There are many general service fluorescent tubes available today, and recently these were considered to be the most energy-efficient lighting solution available. Fluorescent tubes come in a variety of lengths, colors and types. It is vitally important to select the right fluorescent tube that provides the perfect lighting solution for any room in your home.
Fluorescent tube are made up of a glass tube itself, two electrodes, an inert gas (typically argon), mercury and phosphor powder. So basically, fluorescent light tubes are long, thin gas discharge bulbs that use power to produce visible light by exciting mercury vapor. By design, fluorescent tubes cannot be merely plugged into the mains supply because they require a ballast unit and a starter to initiate visible light production. These are very energy efficient bulbs that do not employ tungsten to produce light.
Fluorescent tubes normally possess a two-pin fitting located at both ends of the tube. The tube diameter is usually designated with a certain code, consisting of a T (for tube), and a particular number representing relative size. The typical tube sizes are T2, T4, T5, T6, T8, T9, T10 and T12. The biggest size T12 (38mm) tubes are no longer being manufactured, but they did employ a G13 cap similar to the T8 tube meaning that one can easily replace the T12 fluorescent tubes with the more efficient T8 tubes of the same length. On the other hand, T8 (26mm) tubes are the standard size and they use the G13 fitting with 13mm flanked by the two pins.
Fluorescent tubes tend to be larger than others but they work perfectly well. Lengths can vary from 4 inch to 8 feet. They are also available in various lumen and watt options, ranging from 4 Watt to 125 Watt of light output. Mostly, fluorescent tubes emit much less heat than other kinds of light bulbs. They can produce between 50 and 100 lumens, per watt. In terms of designs, fluorescent tubes come in linear, U-shaped and circular designs, featuring single, 2-pin and 4-pin configurations.
These tubes come in various colors, or color temperatures that create different lighting moods enabling you to customize the lighting in every room of your house. The color temperature determines the light tube’s color when illuminated, and is often given in degrees Kelvin. Typically, the higher the Kelvin number, the whiter and the bluer, or cooler the shade. On the contrary, the lower the Kelvin number, the more yellow, or warmer the shade. The color temperatures include extra warm white, warm white, white, cool white and daylight.
The tone and quality of the color produced by a fluorescent lamp is measured by the color-rendering index, or CRI. This is an industry standard reference to a lamp on how well it renders colors of objects it illuminates. Halophosphate or standard fluorescent tubes usually have a color rending index ranging from 50-70% while the more advanced Triphosphor tubes have a color rendering index of about 85%.
Another feature of fluorescent tubes is that they come with a much longer lifespan compared to many other bulbs. Their standard lifespan can last up to 20 times longer, or as much as 8,000 to 15,000 hours, than the traditional equivalent and this will certainly help with operating costs as well as replacement costs.
Fluorescent tubes are commonly used in commercial applications such as warehouse lighting, office blocks or industrial settings. And even though they are often perfect for big rooms and commercial installations, fluorescent tubes are also handy in domestic settings such as garages for general lighting, kitchens for under-cabinet lighting and in other places such as display lighting and fridges.
In addition, there are many types of dedicated fluorescent tubes that are used in applications such as medical functions for treating skin conditions. Such specialist tubes produce extremely high levels of UV light that kills different bacteria related to skin complaints. Also, there are fluorescent tubes used in car show rooms to augment the paint work and color of the metallic finishes.
Fluorescent tubes play a much bigger role these days in many kinds of industries, as an ideal and energy efficient lighting solution. With so many varieties in terms of design, color and wattage, it is imperative to select a fluorescent tube that fits the design of your light fixture.