A Utilitech Fluorescent Tube Lighting Fixture
Fluorescent strip lighting has been used for decades to supply inexpensive, reliable and effective lighting for homes, offices, particularly large open spaces like hangers and warehouses.
On the face of it, this Utilitech fluorescent strip light looks similar to those offered by many other manufacturers. However, this particular unit does have some interesting modern features that make it an attractive option for lighting the home, office or garage.
Energy Star Rating – Fluorescent tube lights are already energy efficient, but this Utilitech model has been given an energy star award. Energy star awards are given by both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy. Energy star awards are internationally recognised, appliances must meet a strict set of criteria before they are given the accolade.
Instant On Electric Ballast - A ballast is a device installed in all fluorescent tubes that regulates the amount of electricity flowing through the unit. Older fluorescent lighting fixtures were often slow to warm up, often tacking up to ten minutes to reach their full brightness. An electric ballast uses a short high voltage burst to ensure the light reaches it’s full temperature as soon as it is turned on.
The only disadvantage of using a ballast of this type is that the life of the bulbs is depleted a little every time the unit is turned on. This makes these types of fixture more suited to situations where they are left on for a long time rather than sporadically tuned on and off.
End to End Installation - The oak end wraps can be removed and multiple units can be installed end to end, this means you can cover an entire ceiling without a break in the illumination.
Little Operating Noise - Fluorescent lighting fixtures are notorious for the annoying hum that they produce. The advanced electric ballast used in the Utilitech unit eliminates operating noise altogether.
Unboxing and First Impressions of the Utilitech Flush Mount Fluorescent Light
The unit arrived in a large sturdy box. Removing the packaging reveals a lighting fixture about 2 feet in length with attractive brown oak end wraps. There is a white acrylic tube cover that is designed to help diffuse the light emitted from the fluorescent tubes, more on how that works later in this review.
It is worth mentioning that this lighting fixture does not come fitted with any fluorescent tubes. I personally like this because I prefer to use fluorescent tubes that provide as close a colour temperature to daylight as possible, factory fitted tubes often have a blue hue that I dislike. Two fluorescent bulbs need to be loaded into this fixture.
This fixture will look good when installed on any light coloured ceiling. My only question with regards to the design of this unit is why Utilitech chose to make the end wraps brown. Although I think they look good, they will stand out when mounted on a white ceiling. If you don’t like the colour they are easily painted.
Installation is definitely a two person job. Utilitech’s high end build quality means that this fixture is quite heavy. I had my brother come by to help me. The included mounting screws and raw plugs make installation easy, ten minutes was all it took for the two of us to do it
If you do not have any experience with electrical installations it may be advisable to contact an electrician to hard wire the fixture for you.
This unit really is instant on, as soon as you flick the light switch it instantly reaches full brightness. The daylight tubes that I chose provide a warm light, these coupled with the included acrylic diffuser effectively lights every part of my medium sized room.
The fixture is completely silent and does not seem to cause any interference with radio and television signals like some other lighting fixtures.
I am very impressed with the Utilitech flush mount fluorescent lighting unit. While it may not suited to people who turn their lights off and on a lot or do not like the brown oak side panels.
I think the fact that this unit is inexpensive, easy to install and instantly expandable makes it a good choice for anyone looking for a fluorescent strip lighting fixture.