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  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA.
    Posts
    709

    flourescent lighting and cold weather

    Someone touched on this in another post, but could someone point me in the right direction on this. I have 3, 4 foot flourescent fixtures in my garage. In the cold (below 30), the tubes just glow a little. Do I need new tubes, new ballasts or should I get non flourescent lights. If I leave them on will they warm up and produce more light?

    Mark F

  2. #2
    DickLaxt 2
    Guest

    RE: flourescent lighting and cold weather

    Here you go Pal,,,,,,,,,,

    Fluorescent lamps in cold weather.
    You need lamps with "cold weather ballasts" and they should be used in outdoor fixtures.
    You have discovered a kind of "generation gap" in the compact fluorescent product lineup. The variety exists mostly because retailers have several different "generations" of compact fluorescent lamps on their shelves. When you survey a selection of lamps for sale, you might be choosing from three or more versions of similar products, sometimes from the same manufacturer. Also frustrating is the transient nature of the selection - a product that was featured prominently on your favorite retailer's shelf last week could be replaced with another brand tomorrow.
    Depending on where you shop, the selection of compact fluorescents may include bulbs that won't light at all below 32 degrees, lamps that might flicker and be dim at lower temperatures, and lamps that are rated to start at temperatures as low as 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.
    And just to keep your high-school science skills sharp, a few packages list the temperature ratings for their lamps in degrees Celsius. This is especially true for lamps made for a worldwide market - we saw one package that noted the lamp was made in Hungary, and another sticker had been added changing the country of origin to China. And in case you can't recall the formula, convert Celsius to Fahrenheit by multiplying the Celsius temperature by 9. Divide the answer by 5. Now add 32. Congratulations.
    The culprit that keeps some compact fluorescent bulbs from lighting in cold weather is called the ballast. The ballast is usually located in the base of a CF bulb, and can be separate from or integrated with the lamp tube. A ballast basically refines and regulates the electrical energy needed to start the fluorescent light process and, once lit, maintains the proper current to keep the lamp illuminated.
    There are two kinds of ballasts commonly found in fluorescent lights. Magnetic ballasts use an electromagnetic coil to regulate current. Electronic ballasts use circuitry to accomplish the task.
    Older compact fluorescents used magnetic ballasts. These bulbs are very heavy, compared to an incandescent. Some people complain about flickering from magnetic ballasts, and their cold-weather reliability is not good. We have observed magnetic ballast compact fluorescents that would not start at 20 degrees, and only glowed dimly at 35 degrees. Most packages on lamps with magnetic ballasts will carry a warning. "May not start below 32 degrees."
    Electronic-ballast compact fluorescents are the way to go for good cold-weather performance and flicker-free light. Most electronic-ballast models now will be labeled to start at minus 20 degrees.
    Fuorescent replacement lights for outdoor floodlight fixtures have come down in price and improved in reliability. The General Electric R-30 fluorescent flood lamp is rated to minus 10 degrees. This product carries a warning that is applicable to all compact fluorescent bulbs: "May take a short period to achieve full brightness."
    If you are looking for a compact fluorescent with a replaceable plug-in tube portion, you are limited to a magnetic ballast model. These are more expensive than the integrated ballast/tube electronic models, but the replacement tube is only about $3 to $5. Representatives at Grover's Electric in Vancouver indicate that these types of lamps are being phased out in favor of the less expensive and more reliable electronic-ballast bulbs.

    Dickie
    A joker in the deck of life


  3. #3
    Sonny Edmonds
    Guest

    RE: flourescent lighting and cold weather

    Send them to me.
    I can warm them up and they will work fine here. }>

    :D

    [link:www.sonnyedmonds.com | Sonny Edmonds] http://home.earthlink.net/~sonnypie/vortex_smiley.gif
    "Precision Firewood Specialist"
    God Bless America !
    One Nation Under God!



  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Northern Colorado
    Posts
    2,997

    RE: flourescent lighting and cold weather

    Watta generous pal you are, Sonny.

    I too wondered why some of my cheap and not so cheap florescent shop lights would flicker and hum for the first hour or two. I also thought it was my imagination making the garage dimmer when it's cold.

    We live and sometimes learn too.
    Measure once... cut twice.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Nath Saburbin Bahstin, Massachusetts, USA.
    Posts
    4,570

    RE: flourescent lighting and cold weather

    I just got three four-foot units for my shed at Lowe's. They are advertised as having 'electronic' ballasts and instead of the usual $8 for the simple four-foot unit, they get $20 each . . . if you plan to go in the garage to work this winter . . . I'd say swap them out for the $60 it will cost you.

    You can always take the others and use them in the cellar or attic where it's warmer.

    The boxes looked just like the ones for the regular fixures, except they had a snowflake on them. They probably don't sell them at Sonny's or Dick's local Lowes, but if it gets that cold near you, they likely stock them.

  6. #6
    Sonny Edmonds
    Guest

    RE: flourescent lighting and cold weather

    Naw.... that's not your imagination.
    It's them ice crystals in your eyes. }>
    Now how are you gonna keep your glue from freezin, or get your finishes to cure iffen it's so danged cold out there that your fixtures are freezin their bulbs off? :o
    (Thank goodness I never froze my bulbs off in Wyoming! Thought I might need a jerk string at times, but managed in spite of the bitter cold. I could always find it.) :o

    :D

    [link:www.sonnyedmonds.com | Sonny Edmonds] http://home.earthlink.net/~sonnypie/vortex_smiley.gif
    "Precision Firewood Specialist"
    God Bless America !
    One Nation Under God!



  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Northern Colorado
    Posts
    2,997

    RE: flourescent lighting and cold weather

    I'm careful about keeping my bulbs reasonably warm by keeping them out of why-oh-me-ing when snow flies. :D
    Sides the cold is minor next to the 50-70 mph winds that can gust to 120 here. :o Makes ya long for those warm mild santa anna winds. :)

    Part of the deal when I finished out the basement is a 14x16 room that is mine. That's the winter assembly and finishing room and the cats are banned from there. Still gotta get a charcoal filter on the furnace return duct from that room before finishing any big stuff.
    Measure once... cut twice.

  8. #8

    RE: flourescent lighting and cold weather

    I was going to tell you about the electronic florescent light fixtures. Cost a little more but they work better in the cold. BUT, I am not goint to tell you about them because Dickie and Mark already told you about them.

    The ones I have are hard wired in, not shop lights. They work great in the cold. But I don't need that any more cause it's not cold in my shop any more.

  9. #9
    Sonny Edmonds
    Guest

    SOLUTION!

    Hey, I've got it!
    You and Mark trade lights!
    Then his won't care if their blubs are freezing off, and yours will be kept toasty and warm and ready for action.
    I Love it when a plan comes together! :7 LOL!

    (I'll edit this damn thing until I do get the name right!)

    :D

    [link:www.sonnyedmonds.com | Sonny Edmonds] http://home.earthlink.net/~sonnypie/vortex_smiley.gif
    "Precision Firewood Specialist"
    God Bless America !
    One Nation Under God!



  10. #10

    RE: SOLUTION!

    Cool Sonny, except when I don't turn the heater on. 5 degrees outside right now and I just shut off the heater. Me think it gonna be cold in the shop in the morning.

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