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LED Lighting Retrofits

Although the first commercial LED lamps were introduced in 1968, only recently have they become a mainstream alternative to inefficient incandescent bulbs. While their initial cost is slightly higher, LED lights last much longer than traditional lighting solutions and require little-to-no maintenance. Our clients are often surprised to learn about another benefit to LED bulbs — they can noticeably reduce cooling costs during the warm months because they give off very little heat when compared to traditional filament or fluorescent bulbs.


What are LED Retrofits?

Retrofitting means that you're adding something new to your property (, components, accessories, etc.) that it didn't previously have or wasn't part of its original construction. The term retrofit is a synonym for the word conversion; with LED lighting retrofits, you're converting your business's original lighting to LED. LED lighting upgrades are useful for both interior and exterior lighting applications.

Types of LED Lighting Retrofits

An LED lighting retrofit doesn't always involve replacing fixtures. There are multiple ways LED lighting retrofits can be completed, depending on your existing lamps and lighting system:

  • Direct lamp change-outs: Unlike fluorescent fixtures, LEDs don't require separate ballasts. Instead of this system, LEDs use internal drivers. This means that you can retrofit some lighting fixtures by simply changing out the bulbs. Some replacement applications allow you to directly install LED lighting into existing fixtures with no need to remove the ballast fluorescent tube fixture. Instead, you just replace the existing fluorescent tube with the right LED tube. Direct lamp change-outs are typically the lowest-cost option when it comes to LED retrofitting.
  • Retrofit kits: This option includes LEDs and driver, which mounts directly into the existing luminaire housing. With retrofit kits, you can keep your original fixtures and convert them into more energy-efficient LED fixtures. In some cases, labor costs for retrofit kits may be higher if your electrician has to modify electrical wiring or follow special component-removal processes. This will all depend on the lighting system in your business.
  • Replacing entire fixtures: This is the most costly option for converting the lights in your business to LED lighting. If your sockets aren't in good condition (i.e. obvious wear, major cracks, etc.) or if your lens/louver isn't in great condition, total replacement of your lighting fixtures may be the best option for you. Also, your business may have lighting fixtures that are completely enclosed, which could also make you a good candidate for fixture replacement. This is because LED lights shouldn't be used in enclosed spaces. Heat needs to dissipate from the lamp's heat sink. If it doesn't, it could result in premature lamp failure.

LED works a bit differently compared to traditional lighting solutions. There are certain things you need to consider when retrofitting your business with LEDs. For example, you should think about the benefits of conversion vs. total replacement. Keeping your present fixtures can reduce the compatible conversion LED options you can use when it comes to bulbs. But if you plan to replace both the light and fixture, you can choose from everything on the market. Whichever option you choose, be sure to keep in mind your budget as well as the lighting system in your business.

Retrofit LEDs VS New LED Fixtures

While retrofit LEDs utilize existing lighting fixtures using simple screw-in options or retrofit kits, LED light fixtures are new lighting fixtures that can replace any existing lighting solutions. Let's explore the pros and cons of each to make it easier for you to decide the best option for you and your business.

Retrofit LEDs

Cost: Retrofitting with LED screw-in lamps is very inexpensive. Even if you need to upgrade your fixtures to accommodate LED technology, retrofitting would still be a cost-effective option. Complex installation for retrofit fixtures:  Retrofit fixtures tend to be complex because they must adapt to existing light fixtures.
Wide array of retrofit options available: You can choose from a huge range of fixtures for retrofit LEDs. Limited lumen strength by existing fixtures: Existing fixtures offer a limited maximum lumen strength.
Low maintenance: Retrofit LEDs tend to have a long lifespan and require very little maintenance.  

New LED Light Fixtures

Easy installation: LED light fixtures are typically easy to install. More expensive: LED light fixtures are more expensive than retrofit LEDs, especially if you need to replace your existing lighting infrastructure.
Available options for much higher lumen outputs: New LED light fixtures have much higher lumen outputs than those of retrofit LEDs. Smaller selection of LED light fixtures: Compared to other lighting technologies, there is a smaller selection of LED lighting fixtures available.
Require little maintenance: Other than regular dusting and inspection, LED light fixtures require very little maintenance.  

Leave it to the Professionals

Whatever option you choose to upgrade your business lighting, it's often best to seek the help of a professional for installation. Dealing with any electrical system without proper training and tools can pose a safety hazard to you and your family. A licensed, skilled electrician will help ensure that everyone in your household stays safe not only during the installation process, but also for years to come. Electricians have the education and experience to avoid safety hazards during lighting installation such as electrocution. Plus, by having an expert around, you can get valuable advice and tips on how to keep your new LED lighting system in optimal working order throughout the coming years.

Call (706) 400-8915 to ask how we can help.