Ballast Changes Winnipeg
How many electricians does it take to change a ballast?
Let’s skip the overplayed joke and instead clear up what a ballast is. If you have a fluorescent or HID (high-intensity discharge) bulb above you, then you’re sitting underneath a ballast as you read this.
Basically, a ballast maintains the optimal conditions for the light bulb, making sure it doesn’t get too much (or too little) power. It’s a device that regulates the current that flows into your light source.
A ballast is like a referee between your electrical outlet and your light bulb. The ballast makes sure the light fixture doesn’t draw more power than it needs and that the energy doesn’t overheat the lamp.
Ballasts are used to prolong the life of a light fixture and bring down energy costs. And if you use light switch dimmers, the ballast is what allows you to change the brightness.
There are two types of ballasts, and each one uses a different mechanism to regulate current:
- Magnetic. This ballast has an inductive coil with a copper wire wound over it. It works at a frequency of ~60 Hz.
- Electronic. These devices work at an increased frequency of 20,000 Hz. Electronic ballasts are the most common type; they use a series of induction coils to regulate the current.
At Powertec Electric, we offer ballast changes in Winnipeg for homes and businesses. Is it time to replace the ballasts in your building? Here’s what to look for:
Commercial Vs. Residential Fixtures
Are the ballasts you find in a commercial setting the same as those found inside your home?
Not exactly. That’s because you use different types of lights in a commercial building than in a residential one.
With residential light fixtures, there’s a bigger focus on aesthetics. You might prefer a warm, soft light in your bedroom or a cool bright one in the kitchen. And in your home, you don’t leave the lights on 24/7; typically, your bulbs and ballasts last longer.
Not all bulbs need to hang from the ceiling. A few popular lighting choices you can choose from include:
- Recessed lighting
- Under-cabinet lighting
- Wall-mounted lights
Dimmers are more popular in homes, too. You can maximize the brightness when you’re reading a book or visiting with friends, and dim the lights when you want to relax.
But with industrial and commercial lighting, functionality is key. Bright lights make work environments safer, especially in warehouses and kitchens.
Another priority is energy efficiency. Businesses are constantly looking for ways to keep their costs low. Naturally, the lights are one of the first places they look. Businesses keep the lights on all day. It’s why incandescent lighting is becoming rare to see—the bulbs burn out so much quicker and consume a lot more energy.
A lighting system that needs a bulb replacement every year will cut into profit margins. This is what makes ballasts ideal for commercial lighting; they offer energy savings and long-lasting performance.
How Often Do Ballasts Need To Be Replaced?
Ballasts make it so that your bulbs don’t burn out as often. But just like light bulbs, they need to be replaced eventually, too.
On average, you need to replace an electronic ballast every 20 years.
That being said, your ballast might need a replacement sooner if it’s:
- In an extremely cold environment
- Used with poor-quality light bulbs
- Not installed properly
Changing a ballast isn’t as easy as screwing in a light bulb. You need a type of ballast that’s compatible with the light fixture you’re working on. To minimize the risk of a safety hazard or damage to the light fixture, it’s always best to work with a professional.
How Do I Know if My Ballast Needs To Be Replaced?
You immediately know when it’s time to change a light bulb—when you go to switch it on, you’re met with darkness.
But what if you change the bulb, and the light still won’t work? In that case, it’s more likely you have a burnt-out ballast.
How can you tell? A few warning signs include flickering lights, dim bulbs, and a persistent humming noise.
If that sounds familiar, it’s time to give us a call at Powertec Electric. Otherwise, your bulbs might start burning out faster than you’re used to.
Which Type of Light Should I Choose?
Now that you know you need a ballast device, the next step is choosing which type of light bulb to use. You have several options to pick from:
- Incandescent lights. While they do emit intense light, incandescent bulbs are limited by their outdated design. They burn out quicker than other options and use more energy, too.
- Fluorescent lights. You see these in commercial businesses across the globe. Fluorescent lights last longer and offer comparable brightness to incandescent bulbs.
- LED lights. Known for their unbeatable energy efficiency, LED lights have a long life span. They use 70-90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. However, they’re best suited for indoor use; since they don’t give off heat, they can be obscured by snow or ice buildup.
- HID lights. Due to the brightness of these lights, they’re best suited for a commercial setting. You can use them to grow indoor plants. HID bulbs emit such an intense light that they’re great for businesses but too intense for most residential homes.
Get Your Lighting System Changed With Powertec Electric
Ballasts keep your lights from overheating and burning out. But they don’t last forever.
Need to replace a ballast? At Powertec Electric, we offer commercial and residential services. Whether you need a quick ballast change, an electrical repair, or you’re looking for a complete knob and tube replacement, we can help. Give us a call!