Commercial refrigeration equipment that is designed to be seen by customers requires a few things to really stand out. Placement that is convenient for the customer that also doesn’t clutter up space is one way to attract attention, but having the right lighting is equally as important because it allows customers to easily view what is inside of the cooler. When deciding what type of lighting is best, there are two main types to choose from: T8 and LED.
T8 lighting is a type of fluorescent lamp that is most commonly found in coolers and refrigerators. Unlike the old T12 lamps, these do not contain a high level of dangerous mercury, so they are much safer to use. They can be used in a variety of applications, including walk-in coolers, reach-in cooler doors, and display doors. These lights are bright enough to showcase all products clearly, even in larger units. One of the biggest advantages that business owners will find with this type of lighting is that the lamps are inexpensive and are, in fact, one of the cheapest lighting options available.
T8 lamps are also easy to install, and replacements are readily available. They are designed to withstand the colder temperatures found in refrigeration units, and overall, they offer very solid performance for those who want an affordable lighting option that provides the right amount of lighting for commercial refrigeration units.
LED lighting is a more recent technology that is an alternative to T8 lighting in commercial display refrigerators. Many stores have converted to this type of lighting in recent years for a number of reasons. One reason that these lamps are growing in popularity is because these mercury-free lamps have been found to last longer than T8 lamps. Most T8 lamps are rated for approximately 20,000 hours, while LED lighting is rated for around 50,000 hours or even longer. LED lighting is also far more energy-efficient, using approximately half of the electricity used by T8 bulbs.
As with any other type of lighting, LED lamps do have their drawbacks. One of the biggest drawbacks is the cost. Old equipment that is designed for use with ballasts and T8 lamps will have to be upgraded by a technician. Upgrading from T8 lamps to LED can cost upwards of $200 per door, which can be a really large expense for some businesses. The cost of replacement lamps is also bit more than other types of lighting. However, many business owners will find that since LED lamps last longer and many come with a warranty, the costs balance out and LED lighting can actually be more affordable over time, especially when figuring in the savings in energy. Here are some tips for boosting your commercial refrigerator energy efficiency.
Overall, T8 lamps are still a great choice for providing the right amount of lighting at a lower upfront cost. However, a conversion to LED lighting should probably be strongly considered due to the longevity of the lamps, the energy efficiency when compared to other options, and the savings that accrue over time.