In the past, fluorescent tubes were good alternatives to incandescent lamps and halogens. But they have many disadvantages: They start slowly, flicker, make noises, have a short service life, and high energy consumption. That is why it is worth switching to LED. LEDs are not only much more efficient, but they also last up to five times as long as fluorescent tubes. So do without the old tubes – this is not only better for the environment, but also for your wallet!
Key facts at a glance:
- LEDs use much less energy and last longer than fluorescent tubes
- Fluorescent tubes can cause flickering and delayed switch-on times
- Brightness, color rendering and luminous efficiency decrease after just a few years
- Fluorescent tubes contain mercury and must therefore be disposed of specifically
- LED panels are an ideal replacement for several fluorescent tubes
How do fluorescent tubes work?
A fluorescent tube is a low-pressure gas discharge lamp. The tube is filled with a gas that emits UV light. Usually the gas is mercury vapor. In addition, the tube is coated with a fluorescent phosphor. This converts the UV light emitted by the gas filling into visible light.
What are the disadvantages of fluorescent tubes?
In the following we explain in detail the downsides of the tubes. You will quickly see why these lamps should be a thing of the past:
Fluorescent tubes are more efficient than light bulbs: While the light output of incandescent lamps is 10 lumens per watt, fluorescent tubes score seven times as much. In contrast to LEDs, however, they mean high energy consumption. With LEDs, the light output is often over 100 lumens per watt. The difference quickly becomes apparent in your electricity bill.
Fluorescent tubes are often noticeable by noise, such as humming or high-pitched whirring. These can be caused by so-called resonance vibrations when the lamp socket starts to vibrate and thus generates a humming sound. This is particularly disadvantageous in the workplace, as it affects the ability to concentrate, productivity and, last but not least, the working atmosphere.
We all know it: fluorescent tubes often tend to flicker. This is not only annoying, but can have negative long-term effects on health: excessive eye strain, headaches and even migraines. The light sources do not therefore correspond to the principle of human-centric lighting .
Delay when switching on
The delay in the emission of light when switching on can be very annoying: It not only costs nerves, but often also valuable time and energy. Because the light source consumes electricity immediately after being switched on, without using its full lighting potential. You shouldn’t waste money on this!
Lifespan and loss of brightness
The lifespan of fluorescent tubes is 7,000 to 20,000 hours, which roughly corresponds to a period of 2 to 6 years. In addition, it can be shortened by frequent switching on and off (especially with cheaply built ballasts). The color rendering can also decrease, causing the natural colors of the illuminated objects to appear pale. This is disadvantageous in retail, for example, where goods should be presented in an appealing way.
The lifespan of LEDs is ultimately up to 5 times as long as fluorescent tubes and there are no maintenance or replacement costs .
Mercury is preserved in fluorescent tubes. It is indispensable because it is the only substance that develops a low but sufficient vapor pressure at the operating temperature of the lamp. However, the steam is toxic to humans and the environment. Therefore, the illuminant must be deposited at special drop-off points or recycling centers and must not be disposed of with household waste. This prevents degradation products released during combustion from entering the biological cycle. You can find out more about the disposal of light sources here. There is also a risk if fluorescent tubes break: although there is only a small amount of the harmful substance in fluorescent tubes, inhalation should be avoided.
What other options you have instead of Fluorescent Tubes?
You can switch to LED Tubes.
The LED tubes are interchangeable and can be easily inserted into your existing sockets. They provide reliable lighting, do not flicker or generate any noise. They have a lifespan that can be five times that of a fluorescent tube and their energy consumption is around 60% less. Reasons enough to switch to LED tubes!
For more information, you may also read “What are the advantages of LED? 5 reasons why you should switch immediately.”