the day.

A practical benefit of installing a dimmer switch is that it can help reduce energy costs. By adjusting the brightness of your fluorescent light fixtures, you can use less power than if your lights have a fixed brightness.

Another benefit of installing a dimmer switch is that it can help to improve the overall ambiance of the space. Lower light levels can create a relaxed mood, while brighter light can make a space more invigorating.

Be sure to choose the right type of dimmer switches for your space. There are different types of dimmer switches available, including rotary, slide, and touch dimmer switches.

4. Improve Energy Efficiency with Motion Sensors

Installing a motion sensor can help reduce energy costs by turning off the lights when the space is not in use. This can be especially useful in spaces that only get used briefly like bathrooms, storage rooms, and hallways.

Another benefit of installing a motion sensor is that it can help to improve the overall security of the space. By having the lights turn on automatically when someone enters the space, you can deter intruders and increase the overall safety of the space.

It’s important to make sure the motion sensor is compatible with your existing light fixtures. Some motion sensors may require specific types of lighting fixtures or may need to be custom-made to fit your existing fixtures.

Additionally, make sure to choose a motion sensor rated to handle the power of your fluorescent lights.

5. Put Lights on a Timer

Installing a timer can help reduce energy costs by turning off the lights when the space is not in use. A timer is a good option for rooms that don’t see much use and usually don’t need lighting.

Mechanical timers are the simplest and most basic type of timer. Digital timers are more advanced and offer more features and options. Programmable timers allow you to set specific schedules for the lights to turn on and off.

6. Install a Lightbox

A lightbox is a cover installed around the fluorescent light fixtures to help diffuse the light and create a softer, more inviting atmosphere.

Similar to a lens, lightboxes help reduce the harshness of fluorescent light. However, the lightbox can also make the light fixture itself more visually appealing.

7. Add a Light Shield

You can install a light shield around the fluorescent light fixtures to help improve the overall aesthetic of the space. Like a lightbox or some lenses, a light shield diffuses light, but it also protects the bulb.

This upgrade is ideal for industrial environments like manufacturing facilities, where debris may be in the air. Light shields can come in the form of a translucent panel or a protective metal cage.

8. Find an Appropriate Light Diffuser

A diffuser can be installed around the fluorescent light fixtures to help spread the light more evenly and reduce glare. Lenses are usually transparent, while diffusers are always translucent to soften the light.

Diffused light can make a space more relaxing. Diffusers work best for rooms with lower ceilings.

9. Choose a Reflector

A reflector can be installed around the fluorescent light fixtures to help increase the amount of light in the space. Reflectors surround a bulb and increase the amount of light it gives off.

Reflectors redirect and focus light, providing a brighter and more consistent light throughout the space. This is a huge benefit for spaces such as factories and warehouses, where improved visibility can increase productivity.

Make sure to consider the size and shape of your space and the intended use, in order to choose the right reflector that will provide the best results. The size and shape of the reflector will affect how well the bulb lights the space.

10. Decide on a Color Filter

A color filter can be installed around the fluorescent light fixtures to help change the color of the light. This can be especially useful in spaces where a specific color scheme is desired.

Color filters are useful for art galleries and museums, where the right lighting can help to enhance the appearance of the items on display. Additionally, in a home, colored light can add a unique visual intrigue to a room.

A light with a color filter can create a specific mood or atmosphere. Be sure to choose a color that works well with the design of a room and evokes the mood you want.

Color filters can be made of gel, glass, or plastic. Glass is more durable than gel, while plastic is the least expensive material.

11. Upgrade to LED Lights

LED lights are an increasingly popular lighting option due to their energy efficiency and long lifespan. Installing LED lights in place of fluorescent lights can help you spend less on energy and maintenance.

LED lights consume less energy than traditional incandescent or fluorescent lights. They also last longer, which means they need to be replaced less frequently, further reducing maintenance costs.

Another benefit of installing LED lights is that they produce a higher quality of light. LED lights are available in a range of color temperatures, which means you can choose a light that best suits the needs of the space.

When upgrading to LED lights, you have to choose LED lighting that will work well with your existing fixtures. This can be a tricky process, and it’s best to consult with a professional to ensure that you choose the right type of LED light for your space.

LED bulbs are available in A-type, BR, and PAR varieties. A-type LED lights are the most common and are used as a direct replacement for traditional incandescent bulbs. BR and PAR lights are useful for specific applications such as recessed lighting, track lighting, and outdoor lighting.

12. Consider Installing a Daylight or Photobio Sensor

Another simple but useful upgrade you can make to fluorescent light fixtures is to install a daylight sensor. Often, it isn’t necessary to keep the lights on at full brightness all day.

A daylight sensor is a device that can automatically adjust the light levels in a space based on the amount of natural light that is available. The sensor detects the natural light entering the room and adjusts the fluorescent light accordingly by dimming or switching off the lights.

This can help you save on energy by reducing the need for artificial lighting, and it can also help to improve the overall lighting quality of the space.

13. Replace the Ballast

The ballast is the component of the fluorescent light that regulates the electrical current to the light bulb. Over time, ballasts can wear out or become damaged, which can cause the light to flicker or stop working altogether.

Replacing the ballast can help to improve the overall performance of the light. Magnetic ballasts are the oldest type of ballast and are generally less efficient than electronic and hybrid ballasts.

Electronic ballasts are more efficient, but they can generate some electromagnetic interference. Hybrid ballasts are a combination of magnetic and electronic ballasts, which can be more efficient and generate less interference.

Another benefit of replacing the ballast is that it can help to extend the lifespan of the light bulb. A worn or damaged ballast can put additional stress on the light bulb, which can cause it to burn out more quickly.

How to Choose the Best LED Lighting Upgrades

These are just a few of the many ways that you can upgrade your fluorescent light fixtures.

Considering these low-cost options, you can improve the overall look and feel of your space while also reducing energy costs and maintenance costs. Keep in mind that lighting is a crucial part of a building design, and the right lighting solutions can help to enhance the ambiance of any space.

When upgrading your fluorescent light fixtures, it’s important to consider the overall look and feel of your space. Think about the color scheme, the style of the space, and how the lighting will complement the overall design.

For example, if you have a modern and sleek space, you may want to consider simple and minimalist lighting fixtures. On the other hand, in a more traditional space, you may get better results with more ornate and detailed lighting fixtures.

Remember to consult with a lighting professional at Lighting and Supplies before making any changes to your lighting fixtures, because the right type of lighting is crucial for any space. They can help you determine the best lighting options for your space

A lighting professional will account for factors like the size, layout, and intended use of the space, as well as your budget.

Get the Most Out of Fluorescent Light Fixtures

Upgrading your fluorescent light fixtures can be a cost-effective way to improve the look and feel of your space while reducing energy and maintenance costs. By considering the options and lighting definitions covered in this guide, you can create a more inviting and functional space.

Lighting and Supplies has over 400,000 lighting and electrical components options to choose from from over 500 top manufacturers in the US. Contact us today for a free quote on lighting equipment, or call 888-325-4448 to speak with a member of our sales team directly.

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Helping our commercial and industrial customers save energy and money by using safe, efficient LED lighting for their facilities.

Contact us for a quote today!

443-672-4983

Need Lights? Get a Fast Quote from Lighting & Supplies Today!

Call Us Now

443.672.4983

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