In a building how does one identify a type of ballast?

We have lights all over this place, and I was recently recommended that replacing our ballast with LEDs would greatly save on our electricity costs.

I was also recommended that some of the fixtures could be retrofitted to LED, but that if we keep the ballast in place it would still eat up the electricity just as fast even with retrofitted fixtures if they were to be placed within the existing ballast.

  • P.S. if I spelled ballist wrong, please let me know. – leeand00 Jul 11 '16 at 12:35
  • "was recently recommended that replacing our ballast with LEDs would greatly save on our electricity costs." Having looked into this myself, I doubt that. Take a look at this "How is electricity used in US homes?: eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=96&t=3 Lighting amounts to 10% of total consumption. The most that the average homeowner could possibly expect to save is 10% of their electricity bill. – user56274 Jul 12 '16 at 1:31
  • "We have lights all over this place." ????? Did you mean to say florescent tube fixtures? It sounds like you are talking about flor tubes specifically, not about "lights". – charles ross Jan 5 '18 at 0:19

Modern retrofits do not use a ballast at all like this. Most have universal drivers, they can run on 100-277 VAC 50Hz or 60Hz. Here is another example. Things to think about, the color of light 5000K will be a very white closer to sunlight, 3000K is more yellow orange. With the same lumens I think the 5000K and higher wavelength lights look brighter with the same lumen count. The type of lamp is the part that gobbles up the energy. florescent are more efficient than incandescent largely because they do not generate large amounts of heat to create light. florescent lights work on a gas plasma. LED's work with a diode junction. As technology has evolved the amount of light a LED can produce per watt of energy consumed has increased many times. There are many types of Ballast's and the type of Lamp you have will determine the type. The majority of homes have 4' T8 lamps (1" in diameter tube) some are T12 1-1/2" tube in both 4' & 8'. some of the retro kits have a strip of lights screwed to the fixture some have tubes similar to the florescent. Investigate a bit more and you will find there are hundreds of options out there and most don't use the ballast.


The existing fixtures are fluorescent, right? If so, then the ballast is typically in the fixture. Remove everything.

You didn't say whether you're planning to set up a LED power source and distribute that. That might be a lot of work. If you are just using LED bulbs with standard threaded base (same base as incandescent bulbs), then just install whatever lighting fixture you want, wiring directly to the feeds to the box where the fluorescents were mounted.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.