After deciding to make the switch to LED technology, the next step is choosing between retrofitting and a full fixture replacement. Since you’ve landed on this page, we’re sure you have decided that retrofitting is better for your facility than a full redesign.
You’ve made a great choice.
Retrofitting has some benefits over a full fixture replacement that some people tend to overlook. It will help you to save money since you won’t have to replace the existing fixtures – you’ll only replace the metal halide bulbs and ballasts with LED heads and drivers. In addition, it is not time-consuming and won’t disturb your business operations to a great extent.
Here are three important things to consider when buying LED Fixture Retrofit Kits.
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1. The Efficiency
When buying conversion kits, you’ll come across many new terms and performance metrics that make the buying decision hard. However, to determine efficiency, look at the lumens per watt (lm/W). While lumens measure the amount of light a LED bulb puts out, lumens per watt measures the lumens produced for each watt of electricity consumed.
Lumens per watt is all about efficiency. The higher the ratio, the more efficient a product is.
As LED technology continues to advance, efficacy ratings keep on improving. If the specifications for the conversion kit you’re looking at don’t include lumens per watt, do the math yourself. Simply divide the lumens the bulb produces with the watts it draws.
Efficient LEDs produce 130 lumens per watt while others produce more than 150 lumens per watt. As a rule of thumb, never buy any LEDs that produce less than 70 lumens per watt. The 75W-120W LED conversion kits sold by The Lighting Center produce 155-165 lumens per watt.
Most old LEDs discharge around 30-50 lumens per watt and some are still sold on the market at very cheap prices. Don’t fall for this gimmick because you will be buying old technology. Buy conversion kits with new LEDs and you will save more money.
2. The Warranty for the Driver
The driver is the electronics used to convert the alternating current (AC) input voltage to the direct current (DC) voltage by the LEDs. When looking at the warranty, don’t just check the warranty for the LED head, be sure to check the warranty for the driver. This is because different manufacturers offer different warranties for the LED head and the driver.
The best drivers on the market today (those made by companies like Philips, Meanwell, and Inventroniks) usually come with a 5 year warranty – which is the industry standard. Some LED manufacturers buy drivers from these big brands while others private label drivers.
The best private labeled drivers are usually as good as those made by popular LED driver manufacturers. However, some aren’t very good. Be wary of LED manufacturers who give their LED drivers a 10-year warranty as this may be a sales gimmick. Most manufacturers who give this lengthy warranty for their drivers usually think the lights will only run for 12 hours a day, which is not always the case.
While there are ways to prolong the life of a LED light, you’ll end up paying more for the higher-quality lights. Take time to research the LED conversion kits you’re interested in buying before making a commitment.
The LED heads in our conversion kits come with a 10-year warranty while the drivers come with a 5-year warranty. We use Meanwell drivers that have a warranty of 5 years. If you only plan to use the fixtures for 12 hours a day (4,380 hours a year), the drivers may last as long as the LED heads.
3. Mogul Adapters
You may be excited when you come across conversion kits with adapters, but don’t be too quick to buy them. While it may seem like you’re saving money and decreasing the amount of time you’ll spend installing the fixtures, you may run into 2 issues if you decide to get conversion kits with mogul adapters.
LED Conversion Kits Are Heavier
First, conversion kits are much heavier than HID bulbs (up to 5 times heavier). This means they can’t be used on the same sockets that held the HID bulbs. In addition, the sockets may be old or fragile and break easily, causing your conversion kits to get damaged in the process. You’ll end up spending more money eventually, money you could have avoided spending from the get-go.
Our conversion kits come with customizable mounting brackets that fit into the same holes that were used for the HID bulb sockets. Simply get rid of the old sockets and install the brackets. You won’t spend a lot of time on installation because this only takes a few minutes.
DLC Only Gives Standard Classification for Conversion Kits with Mogul Adapters
DLC (DesignLights Consortium) has two classifications for luminaries and retrofit kits: standard and premium. DLC premium rating is a higher classification than the standard DLC rating as it calls for higher efficacy, better lumen maintenance standards, integral controls, and a driver ISTMT (In Situ Temperature Measurement Test).
You may not know it, but utility companies give higher rebates for fixtures with a DLC premium rating. The bigger the rebate, the lower the initial cost of the kits will be. By using the proper mounting bracket – instead of a mogul base adapter that is bound to fail – you will save a significant amount of money.
In addition, each utility company has its own rebate program. In the past, utility companies offered rebates for products with a DLC standard rating, but this is no longer the case. These days, some companies only offer rebates for products with DLC premium classification. This is why getting LED conversion kits with screw-in adapters is never a good idea.
While these three aren’t the only things you should consider when buying LED conversion kits, they are the most important. Call us today and talk to one of our lighting experts to help you choose the best conversion kits for your facility or project.