What Size Fixture Works Best for a T8 Fluorescent Light
A T8 fluorescent light is an efficient and effective lighting option when evaluating the lighting needs of your home, office, or industrial building. Fluorescent lighting works similarly to neon signs in that the lighting tube is filled with gases that are charged. The ballast ionizes the charged gasses, through electricity, illuminating the gasses. The gasses themselves do not emit light waves, but the tubes are coated with another substance that reacts with the gases, emitting light waves. The term T8 refers to the diameter of the tube in eights of an inch.
A T8 tube means that it measures 8 eights (8/8) of an inch so is one inch in diameter. The ballast is the component within the light fixture that creates both the ionization but also controls the voltage that is supplied to the fluorescent tube. There is a wide variety of options available in fluorescent fixtures meant to be used for T8 tubes, for both residential as well as commercial applications. Here you will find some of the more popular sizes that work with T8 fluorescent tubes.
24-inch Fluorescent Fixtures
A 24-inch fixture is a great option when lighting a small space, such as a closet or powder room. There is a variety on the market such as recessed fixtures and light fixtures that can accommodate anywhere between one and four bulbs for customized lighting. These can be used in combination with many smaller ones to create a much brighter, well-lit environment.
36-inch Fluorescent Fixtures
This size of the fixture is better used in rooms about the size of a bedroom. These too are offered to accommodate anywhere from one to four bulbs or tubes to further customize the level of lighting. These can be found in a variety of styles for varying voltage needs and can be used in both decorative residential applications as well as more industrialized applications, such as in an office.
48-inch Fluorescent Fixtures
These fixtures are longer, and thus should be used in larger areas where lighting is needed and there is space to accommodate them. These ballasts are also offered to accommodate anywhere from one to four tubes and are best used in either very large living areas such as a garage or den, or in larger commercial areas such as communal workspaces, cafeterias, or break rooms.
96-inch Fluorescent Fixtures
These are some of the longest fixtures and are generally only found as single or with a two-tube configuration (though ballasts that can accommodate four tubes are usually two ballasts put together). These are best used in large warehouse-type environments, as the simple length of the tubes used in them is difficult to manage in smaller spaces. Too, these are considered high output ballasts, and you should ensure that there is adequate voltage to supply to the ballast before installing them.
There are other sizes of fluorescent fixtures available and they are sold as well in different shapes such as circular or round, and U-shaped. But which is right for your particular situation will depend on two primary factors: space and voltage. As with any electrical project, ensure that you have adequate power for any electrical addition, and if needed, hire a professional for the installation.