Do all flourescent tubes not work well in cold weather, or are there some
that do better than others? Or is it a matter of the ballast getting cold?
Or does a cold day just show that the tubes are getting ready to burn out
anyway. Wha sup wi dis?
It's the magnetic ballast that cause the trouble in cold weather..
I'm in the process of upgrading my shop to the new cold weather electronic
ballasts that are suppose to work fine down to 0 degree..
I have/had 7 magnetic 2 bulb 48" in my unheated work shop and intially some
would work in cold weather but after about 7 years, I only had 2 bulbs left
working of the 14..
Admittedly these were the cheap shop fixtures but now, for about the same
price I can get a T8 48" two bulb electronic at Home Depot.. The bulbs are
different than the the old T12s but not that much..
They all have some problems with cold. However the old magnetic ballast
were really bad. New electronic ballast help a lot, you might be able to
change out those. The other part is the lamp itself. The T8 (smaller
around) lamps do better than the old T12s.
If these are just those dual 4 foot garage fixtures, just replace the
whole fixture with new cold weather rated ones with T8 lamps. They will
work a lot better, be brighter and quieter.
Someone mentioned here a week or 2 ago that they picked up some $10-15
USD ones at Home Depot. I looked at Lowes the other day & found some
for $18 that are supposed to be good to -20 F.
That's a lot more than the $10 I paid for the cheap shoplights I
bought 10 yrs ago, but it is about what the same fixture without the
cold weather ballast/transformer was at Lowes last week.
I don't see the light on Lowes website - nor did they have a price
marked on the shelf- so these might have been a 'special' of some
kind. But it is worth looking over the shelves at your local borg for
lights that are good in cold weather.
I just ran across my Lowe's sales slip. The number on the slip is
133982, but that doesn't bring anything up at the Lowes site online.
They are 4' Stainless Steel [colored] with a pull chain & 6' cord.
And I mis-remembered the price-- they were only $14.47 USD.
You need what is called "high output" tubes and fixtures for cold
locations. They are a bit more expensive, but that up-front expense isn't
the true cost anyway (true cost is always in the power with lighting).
Obviously this is nothing new. You don't need electronics. Reliable
fluorescent outdoor signs and lighting have been around for a long time.
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