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How To Convert Fluorescent Tube Lighting To LED Lighting

How To Convert Fluorescent Tube Lighting To LED Lighting

Are you planning to replace your fluorescent tube lights with LED systems? We commend your decision. While LED tube lights may be slightly more expensive upfront than their fluorescent counterparts, they are 20% to 50% more energy-efficient, last twice as long, and are better for the environment. All these benefits point to greater savings and user satisfaction in the long run. 

However, you may want to get acquainted with the types of LED systems before committing to an LED retrofit. LED tube lights come in various configurations and, depending on their type, may require different steps to make the conversion successful. Knowing which type of LED best suits your needs is important as well. The conversion itself is usually an afterthought, as a licensed electrician can easily take care of it for you. 

FM Lighting and Electrical is the resident fluorescent lighting and LED lighting specialist in Calgary. Our 25 years of experience with both lighting systems make us the perfect candidate to retrofit your tube lighting. Call us for a free quote for your Calgary LED retrofit. 

The ABCs of LED Tube Lighting 

Converting your fluorescent lighting system to LED is more of an exercise in decision-making rather than a manual process. Specifically, you will have to think about which type of LED tube lighting is best adapted to your needs and budget. 

There are 3 types of LED tube lighting you will need to consider:

Type A or ballast-compatible LED: Type A LEDs are the easiest to install because they can use the same ballast that was powering the fluorescent light. Simply remove the fluorescent tube, plug in the Type A LED, and enjoy genuine LED lighting as the device’s internal driver connects with the existing ballast. Installing Type A LEDs does not require any structural modification to your lighting fixture. Most type A LEDs are compatible with T12, T8, and T5 ballasts. 

While Type As are a popular LED choice due to their ease of installation, these plug-and-play systems are among the more expensive LED options on the market. They are also on the lower end in terms of energy efficiency, though they are still at least 20% more efficient than fluorescent lighting. Lastly, the reliability of Type A LEDs is tied to the ballast, which may fail and add to maintenance costs. 

Type A LEDs are a strong choice for your LED retrofit if you value convenience over other considerations.

Type B or ballast-bypass LED: Unlike Type As, Type B LEDs require the removal of the old ballast and get power directly from the line voltage. Installing a Type B LED may require significant rewiring, as well as socket replacement, and should be left to a licensed professional. 

Compared to Type As, Type B LEDs offset more complex installation with better reliability and energy efficiency. Type B LEDs are a great option if you want your tube lighting system to pay for itself in the long run. 

Type C or LED with external driver: In addition to rewiring and other modifications to your electrical fixture, Type C LEDs require an external driver that must be connected to the sockets (not line voltage). Once connected, the external driver can also power up several other LED lights.

Converting your fluorescent system to Type C LEDs entails relatively high labour costs, but their performance often exceeds other LED options. Type C LEDs generally have the longest lifecycle, are the easiest on your energy bills, and provide the best dimming and lighting control. 

Type C LEDs are the way to go if you prioritize performance above all else. 

A Note On LED Retrofit And Conversion 

Because Type B and Type C LEDs require modifications to your electrical fixture, we recommend you hire a professional to make the LED retrofit or conversion. The installation process requires thorough electricity and wiring knowledge that only a qualified electrician has. 

Making Your LED Conversion Easy 

As you are unlikely to make the conversion yourself, your main role in the process is to select your preferred LED lighting system. Your choices are:

  • Type A LEDs, known for their superb convenience and ease of installation
  • Type B LEDs, sought for their great value over time 
  • Type C LEDs, notable for their peerless performance 

As a leading fluorescent and LED lighting provider in Calgary, FM Lighting and Electrical is perfectly positioned to help you make the jump from fluorescent to LED systems. Our electricians not only have extensive experience installing all types of LED tube lights, but they can also walk you through the decision process and help you make a choice that complements your needs and budget. Call 403-863-8529 or fill out the online contact form to book a complimentary consultation for your LED conversion or retrofit.


Q: What are the advantages of LED lighting over fluorescent lighting?
A: The main advantages of LEDs over fluorescent lights include longer lifespan and lower power consumption. Over time, LEDs tend to be the more economic and environmentally friendly option of the two. 

Q: What are the drawbacks of LED lighting?
A: The initial cost of LED lights is generally higher than that of fluorescent lights. Though LED lights are more cost-efficient in the long run, fluorescent lights may be less expensive for short-term lighting solutions. 

Q: How do LED lights help the environment?
A: LED lights consume less energy, which reduces your household’s carbon footprint. Additionally, unlike fluorescent lights, LEDs do not contain toxic chemicals like mercury. Lastly, LEDs last significantly longer than lighting systems, reducing waste. 

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