Fluorescent lights are the second most popular type of lamps after incandescents and are about 35% more efficient. Because they are less expensive than CFL bulbs, They definitely serve a purpose in garages, sheds, workshops, basements, some kitchen lighting, or task lighting.
How They Work
Similar to CFLs, fluorescent lamps contain a very small amount of mercury which mixes with inert gases to conduct the electrical current. This allows the phosphor coating on the glass tube to emit light.
Traditional tube-type bulbs are usually identified as T12 or the more efficient T8 (12/8 or 8/8 of an inch tube diameter, respectively). They are installed in a dedicated fixture with a built-in ballast.
Old style magnetic ballasts are being replaced with new high-efficiency electronic ballasts. The two most common types are 40-watt, 4-foot (1.2-meter) lamps, and 75-watt, 8-foot (2.4-meter) lamps.
Tube fixtures are preferred for ambient lighting in large indoor areas. In these areas, their low brightness creates less direct glare than incandescent bulbs. For household use, tube lights serve a utilitarian role and can feel cool without some accent or decorative lighting (imho).
Circular, tube-type fluorescent lamps are called circline lamps. They are commonly used for round kitchen fixtures or portable task lighting.
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