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Lewistown 03-18-2013 03:02 PM

Disconnecting a ballast in a 2 ballast lamp saves what?
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Hello and here is my situation.

I manage a 4 story condominium in Lewistown, MT. We have 4 bulb FL lamps in our hallways that are on 24 hours a day and account for 40% plus of our electric bill. The fire dept won't let us put them on a timer or motion sensor. I've reduced them all to one T32 bulb which is still plenty of light. NW Energy tells me though I saved a little energy but not much and I should get an electrician to disconnect one of the ballasts.

To sell this to the HOA board. I need to know a payback length. My electrician says we could do 4 lamps an hour conservatively so lets keep it simple and figure 4 lamps at 60.00 labor. He wasn't much help on the energy savings part.

How much % wise would I reduce the energy consumption of each lamp by going to one ballast? Is there a ballast bought new that would boost those savings even more? Sorry about the upside down pics. If you need more info let me know.

Thanks in advance.

joed 03-18-2013 10:03 PM

How many fixtures are you talking about.
4 fixture per hour seems very low for what needs to be done, which is open the fixture like the right image and remove the black power wire from one ballast from the power feed.

RWolff 03-18-2013 11:50 PM

Yeah this is a no brainer operation, open the case, disconnect one ballast, close it back up.

I don't think I like the idea of running one bulb on a ballast meant to power TWO bulbs, but you can cut out one ballast with it's 2 bulbs and run just one ballast with 2 bulbs and that would cut the power bill for the lamps by 50%


NW Energy tells me though I saved a little energy but not much
How can they make a stupid statement like that? if you were using 4 bulbs and now you are on one bulb, you cut your wattage use by 75% that's hardly "a little" that's significant, it's like doing something simple to your car so it gets 100 mpg instead of 30, it's a no brainer unless there's only 3 or 4 lamp fixtures total, in which case the $5 a month you might save on a $500/mo bill wouldn't be worth the effort. How many TOTAL fixtures are 4 bulbs?

frenchelectrican 03-19-2013 12:24 AM

The other thing you may want to think about in some area when you delamp/deballast it., The other issue is the area brightness I do not know what your local / state code say about how bright it have to be on minuim level if you get too low you may face some safety issue.

So that other thing you may want to think about it.

You may want to review the layout before you actually delamp/ deballast them to see how much light level you can actually lower without comperised the safety issue.

Now the other thing this may get ya by suprise if not aware some of the flourscent luminaire may have emergecy back up battery in there if that the case you can not disconnect them for life safety in case power failure or fire alarm kick on.


joed 03-19-2013 07:36 AM

Another issue with only one lamp is that when it goes out it is dark. If there was two bulbs then at least there would be some light from one lamp.

Lewistown 03-19-2013 09:26 AM

I agree the disconnect is a simple operation but I still need to let an electrician do it. I also agree that 4 an hour is pretty slow especially since I'll drop the diffuser and remove the ballast cover and but it back together. The lamps are spaced about 20' apart and they are in hallways. 60 total. We do have some battery backed up lamps but not the ones I'm dealing with. The fire dept approved the lighting after reducing them all to one bulb. Even if a bulb goes out the darkness caused is not a safety hazard.

So math wise I'm figuring 10 watts saved with every unused ballast disconnect.
So 600 watts (dumb question here but that would be 600 watts an hour?)

14,400 watts reduced or 14.4 kilowatts @ .12/KW = 1.72/ day x 365 = 627.80 savings

I called a lighting manufacturer who told me it would be a long time to justify the cost or replacing a 2 bulb ballast with a one bulb but he suggested disconnecting the ballast completely from every other lamp and using the remaining ballast to operate 2 lamps with one bulb each. Doing that I could basically double the savings but the labor and material will go up as well. Just not sure how much. Maybe I could run an approved wire from lamp to lamp and just have the electrician do the wiring part.

al_smelter 03-19-2013 10:04 AM

$628 bucks savings a year? In a four STORY condo unit? Not even worth thinking about, let alone doing. You probably spend more than that on flowers for the lobby. If it were six thousand, then I could see the debate.

Lewistown 03-20-2013 11:46 AM

Oh I don't know. Over several years it adds up. At this point I'm finding little things to save energy since I've made all the big leaps I can. I've got a fountain pump that gets started in about 2 months and it runs 24/7 for 6 months. May tackle it next. Put it on a timer to shut it down at night.

al_smelter 03-20-2013 12:31 PM

I will look at significant savings in a project, but I'm not much on the little things. The overall effort, and sometimes the money outlay needed to implement a small savings simply is not worth it.

I guess that makes you a better steward of the environment than me. Kudos to you sir.

Oso954 03-20-2013 12:56 PM

Where did you come up with the 10 watt figure for disconnecting the ballast ? Did you measure it, or pull it out of the air ? Your savings hang on the accuracy of that figure.

What has been your ballast failure rate ? Right now, if a ballast fails, all you have to do is move the bulb to a different spot in the fixture. Once you disconnect all the "spare" ballasts, you will be calling the electrician in to re-wire the fixture to get the "spare" ballast back in service. That could impact your net savings.

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