Harmonic Distortion Symptoms - Lighting

Depending on the type of system, lighting can be a victim of harmonic distortion, a culprit, or both. All non-incandescent lighting systems create current distortion. Standard fluorescent and HID systems create about 15% to 20% total harmonic distortion (THD.) Electronic ballasts can create anywhere from less than 10% to more than 40% THD, depending on the design. This means that using these systems introduces current distortion into the power system.

Since these lights are found almost everywhere, it's safe to say that current distortion exists in virtually all business facilities.

However, the presence of current distortion doesn't necessarily translate to problems. Problems only result when current distortion has an undesirable effect on equipment. Quite often the distortion from lighting systems is not problematic.

The presence of high neutral current can create a significant current distortion. If this neutral current burns up the conductor, it can create a severe voltage extreme. Such voltages can easily damage lighting systems. Thus, the current distortion indirectly affects the systems.