Buying bulbs isn’t as simple as it used to be. The clamor to be green has led to the rise of new bulb types that are more efficient and work differently from each other. We are here to shed light on the major differences so you can make an informed choice when shopping for bulbs.
Light bulbs are simple electrical devices that produce light. The traditional tungsten filament incandescent light bulbs are now illegal to manufacture in the US because they do not meet Federal energy efficiency standards ( Energy and Security Act of 2007). Any incandescent bulbs you see on shelves have been manufactured before January 2014.
New bulb types such as LED and CFL or compact fluorescent lights are very cost effective to operate and boast of impressive lifespans. Though some cost more than traditional incandescent bulbs, they last far longer and consume far less power while giving you the same illumination.
What you need to know to make the switch.
Electricity supplied to households in the U.S. is 120 volts but go up to 230 volts in other parts of the globe. Light bulbs optimally operate at their defined voltage. Under-voltage or over-voltage affects lighting efficiency and service life.
Under Voltage Warning
Dimming lights lead to less light output and not towards energy savings. CFLs should NOT be used with a dimmer switch UNLESS clearly marked otherwise – from the San Francisco Fire Department.
Over Voltage Warning
Use the right bulbs and fixtures for your voltage range because excess voltage diminishes service life considerably and has potential hazards.
Wattage in this case is how much energy a bulb consumes or how much electricity is drawn. Many people interchange watts for lumens, which is the actual amount of light produced.
Wattage is important because both bulbs and fixtures have wattage ratings. Make sure you match your bulbs to their fixtures, never use a bulb with higher wattage than the fixture is rated for. Going past the wattage rating of a fixture by using a higher wattage bulb is a fire hazard.
For safety purposes always use bulbs with wattage ratings that are less than or equal to the rating of your fixture.
Light output from bulbs is measured in lumens, the measure of brightness from light. It’s as simple as the more lumens a bulb is rated, then the brighter the light. When looking to replace incandescent light bulbs in your home, look at how many lumens your current bulbs are rated at and buy the equivalent in an energy saving bulb.
Here is how to get the cost of operating bulbs in your home. Use the formula below and apply to all the bulbs you use.
Wattage / 1,000 x (hrs/day) x ($/kWh) x (30 days per month) = total cost per month
|Wattage||Hours/Day||Watt Hours/Day||Kilowatts/Day||Kilowatts/ |
This assumes the cost per kilowatt hour is 10 cents, check with your energy provider to get your electricity rate.
Bulbs that use less watts per lumen are more efficient. Typically an incandescent bulb produces 15 lumens per watt, fluorescent lights average 50-100 lumens/watt and efficient LED bulbs 40 lumens per watt.
The initial cost of buying energy efficient bulbs is greater than buying incandescent bulbs. However, it pays off in the long run with energy savings and increased lifespan. Lighting up your home with energy efficient bulbs is a great way to save the environment and will save you valuable dollars over time.
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