We strongly recommend that consumers DO NOT install LED lights themselves but use licenced electrical contractors WITH EXPERIENCE installing LED lights as there are several issues that need to be addressed:
1. Correct Wiring
Many times when installing LED lights, especially where the original fittings were installed over 15 years ago, there is a need to:
a. Conform to newer wiring standards which can include replacing a 'wired in' luminaire with a plug base for the new luminarie's already provided plug top;
b. Replace defective internal fittings such as tombstones in fluorescent casings;
c. Wiring past defective or badly damaged ballasts.
In all cases having a licenced electrical contractor means these can be dealt with quickly and at a pre-determined cost.
2. Heat Dissipation
Both decreasing LED Light output over time (Lumen Maintenance / Lumen Depreciation) and the actual lifetime before failure can be severely affected by heat build up in the device and adequate ventilation must be provided to ensure longevity and efficacy over time.
3. Power Factor Degradation
Replacing fluorescent tubes with LED Linear tube lights adds another layer of complexity and that is the need to ensure the Power Factor (PF) is not adversely affected. Power Factor is somewhat difficult to understand but the bottom line is it can affect your bottom line depending on how your energy retailer charges.
Fluorescent lights (luminaires) are designed and manufactured to bring their Power Factor as close to 1.00 as can be achieved, at reasonable cost, typically with ratings of 0.8 - 0.85.
A recent report has demonstrated the significant degradation of the Power Factor to between 0.3 - 0.4 when replacing a fluorescent tube with an LED linear tube WITHOUT removing the Power Factor correction capacitor.
Expert Energy ensures the removal of this capacitor is standard practice on any LED lighting upgrade we project manage.
4. Certificate of Electrical Safety
Using licenced electrical contractors means you can obtain a Certificate of Electrical Safety (the name varies by state) that will help satisfy your insurer and/or landlord that the lighting upgrade meets applicable safety standards.
How do I know the upgrade will match or better my current lighting?
5. Lux Level Measurements
We highly recommend you ensure the contractor's quotation includes documenting Lux Level readings both before and after the lighting upgrade to ensure the upgrade meets or exceeds current light levels and also have this as part of any agreement you sign. This should be carried out at night so ambient daylight does not affect the measurements.
We also recommend you request details of the Lux meter they will use to ensure it is of reasonable quality to give accurate readings. We have heard of installers using very low cost Lux Meters (<$50.00) or even smartphone apps which can give very unreliable readings.