Light Your World

Light Your World

Light your world with the best light bulbs! It’s been ten years since Congress changed how we light our spaces forever. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 started the push toward more efficient and Earth-friendly lighting. It wasn’t long before we started ditching our 100 watt incandescent light bulbs for new bulbs using as low as just 40W.

The new options on the market promise to last a whole 20 years and use far less energy than incandescent bulbs. However, it is becoming harder and harder to tell which light bulb will actually work for your needs. This article will help you navigate the bulb aisle and make the right choice every time! If you’re not ready to let go of your incandescents, I will also help you figure out what bulbs are the closest.

Measuring Light

Use this section to help you understand the details printed on the box your bulb comes in.

Lumens

Lumens are the standard measurement of brightness. When you see a higher number, that means the bulb creates more light. If you have a ceiling light that needs multiple bulbs you may want to choose a bulb with lower lumens than one that only needs a single bulb.

When you see labels like, “60-watt equivalent,” it actually makes choosing a bulb more confusing. You may still end up with a bulb that burns too brightly or leaves you sitting in the dark. You may have to experiment to find the best number for your light fixtures.

Color Temperature

Color temperature is measured on the Kelvin scale. Light bulbs vary in color from yellow (low Kelvin) to more blue (high kelvin). The high, blueish color of new bulbs, like LEDs, is a common complaint. Most people still want the warm yellow of the old incandescent bulbs. However, manufacturers are solving this problem. You can now find CFL and LED bulbs with warmer hues. Just be sure to check the color temperature on the package.

Learn more about which bulbs will work for specific fixtures here.

Bulb Types

LEDs

 

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) quickly became one of the most popular ways to light your world. LEDs use far less energy to create the same amount of light as an incandescent. They are also fairly cheap to purchase. They cost less than the amount it costs to run your incandescent bulb for three hours a day if you buy just a standard LED that emits 800 lumens (the brightness of the light).

The best thing about LEDs is that they are rated to last for tens of thousands of hours. An incandescent only lasts about a year, depending on how long you use it each day. You could be using the same LED bulb 20 or 30 years after you buy it! That’s why light bulbs from major manufacturers, like GE, offer ten year warranties on their LED light bulbs!

CFLs

CFLs were basically the only option for energy efficient bulbs years ago. Now they have come up with more designs to keep up with other options. Some have even been enhanced so you don’t have to wait as long for the bulb to light up. CFL bulbs don’t like cold temperatures, so they can’t really be used outdoors. The biggest problem is that they lose lumens over the years.   

Incandescent

These bulbs are what most people picture when they think light bulb. The legislation didn’t wipe them out completely. Instead, it forced companies to redesign the classic to be more energy efficient. You can still find non-traditional bulbs that use a bit less energy than their traditional counterparts.

Halogen

Halogens give off a similar light to incandescents and are slightly more efficient. They use halogen gas to help recycle the wasted energy. The only downside is they still have an average life expectancy of just 1,000 hours.