Staying Green in Cold Weather

Cold weather can often be an issue for outdoor lighting and fixtures. Low temperature environments can cause adverse performance such as “fluttering,” reduced light output, and difficulties with ballast start up. In these conditions, enclosed fixtures jacketed lamps, and the newer, more efficient fluorescents can help ensure better performance. Cold weather ballasts can be used for HO and VHO lamps at temperatures as low as -20F.

For better energy efficiency, replace the older style T12 Fluorescent lamps with a T8 or T5 fluorescent lamps. They produce a better quality of light, last longer, and use less electricity. Most lamps available at hardware stores or retail outlets are rated for residential use. Replace these 120 volt rated incandescent and halogen lamps with 130 volt rated commercial grade and compact fluorescents (CFL). Standard incandescent lamps will burn out quickly, especially outdoors in cold temperatures and damp conditions. Incandescent lamps are also affected by vibration. Fixtures close to doors that are constantly being used are especially subject to early burnout. Using the 130 volt commercial grade lamp will help sustain longer life of bulbs used in these key positions indoor or out.

Loose or defective incandescent lamp sockets are subject to inclement conditions. Water and moisture, along with extreme cold can corrode and loosen socket conditions. To ensure good electrical contact between the bottom of the socket and the bottom center of the lamp, turn the power off, then try raising the center of the eyelet contact in the bottom of the socket, pull it up gently to bend and raise it slightly. If the wire connections to the socket are loosed or eroded, the sockets should be replaced.

Wall pack fixtures, a very common fixture used for storage facilities, that use metal halide or high pressure sodium lamps are often susceptible to early burnout due to exposure to the elements and low temperatures. Enclosing or covering the outdoor can offer protections from moisture and extreme cold.

During winter months, timers should be re-set to reflect the fewer hours of daylight. Compact fluorescent or energy efficient “spirals” do not work well or efficiently on timers, dimmers, or motion sensors. LED (light emitting diode) or cold cathode lamps are dimmable, work better, and last longer on timers although the technology can be “pricey”.

On a final note, many local energy companies subsidize the costs of replacing older, less efficient bulbs thought a rebate program. In addition, switching to the new fluorescent tubes, LED’s, compact fluorescents, cold cathodes will produce significant costs savings on the monthly energy bill. Not to mention you will be “going green”.

Do your part “Go Green”

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