PestWest EDGEucational Brief
By James Shaffer & Kevin Bonawitz
“Serve Your Service Hot: Avoid Lamp Cold Starts!”
The more common sizes of lamps available are T8 and T12.
The “T” designates a tube and the number represents the diameter of the lamp in eighths of an inch. For example, a T8 lamp is a tube that is 8/8 inch in diameter (1 inch), and a T12 lamp is a tube that is 12/8 inches in diameter (1½ inches).
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The starting and light output of fluorescent T12 lamps is very sensitive to ambient temperature.
The colder the ambient temperature, the lower the light output (at 20°F the lamp will be atapproximately 60% UVA output).
An F40T12 lamp peaks in UVA output at 25°C or 77°F.
Starting The Lamp
The lower the ambient temperature, the harder it will be to ignite the lamp. Fluorescent lamps use Mercury (Hg) to help the lamp ignite and run. When cold, the Mercury is in a solid-liquid condition. At any temperature under 50°F the lamp will need a higher voltage or longer strike time from the ballast in order to turn on. The colder the lamp becomes, the longer it will take the lamp to ignite.
A fluorescent lamp needs a ballast to operate. Some electronic ballasts ignite the lamp as low as 0°F (others only go as low as 50°F).
The ballast used in the fixture will determine the ability of the lamp to ignite in cold temperatures.
Fluorescent lamps do not make very good outdoor illumination in the winter months. Lamps have a dim glow for long periods of time, “heating up” before starting, if starting at all.
- If temperatures are freezing or below, do not store lamps in service vehicles overnight or in unheated storage buildings.
- Do not take cold lamps directly into the account for installation expecting them to work at peak performance or even ignite at all.
Rule of Thumb
Bring lamps to room temperature prior to installation (without plugging-in the UVA systems).
Conduct other service work; allowing the lamps to acclimate to the temperature. Circle back after all work is completed and power up the UVA systems for best results.
Serve your service hot! Avoid lamp cold starts for warm customer service relationships!
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