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Old 12-24-2011, 01:17 PM   #1
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Florescent ballast, commercial or residential?


Yesterday my kitchen light went out (4 - 4 foot, 32 watt T8 lamps about 5 years old). Tested - had power to fixture, no output from the ballast (dead ballast). Also had a cracked tombstone. Stopped at Home Depot this AM and picked up a ballast and a replacement tombstone. GE ballast, the only one they had for 4 T8 lamps. Got home replaced the shunted tombstone and the ballast, light works fine.

Now the hook:
Glanced at the bottom of the instruction sheet and read
"FOR COMMERCIAL USE ONLY, NOT FOR RESIDENTIAL (CONSUMER USE)

What is the difference and is there any problem with using that ballast in a residential fixture?

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Old 12-24-2011, 01:39 PM   #2
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Florescent ballast, commercial or residential?


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Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
Yesterday my kitchen light went out (4 - 4 foot, 32 watt T8 lamps about 5 years old). Tested - had power to fixture, no output from the ballast (dead ballast). Also had a cracked tombstone. Stopped at Home Depot this AM and picked up a ballast and a replacement tombstone. GE ballast, the only one they had for 4 T8 lamps. Got home replaced the shunted tombstone and the ballast, light works fine.

Now the hook:
Glanced at the bottom of the instruction sheet and read
"FOR COMMERCIAL USE ONLY, NOT FOR RESIDENTIAL (CONSUMER USE)

What is the difference and is there any problem with using that ballast in a residential fixture?
Class A is for "commercial" EMI requirements
Class B is the "Consumer" EMI requirements

Personally, I wouldn't worry for a second. I run the same ballasts in my shop lights.

This is why it's considered a "Class A" non-cosumer device:

["RF lighting devices produce light by using RF energy to stimulate gases contained inside a lamp. In 1985, the Commission classified RF lighting devices as Part 18 Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) equipment and adopted rules to control the harmful interference to radio communications services from such devices.1 The current Part 18 rules for RF lighting devices specify AC power line-conducted emissions limits between 450 kHz and 30 MHz and radiated emissions limits between 30 MHz and 1 GHz. Part 18 specifies different emissions limits for consumer and non-consumer RF lighting equipment. Consumer ISM equipment is equipment that is used or intended to be used by the general public in a residential environment.2 Non-consumer ISM equipment is equipment that is used in commercial and industrial environments."]

Above from...
http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineeri...9/fcc99135.pdf

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Old 12-24-2011, 01:49 PM   #3
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Florescent ballast, commercial or residential?


One other note. if you actually come across issues with EMI/RFI, lowes has Class B ballasts:
reb-2p32-n http://www.yourballast.com/en/up/upd...1126082845.pdf
and
reb-4p32-n http://yourballast.com/en/up/updown/719201126176759.pdf
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Old 12-24-2011, 07:46 PM   #4
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Florescent ballast, commercial or residential?


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...RF lighting devices produce light by using RF energy to stimulate gases contained inside a lamp....
Basically, these new "electronic" ballasts are a transmitter of radio waves. They can and will cause radio interference in some receivers.

I'm not sure that the extra EMF lurking about is worth the energy savings of the electronic ballasts, however.
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:07 PM   #5
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Florescent ballast, commercial or residential?


Haven't read any posts yet.

But to be honest, only diff is that it emits radio waves. That, and if your house ever burns down and is discovered that you had that installed, and it was an electrical short, or anything electrical what so ever that caused your house to catch on fire, even if it wasn't that ballast, your home owners wont cover any damages at all, because they'll have "No way of knowing" how mixing commercial and residential grade electrical fixtures may have impacted your homes electrical circuit(s).

As far as funciton, not much to worry about, as far as insurance goes, just don't have an electrical fire, ever. And you should be good. That, and don't have any fires in your kitchen, because if that ballast blows from the gases etc. that's HAZMAT, which could void your home owners insurance as well, because you put a commercial grade ballast in a residential environment.

Other than that, nothing to worry about TBH. (aside from whether or not it voids your home owners insurance having it connected)

Last edited by BigGuy01; 12-24-2011 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:20 PM   #6
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Florescent ballast, commercial or residential?


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...if your house ever burns down and is discovered that you had that installed, and it was an electrical short, or anything electrical what so ever that caused your house to catch on fire, even if it wasn't that ballast, your home owners wont cover any damages at all, because they'll have "No way of knowing" how mixing commercial and residential grade electrical fixtures may have impacted your homes electrical circuit(s). ...
While that statement may sound legitimate, in practice I have never heard of an instance where that was actually enforced.
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:31 PM   #7
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While that statement may sound legitimate, in practice I have never heard of an instance where that was actually enforced.
Keep in mind, Insurance Company's do not want to pay, and they will find any excuse they can to not have to pay. When they do have to pay, they will find someone to sue for their money back + Interest.

It's just something to think about.

If you haven't noticed, I'm very big when it comes to liability... I know on State Properties, if it's coded as residential, only residential grade products are permitted in it/on that property. If it's coded commercial, only commercial products may be used.

Landlords at least in my state, aren't permitted to use non-residential grade items for any property's if they are renting them out to other people.

My fams home owners insurance, states it will be void if we have any commercial grade electrical or plumbing assemblies. I.e. if we are found to even have a urinal in the home, entire home owners insurance is void.

Commercial grade toilets are not allowed, we can't even put in a commercial wash sink. (the one with three bins, etc) And we can't put in commercial grade outdoor lighting fixtures. To do that for us, voids the entire insurance policy.

When a house catches fire, or anytime a fire inspector, or anyone who comes in to document/record damages to a home that is filing with an insurance company for an insurance claim, 99 out of 100 things they are looking for, are reasons to not have to pay for damages.

That commercial ballast can be ammunition an insurance company could use if it doesn't say it's ok to use with residential property.
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:44 PM   #8
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Florescent ballast, commercial or residential?


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Keep in mind, Insurance Company's do not want to pay, and they will find any excuse they can to not have to pay. When they do have to pay, they will find someone to sue for their money back + Interest.

It's just something to think about.

If you haven't noticed, I'm very big when it comes to liability... I know on State Properties, if it's coded as residential, only residential grade products are permitted in it/on that property. If it's coded commercial, only commercial products may be used.

Landlords at least in my state, aren't permitted to use non-residential grade items for any property's if they are renting them out to other people.

My fams home owners insurance, states it will be void if we have any commercial grade electrical or plumbing assemblies. I.e. if we are found to even have a urinal in the home, entire home owners insurance is void.

Commercial grade toilets are not allowed, we can't even put in a commercial wash sink. (the one with three bins, etc) And we can't put in commercial grade outdoor lighting fixtures. To do that for us, voids the entire insurance policy.

When a house catches fire, or anytime a fire inspector, or anyone who comes in to document/record damages to a home that is filing with an insurance company for an insurance claim, 99 out of 100 things they are looking for, are reasons to not have to pay for damages.

That commercial ballast can be ammunition an insurance company could use if it doesn't say it's ok to use with residential property.
what kind of wacked out insurance company do you have?
Spec grade/commercial grade materials are much better built than the cheap stuff you buy at the corner hardware store
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:53 PM   #9
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Florescent ballast, commercial or residential?


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what kind of wacked out insurance company do you have?
Spec grade/commercial grade materials are much better built than the cheap stuff you buy at the corner hardware store
No argument from me at all.

But quite frankly, there are a lot of home insurance company's that will not cover with commercial grade.

Because commercial grade plumbing fixtures for instance, like commercial grade toilets, etc. have higher GPF than residential. So take smore water etc. etc. to work with. Which voids homeowners insurance, because water damages they can claim are because of "too much stress" on the residential plumbing system. Commercial Showers have higher flow rates. Which actually violate residential plumbing codes. But then on the flip side, residential plumbing fixtures are too "weak" and don't meet commercial plumbing codes.

Can't do commercial grade water heater, because it sucks in too much power. VOids home owners because they can say the power it sucks up put too much strain on your electrical system.

List goes on. Even my Grandmothers home owners insurance packet, has a small book to it (100+ pages) listing items/modifications she cannot do to her own home (aka what I can't do to her home) without voiding insurance policy.

Commercial grade equipment is designed for mass use, mass operation, etc. Definitely higher quality than residential products, but they put greater demand on a residential system that insurance company's can claim caused such and such issues.

It's why for STate Properties (properties owned by the State which the state leases out) if they are coded commercial, only commercial products may be used. If they are coded residential, only residential products may be used.

It's all about liability and what an insurance company can claim. If it was rated for both residential, and commercial (which would be ideal for home DIYers to use, are products graded for both Residential, and Commercial) I wouldn't see anything wrong at all.

But again, I'm just looking at it from a liability perspective. Functionally it's totally fine and dandy, just worth thinking about insurance side of things, and what a company would say if they found products in a home that specifically state "Commercial Use Only".

Last edited by BigGuy01; 12-24-2011 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:12 PM   #10
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Florescent ballast, commercial or residential?


I deal with lots of insurance companys ,especially on residential propertys for sale that are nailed by hack home inspectors that wouldnt know a plumbing or electrical code violation if you smacked them in the head with the book.
Most insurance inspectors ive seen walk through a property before theyll insure it will walk over to the front of service panel and want to know if its a 100a service,they dont even want to look inside of it.
Ive never seen one walk through a house and look at what kind of toilet or shower head you have,as long as the property meets local building codes theres not a whole lot they can legally say about the property being over built.
If I decide to run all the wiring in my house in threaded rigid conduit and run oversized #10 wire to every plug in my house with spec grade 20a plugs is my insurance company going to drop me? I doubt it very much
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:12 PM   #11
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Florescent ballast, commercial or residential?


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No argument from me at all.

But quite frankly, there are a lot of home insurance company's that will not cover with commercial grade.

Because commercial grade plumbing fixtures for instance, like commercial grade toilets, etc. have higher GPF than residential. So take smore water etc. etc. to work with. Which voids homeowners insurance, because water damages they can claim are because of "too much stress" on the residential plumbing system. Commercial Showers have higher flow rates. Which actually violate residential plumbing codes. But then on the flip side, residential plumbing fixtures are too "weak" and don't meet commercial plumbing codes.

Can't do commercial grade water heater, because it sucks in too much power. VOids home owners because they can say the power it sucks up put too much strain on your electrical system.

List goes on. Even my Grandmothers home owners insurance packet, has a small book to it (100+ pages) listing items/modifications she cannot do to her own home (aka what I can't do to her home) without voiding insurance policy.

Commercial grade equipment is designed for mass use, mass operation, etc. Definitely higher quality than residential products, but they put greater demand on a residential system that insurance company's can claim caused such and such issues.

It's why for STate Properties (properties owned by the State which the state leases out) if they are coded commercial, only commercial products may be used. If they are coded residential, only residential products may be used.

It's all about liability and what an insurance company can claim. If it was rated for both residential, and commercial (which would be ideal for home DIYers to use, are products graded for both Residential, and Commercial) I wouldn't see anything wrong at all.

But again, I'm just looking at it from a liability perspective. Functionally it's totally fine and dandy, just worth thinking about insurance side of things, and what a company would say if they found products in a home that specifically state "Commercial Use Only".
Again you are reading too many books without having experience to back it up! I would like to see in writing an example of when an insurance company did not pay a claim because commercial grade materials were used in a residential situation! I won't waste a lot of time waiting because I'm sure you won't be able to find any.
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:18 PM   #12
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Florescent ballast, commercial or residential?


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That, and if your house ever burns down and is discovered that you had that installed, and it was an electrical short, or anything electrical what so ever that caused your house to catch on fire, even if it wasn't that ballast, your home owners wont cover any damages at all, because they'll have "No way of knowing" how mixing commercial and residential grade electrical fixtures may have impacted your homes electrical circuit(s).

Total BS. The insurance company cannot disallow the claim unless they can prove that the device caused the fire. There are plenty of competent professionals that can testify that that device in and of itself would not cause a safety hazard. I agree that insurance companies look for an excuse to deny a claim, but they do have to prove their point, sometimes in a court of law.
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:38 PM   #13
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Again you are reading too many books without having experience to back it up! I would like to see in writing an example of when an insurance company did not pay a claim because commercial grade materials were used in a residential situation! I won't waste a lot of time waiting because I'm sure you won't be able to find any.
I got even better, want to call up your home owners insurance company and ask what they say if you use commercial use only light fixtures in your home?
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:43 PM   #14
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Total BS. The insurance company cannot disallow the claim unless they can prove that the device caused the fire. There are plenty of competent professionals that can testify that that device in and of itself would not cause a safety hazard. I agree that insurance companies look for an excuse to deny a claim, but they do have to prove their point, sometimes in a court of law.
That wouldn't be hard, do you know why? They can claim the Commercial Grade Appliance/fixture overloaded your residential system, causing xxx to overload.

Weakest part of a chain is what breaks. If the strongest part was too strong, it'll be a weaker component that fails, not the stronger one.

NEC also bans the use of Commercial Use Only products for Residential use. Meaning unless your area says otherwise, it's against building code just to even have it. which an insurance company can absolutely claim was a factor in a fault.

Feel free to call up and ask your own home insurance company and ask them if they would cover damages if you had commercial use only products installed in your home.

That's the best way to prove my point.
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:45 PM   #15
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Florescent ballast, commercial or residential?


Ive got a meeting with one sometime next week once I finish fixing the current bunch of handy/hackman repairs on a customers rental property theyre trying to insure,Ill make sure to point out the cast iron waste/vent stack and sq-d 100a QO panel I installed.
Same unit I install in commercial buildings
Did you know that many cities and insurance companys consider rental properties to be commercial properties whether theyre a house or building?

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