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How to replace fluorescent tube with LED: Step-by-Step Replacement Advice

How to replace fluorescent tube with LED: Step-by-Step Replacement Advice

Are you seeking a strategy to cut down on energy expenses, elevate your lighting quality, and lessen your ecological footprint? Consider the transition from fluorescent tubes to LED tubes, a choice that can offer numerous benefits.

Advantages of replacing fluorescents with LED tubes

Fluorescent tubes have long been utilized in various environments like offices, schools, hospitals, and industrial settings, delivering expansive and consistent illumination. Nonetheless, they exhibit limitations unsuitable for contemporary lighting requirements.

Fluorescent tubes are notorious for their high energy consumption, particularly when juxtaposed with LED tubes. To illustrate, a standard 4-foot fluorescent tube can consume up to 40 watts of power, while an equivalent LED tube uses a mere 15 to 20 watts. By switching to LED tubes, you stand to conserve up to 60% on your energy expenditures.

Additionally, fluorescent tubes possess a shorter lifespan compared to LED counterparts. Fluorescent tubes typically endure for approximately 20,000 hours, while LED tubes can persist for over 50,000 hours. Consequently, replacing fluorescent tubes becomes a recurring expense, escalating maintenance costs and waste generation.

Moreover, fluorescent tubes contain mercury, a hazardous substance that poses risks to both health and the environment if improperly handled or discarded. Conversely, LED tubes are mercury-free and devoid of harmful emissions like UV rays or infrared radiation. 


So, how can you seamlessly and safely replace fluorescent tubes with LED tubes? This comprehensive guide outlines the necessary steps and valuable tips to facilitate your transition.

Installation Guide for Changing Fluorescent Tubes to LED

Step 1: Select the Appropriate LED Tube Type

When it comes to replacing fluorescent tubes, you have three primary LED tube options: direct fit, ballast bypass, and hybrid.

  • Direct Fit LED Tubes: Engineered to function with your existing fluorescent ballast, these require no wiring or fixture modifications. Simply remove the old fluorescent tube and insert the new LED tube.

  • Ballast Bypass LED Tubes: To employ these, you must eliminate or bypass the existing fluorescent ballast and connect the LED tube directly to the mains power supply. This involves some rewiring but eliminates energy loss and ballast-related issues.

  • Hybrid LED Tubes: Combining features of both direct fit and ballast bypass tubes, these offer flexibility. They can work with or without a ballast, though they may be pricier and not universally compatible.

The choice hinges on factors like budget, expertise, fixture type, and local regulations. Prior to making any modifications to your lighting system, it's advisable to consult with a certified electrician.

Step 2: Optimize Size and Color Temperature

LED tubes are available in various sizes and color temperatures, influencing brightness and aesthetics. Align the size and color temperature with your lighting preferences and needs.

  • Size: Ensure the size of your LED tube matches the dimensions of your existing fluorescent tube. Common sizes include T8 (4 feet long, 1 inch diameter), but others like T5, T10, and T12 exist.

  • Color Temperature: The kelvin scale ranges from 2700K (warm white) to 6500K (cool white). Match or complement the color temperature of your fluorescent tube for consistent lighting. Use labels, packaging, or a color temperature meter to identify the color temperature. 


Step 3: Disconnect Power and Remove the Old Tube

Prior to commencing the replacement, switch off the power supply at the main switch or circuit breaker to ensure safety. Then, gently remove the old fluorescent tube from its fixture, taking care to follow the specific removal method for your fixture type. Wear protective gear as needed.

Dispose of the old fluorescent tube in accordance with proper procedures, as it contains hazardous materials, including mercury. Avoid tossing it in regular trash or recycling bins; consult your local waste management authority or a certified recycling facility for appropriate disposal guidelines.

Step 4: Install the New LED Tube

The installation process hinges on your chosen LED tube type:

  • Direct Fit: Insert it into the same sockets as the old fluorescent tube, ensuring pins align with socket slots.

  • Ballast Bypass: Remove or bypass the fluorescent ballast, rewiring the fixture to connect the LED tube directly. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, label the fixture for clarity, and use the correct tools and materials.

  • Hybrid: Choose between direct fit and ballast bypass based on your preference and fixture compatibility. Verify your ballast works with the hybrid LED tube and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 5: Reconnect Power and Verify Functionality

Once the new LED tube is in place, restore power at the main switch or circuit breaker, and confirm proper functionality. Check for even and bright illumination, absence of flickering or buzzing, and alignment with your desired color temperature and brightness.

In the event of any issues:

  • No illumination: Check connections, voltage, polarity, ballast compatibility, or LED tube functionality.

  • Flickering or buzzing: Address ballast quality, loose connections, power surges, or external interference.

  • Dimming or color changes: Ensure adequate ventilation, avoid extreme conditions, or consider a higher-quality LED tube.

Should troubleshooting prove unsuccessful, seek assistance from a professional electrician or the LED tube manufacturer.


Switching from fluorescent tubes to LED tubes stands as a pragmatic and straightforward method to enhance your lighting system. The benefits encompass cost savings, heightened lighting quality, and reduced environmental impact.

Prior to transitioning, diligent selection of the right LED tube in terms of type, size, and color temperature is crucial. Adhering to the outlined steps and recommendations guarantees a safe and accurate installation, culminating in an upgraded lighting experience and energy conservation.

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