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LED Use in Cold Temperatures

Living in MN has some unique challenges- one of which includes dealing with temperatures ranging from -40° to 100°.  Not only do our bodies have to learn to adjust to the large range in temperature, but so do our lights.  

Issues with fluorescent bulbs in cold temperatures 

If you live in a cold area and have fluorescent bulbs in an unheated shop, garage, etc., I'm sure you already know that they definitely do not work to their greatest potential.  Fluorescent lights start with more difficulty at lower temperatures because the mercury vapor pressure is lower, thus there is less mercury available to start the light. The light output is lower because the mercury is not emitting the optimum amount of ultraviolet energy for the phosphor to convert to visible light. There are some cold-weather options for fluorescent lighting- special ballasts, bulbs, etc.- but these can be spendy, and depending on use may need to be replaced more often than your regular fluorescent bulbs.

LEDs and Cold 

Thus far, LEDs have been a pretty good answered prayer for all those cold-weather garage dwellers.  Due to the fact that they don't have the mercury to deal with, just about every quality LED light is instant-on in cold temperatures.  It does not affect their life expectancy, and the output is the same as if it were a balmy 80°.  If you plan to purchase any type of LED, it's best to check with the manufacturer on how low of a temperature the light is rated for just to be safe. At Petersen Parts, our bulbs are rated for -30°. 

Hopefully this article helped shed some light on your situation! 

Credit: Sylvania (2000). Cold Temperature Operation of Fluorescent Systems. Retrieved September 1, 2016, from

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