Friday, June 17, 2016

Should you replace or retrofit your existing fixtures when thinking of converting to LED?

This is an excellent question fraught with misinformation. Fortunately, we offer both new and retrofit LED solutions, so our opinions are not biased based on marketing. We truly have years of experience guiding our customers into making the best decision for their application and requirements, because let's face it, no two situations are exactly the same. 

We have heard all the arguments ourselves. Many times when we compete against other vendors, it is even interesting for us to hear some of the (mis)information that is provided to them. Vendors who just sell retrofit kits scream the virtue of how beneficial it is to retrofit your existing fixtures. Vendors who only sell new fixtures make claims that their products are superior to any retrofit solution.

So who are you to believe? Here are some points we believe to be true:
  • If your fixtures are in relatively good shape, retrofitting is typically lower cost, all things considered. New fixtures are not cheap, and using your existing fixture will save you money, plus a retrofit kit is less expensive to ship than a new fixture.
  • If you have a large investment in your fixtures, then retrofitting allows you to keep your fixtures but move over to the new technology. A good example of this is area lighting at car dealerships where the pole and light head are an architecturally matching pair. Replacing the head with a non-match led head does not make sense.
  • If your fixtures are old and deteriorating, then you should replace your fixtures.  LED Retrofit kits are not water proof, and you could damage them if they get wet. The LED Drivers are typically waterproof (look for the IP rating on the label, it needs to say IP65, IP66 or IP67).
  • There are instances where we would always recommend new LED Fixtures over retrofit. One instance would be for High Mast Lights and most 1000W Metal Halide High Bay applications.
  • It takes slightly longer to retrofit a fixture than it does to replace it.
  • You have to account for the disposal of the bulb, ballast and fixture when you replace a fixture and account for the disposal of the bulb and ballast when you retrofit a fixture.
  • Retrofit solutions perform as well as new fixture solutions.
  • Retrofit solutions will last as long as new fixtures as long as the retrofit kit is installed properly.
  • Regardless of what solution you choose, you need to review the specifications of the LED components.
  • You should always determine how many lumens you need to replace your existing fixture, NEVER purchase based on watts.
  • Not all LED solutions produce the same lumen per watt output. Pay special attention to the lumens per watt of a fixture . IT DOES MATTER.
  • A LED product at 135 lumens / watt will consume far less energy than a LED product producing 97 lumens/watt.
  • Not all LED solutions are the same. (remember, always buy on the lumens you need , never on the watts you think you need).
  • To calculate lumens per watt, take the total number of lumens a product produces and divide it by the watts it consumes.
  • A DLC Premium Product is more efficient than a DLC Standard Product. This means that you will save more money every day when you install a DLC Premium Qualified LED Product. There is a good chance you will also get a larger rebate at time of purchase.

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