If you've looked at lighting products lately, you may have noticed that fluorescent tubes have gotten smaller. The new T8 is designed to be used with an electronic ballast, which gives it several advantages. It uses less power, puts out up to 25 percent more light, and can last twice as long as the conventional 12. Also when it's starting up even in very cold situations, it comes on immediately.

But maybe the best news of all is that the T8 ballast is very quiet. No buzzes and no hums. Unfortunately, you can't use a T8 tube in a T12 fixture, but the next time you're thinking about upgrading or adding to your lighting, think small.

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