Do you know what a ballast means? It is a device used in lighting which serves the function of regulating the current drawn by the lamp. It handles the task of making sure the lamp doesn’t overuse voltage and get damaged.
In case the ballast does not function, the lamp gets connected to a high voltage that causes an uncontrollable increase in its current draw. Internal links of the lamp are open to damage in case of malfunction of the ballast.
Types of ballasts
There are two main types of ballasts used in lighting today. They are electromagnetic ballast and electronic ballast. The electromagnetic ballast performs essential functions that ballast has to perform well. But, it does not do its job as well as the electronic one. Owing to lower efficiency, they are not preferred by electricians. These have many disadvantages:
- 1. Tar leaks, which are hazardous to health
- 2. Shorter life expectancy
- 3. Frequent lamp flickers, which cause headaches and annoyance
But electronic ballasts do not cause these problems. They are more efficient and reliable. They also have a higher life expectancy of about 20 years.
The normal expectancy of a ballast life
There are different types of ballasts. Each of these has different expectancies of life, efficiency, and cost. Yet, there is a direct relationship between the usage of lamps and the ballast’s life. The more the light usage, the more the ballast lasts.
But, there’s a catch.
Switching the light on and off too much won’t help. It will deteriorate the situation. On average, most fluorescent lights have a rated life of an average of 16000 hours. It depends on their usage. Switching the lights on and off too much is detrimental to their life. Yet, turning off when they are not in use will increase their expectancy. It is wise to turn off your lights when they are not in use.
A ballast usually lasts 75000 hours, according to the Certified Ballast Manufacturers Association. Thus, the perfect life of ballast used well is – 15 or so years. After the 15-year mark, but, ballast failure rates proliferate. These ballasts start getting defects and stop functioning well after some time. These ballasts need changing then.
It is profitable to change your ballasts a few times before they hit the ten or 15-year mark. Doing that will increase productivity and cause utility rebates.
Electricians say that ballast life is not affected by anything except light usage. The more you use the fluorescent light, the shorter is the ballast’s life expectancy. It is a smart, precautionary practice to switch off the lights when they are not in use. It increases the efficiency of the lights and the ballasts. It also increases the productivity of your entire lighting system. We hope you have found the answer to your question.