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What Are Fluorescent Lights? Are They the Best for Your Range Hood?

Understanding the types of lighting systems is important, especially when you're purchasing a new kitchen appliance. So what is a fluorescent light?

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If you’re shopping around for a new range hood, you’ve probably seen the term “fluorescent lighting” a few times. But what are they used for, and how do they work?

This post will cover fluorescent lights, what they are, how they work, and whether or not you should use them in your range hood. So you can make an informed decision.

Image of multiple cfl fluorescent light bulbs. Source: adobe stock
Image of multiple CFL fluorescent light bulbs. Source: Adobe Stock

Fluorescent lighting is a highly versatile type of lighting that you most likely encounter at the office, school, or grocery store. It’s known for its energy efficiency compared to incandescent and halogen light bulbs.

What are fluorescent lights?

You’ve probably seen fluorescent lighting in places like the office, the classroom, and the grocery store. It’s more cost-effective than LEDs while still being more energy-efficient than incandescents and halogens.

Linear fluorescent tubes are very common. In addition, any business building often puts fluorescent tubes in overhead lighting fixtures, like troffers.

Fluorescent illumination comes in many forms, such as linear fluorescent tubes, fluorescent bent tubes, fluorescent circline tubes, and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) (compact fluorescent lamps).

Fluorescent lights are also extremely brittle and fragile. So they require a lot of care when transporting. Below is an example of fluorescent light tubes.

  • WATTAGE: 32 Watts
  • COLOR TEMPERATURE: 4100K (Cool White)
  • LIGHT OUTPUT: 2800 Lumens
  • LIFETIME: 13,000 Hours
  • SIZE/BASE: 48IN T8 - G13 Medium Base

Last update on November 30, 2022 / Affiliate links / All Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

CFL light bulbs are much more common in household settings. Here is an example of a CFL light bulb

Last update on November 30, 2022 / Affiliate links / All Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How do fluorescent lights work

Chemical reactions within a glass tube are the basis of fluorescent lighting. For example, when gases and vaporized mercury mix chemically, they make UV light, which our eyes can’t see. When UV light hits the phosphor powder inside the glass tube, it gives off a white “fluorescent” light.

When the electricity goes into a troffer or similar light fixture, it goes through the ballast first. The pins on each end of a fluorescent bulb connect to the ballast, which controls the voltage, current, etc., and is needed for the bulb to light up. After going through the pins, the current goes through the seal of the glass tube to the electrodes, which stay at low pressure. Then, electrons start moving through the vacuum tube from one cathode to the other.

An electrical current passes through the glass tube, igniting inert gases and mercury. When electricity is sent through a mercury thermometer, the mercury vaporizes, and the gases begin interacting to generate ultraviolet light, which is invisible to the human eye.

But we see the light from the fluorescent lamps, so what are we seeing? Phosphor powder is used to cover every fluorescent bulb. A powdered doughnut effect might be achieved by inserting a finger inside the tube and rubbing the interior.

When the invisible UV radiation is activated, the phosphor coating lights up, and human eyes perceive the resulting glow as white light. The original meaning of fluorescent was “glowing white light,” hence the name. Unfortunately, fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, so you must recycle them after they’ve burned out.

What are fluorescent lights used for

Fluorescent bulbs often light up places like businesses, factories, classrooms, and stores. Fluorescent tubes may range widely in size, color, temperature, and power. But what makes fluorescent lighting different is that the lights are contained inside a fixture. The fixture is usually attached to the ceiling or hangs from the ceiling.

What are the different types of fluorescent lights?

While selecting fluorescent lights, you should think about the bulb type and color temperature. Like other kinds of bulbs, fluorescents may be found in various hues, from icy blue to soft white. Here, color tastes range widely, and the mood you’re going for should inform your decision. There are three primary types of fluorescent light bulbs.

CFLs Bulbs

Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) are small and have a thin, folded, or coiled tube from which light shines. They usually have standard threaded bases for your existing light fixtures and lamps. Also, because they have built-in electronic ballasts, they can be used immediately without having to replace the whole lighting system.

Conventional tubes

Many people’s mental images of fluorescent lights are of a long, thin tube. They have been standard in many business ceiling fixtures for some time now. These tubes need a ballast to function and are available in a wide range of lengths and diameters.

U-bulb lights

These u-shaped bulbs, which may also go by the name “compact fluorescent light bulbs,” are designed for use in appliances with an external electronic ballast. They fall in the middle of the spectrum between traditional incandescent bulbs and CFLs with ballasts. The main difference between these and twist-in CF bulbs is that these have a ballast already built in, which means they can be used in a regular light socket, while twist-in CF bulbs do not.

Are fluorescent lights common in kitchen appliances

Appliances in the kitchen often do not have fluorescent lighting. Typically, these devices take the form of long tubes filled with gas. And to do their job, they need to be rather big. Thus, they cant be used to illuminate most kitchen appliances.

Image of a kitchen with a table and red chairs, a countertop, a stove, and a range hood. Source: pixabay
Image of a kitchen with a table, red chairs, countertop, stove, and range hood. Source: pixabay

Are fluorescent lights a good choice for range hoods

No. Fluorescent lighting is not the ideal choice for range hoods. First, fluorescent lights can shatter. This is not a quality you want over your stovetop when cooking. Second, LED lights are better than fluorescent lights, which are used in many modern kitchen appliances.

If you want even more tips and insights, watch this video called “How a Fluorescent Lamp Worksfrom” the Blueprint YouTube Channel.

A video called “How a Fluorescent Lamp Worksfrom” the Blueprint YouTube Channel.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do you still have questions? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about fluorescent lights.

What kind of bulbs do range hoods use?

Commonly seen in range hoods are LED or halogen bulbs. Although incandescent bulbs are becoming obsolete, some still utilize them.

Are fluorescent lights more efficient than incandescent lights?

A fluorescent light bulb is substantially more efficient than an incandescent one in transforming electrical energy into usable light.

Do range hoods need special light bulbs?

Yes. The first step is to ensure that the range hood can accommodate LED lighting. Equally important are heat resistance, durability, and vibration resistance in your chosen LED bulb. It must also have a high CRI (color rendering index) to be effective. LED lights are standard on many new range hoods.

What watt bulb goes in a range hood?

It’s common to see two 50-watt lights in a range hood.

Conclusion

Florescent light technology has been around for decades and has progressed to become an efficient way of lighting. However, they’re not very common in kitchen appliances. Finally, fluorescent lights are not the best choice for range hoods. Instead, LED lights are what you want to use.

This article covered what a fluorescent light is, how it works, and what it is used for. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • A fluorescent lamp, or a fluorescent tube, has a low-pressure mercury-vapor gas-discharge lamp that uses fluorescence to produce visible light.
  • CFLs are usually rated by energy use (in watts) and light output (in lumens), frequently compared to incandescent bulbs.
  • The electrified vapor produces ultraviolet light, which is absorbed by a chemical coating on the inside of the tube. 
  • There is a significant efficiency gain when switching from incandescent to fluorescent lighting.
  • Many nations are promoting replacing incandescent lights with fluorescent, LED, or other energy-efficient alternatives.
  • Fluorescent lighting is created by enclosing argon and mercury vapor within a glass tube.
  • Mercury vapor is excited by an electric current in the gas, producing short-wave ultraviolet light that, in turn, makes a phosphor coating within the lamp shine.

So, do you use fluorescent lighting in your kitchen? And did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below (I read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check out my full blog for more tips and tricks in your kitchen. Thanks for reading, and stay safe.

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Author avatar - Roger Harris
Written By Roger Harris
Hey there! My name is Roger, and I've been selling range hoods for over six years. I now run this blog all about range hoods and kitchen ventilation! If you're looking for a new range hood for your kitchen, this is the place for you.

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