Sep 172013
 

LED Light Bulbs Buying LED Light Bulbs (When Youre Used To Incandescent)There’s nothing quite like the glow of an incandescent light bulb. It’s warm. It’s flattering. It’s familiar.

When you buy an incandescent light bulb, you know what to look for. You know how bright the light will be by looking at its wattage. You know what shape and size to get. You know any incandescent light will work with your dimmer switch.

Incandescent lights are easy. But if you’re still using them in every light socket, things are about to get real. As part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), incandescent light bulbs are slowly being taken off the market. In an effort to conserve energy, consumers are encouraged to use more efficient, longer-lasting light bulbs like CFLs and LEDs.

Long story short: You might have to give up your beloved incandescent lights.

While this change might seem daunting at first, can be a great opportunity to save money on energy bills and light bulb replacements.

But what about that incandescent glow? Or those familiar features? Are they gone forever?

Thankfully, no. After years of research and testing, manufacturers have finally found a way to make LED light bulbs that mimic incandescent light bulbs to near perfection. If you’re looking to replace your filament light bulb with an LED, here’s what you need to look for:

1. For that warm, inviting glow, you need an LED with a warm color temperature. An incandescent’s color temperature is normally around 2,800 degrees K.  Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 17, 2013 at 2:53 pm
Sep 092013
 

Stock Photo CFL How Do Fluorescent Light Bulbs Work?We’re diving deep to teach you how different light sources produce light. This information can help you when you’re choosing lights for a new lighting project or maintaining the lights you already have. If you’ve ever tried researching this information, you know it can get overwhelming and complicated. So, I’m going to simplify it for you. In this post we’re covering fluorescent light bulbs

Fluorescent light bulbs come in a range of shapes and sizes like linear, circline, and the ever-popular swirl of the compact fluorescent.

Though the various kinds of fluorescent light bulbs look very different, the way they function is fundamentally the same.

Fluorescent light bulbs contain the following:

  • Mercury vapor
  • Electrodes, wired to an electrical circuit
  • A glass envelope with a white phosphor coating on the inside

Pretty simple, right? Now let’s look at how these elements work together to make light: 

1. When you turn on the lamp, electrical current flows through the electrodes. Electrons pass back and forth in the tube.

2. The electrons excite the mercury vapor in the tube, bumping the atoms’ electrons to higher levels. This causes the mercury to emit UV photons, or UV light, invisible to the human eye.

3. The phosphor coating converts UV light into visible light. This happens when a UV photon collides with a phosphor atom, bumping one of the phosphor electrons to a higher energy level, and heating up the atom. When the electron falls back to its normal level, it releases energy as a visible photon – the light you see.

Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 9, 2013 at 2:24 pm
Jul 152013
 

Floodlights 300x198 Spotlights vs. Floodlights: Whats the Difference?Recently, I’ve gotten a few questions from customers about floodlights and spotlights:

What’s the difference between a spotlight and a floodlight?

What kind of beam spread do I need for my lighting project?

How can I know how wide my light bulb’s beam will be from a certain distance away?

I thought these questions would make a perfect topic for today’s blog post.

First, let’s cover the basics:

A spotlight casts a narrow beam of light, usually no wider than 45 degrees. This beam is more concentrated and easier to point and control.

A floodlight can have a beam spread of up to 120 degrees. It can illuminate a larger amount of space with the same wattage and lumen output as a spotlight.

Using spotlights and floodlights:

When highlighting specific points like display objects, wall artwork, architectural details, or landscape features, use a spotlight. Continue reading »

Mar 222013
 

Whether you’re planning for a retail display, or remodeling the recessed lights in your kitchen, you need to know how to determine your light bulb’s beam width.

When it comes to reflector lamps (Rs, MRs, ERs, BRs, and PARs), you can choose between spotlights and floodlights. Spot beams are less than 45 degrees wide, and flood beams can be up to 120 degrees wide. This infographic will tell you how to use each kind of light bulb. You’ll also learn how to find the width of a light beam from any given distance away.

infographic beam spread How To Find A Lights Beam Width   Infographic
Continue reading »

Feb 082013
 

These days, the CFL (compact fluorescent light bulb) is a pretty standard fixture in most homes and businesses. It’s an affordable, energy-saving alternative to older, less efficient incandescent light bulbs. But, whether you’ve been using them for a long time, or just invested in your first CFL today, there are certain things about the form, function, and proper use of the CFL you need to know. The following infographic spells it out in bold simplicity:

CFL GUIDE Revised 2 Infographic: A Guide To The Form, Function, and Care of the CFL

Continue reading »

 Posted by on February 8, 2013 at 9:54 am
Jan 312013
 

Energy Efficient Halogen PAR38 Spotlight1 Product Spotlight: PAR38 Energy Efficient Halogen Lamps
Today we’re debuting a new series on the blog called “Product Spotlight.”  Every week, we’re going to showcase one of our newest, coolest, or most popular light fixtures, and tell you a little about it. How does it work? How do you install it? What are the benefits? Get ready for your newest learning experience in light… 

It’s your classic Goldilocks situation. When you’re shopping for the perfect PAR38 light bulb, perhaps the LED PAR38′s light is just too cool, and the incandescent PAR38′s light is just too warm. Then, you spot the halogen lamp – its unmistakable crisp and pleasing light is just what you were looking for. Not to mention it’s more durable than the incandescent light and less expensive than the LED.

But then, you notice just how much energy it takes to power that halogen light bulb. The choice stops feeling quite so right.

So, we’re introducing a 4th option (or maybe we should call it 3.5): The PAR38  Energy-Efficient Halogen Lamp.

Also known as the infrared halogen (HIR), this lamp emits the same quality lights as a regular halogen light bulb, but does it using less energy.

Why Is It Energy-Efficient?

Most filament light bulbs like incandescents and halogens generate light with only about 10% of the energy they consume. The remaining 90% is given off as heat. Continue reading »

 Posted by on January 31, 2013 at 10:57 am
Jan 242013
 

Stock Photo Shattered Light Bulb Next Phase Of EISA: Losing The 75 Watt Incandescent
As of January 1, 2013, the second phase of EISA has taken effect, banning the import and production of 75-watt incandescent light bulbs.

For those unfamiliar, EISA stands for the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. President Bush signed this act during his second term, and it aims to do the following:

  • Move the U.S. toward greater energy independence and security
  • Increase the production of clean, renewable fuels
  • Increase the efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles
  • Promote research on and set up greenhouse gas capture and storage options
  • Improve the energy performance of the Federal Government
  • Increase U.S. energy security, develop renewable fuel production, and improve vehicle fuel economy

One of the main goals enacted by this legislation is to raise appliance and lighting efficiency standards, which is what has brought about the incandescent light phase outs. These older incandescent lamps just don’t meet the mark.

Last January, we said goodbye to the 100-watt incandescent lamp, and now the 75-watt has followed. It’s likely you’ll still see them in stores in coming months, but with the ban on importing or manufacturing these lights, the supplies we already have will dwindle and eventually run out. Now, a light bulb must use 53 watts or less if it emits the equivalent lumens of a 75-watt incandescent light.

These new standards are technology neutral, so any kind of light bulb can still be sold, as long as it meets the efficiency requirements. Continue reading »

Dec 172012
 

Fluorescent Lamp T8 LED T8 Replacement Lamps: Are They Worth It?
Looking back at 2012, LED lights have made huge leaps. They’ve leaped from small-scale applications to adorn the tops of our most iconic skyscrapers. They’ve hopped into the light sockets of our homes and buildings, and LED lighting control apps have sprung up on our smartphones. Even the prices of LEDs have started “jumping” down.

But, not every LED application is perfect, or even advisable. Many of us still have questions.

For instance – what’s the deal with LED replacements for T8 lamps?

That’s a topic even we haven’t heard much about, so we leaped at the chance to ask Dr. Jack Curran of LED Transformations about it, after a few of us attended a webinar he hosted about LEDs:

Q: Have you found any LED T8 lamps that are good replacements for fluorescent T8 lamps? If not, do you see them ever becoming a viable substitute for the fluorescent version?

A: According to Dr. Curran, the quality of LED T8 replacements isn’t the problem. There are good quality lamps out there, and there’s also junk (like just about every other light and light fixture around). The issue of LED T8s is more complicated. Dr. Curran explained it in 3 parts: Continue reading »

 Posted by on December 17, 2012 at 11:17 am
Oct 252012
 

To be honest, I’ve always liked the look of CFLs. Yes, there have been mixed opinions about the quality of light they generate, but there’s something about that gentle swirl that I can’t help but enjoy. And of course, the CFL has come a long way from what was first out on the market.

See here:

Hanging Plumens Not Your Average CFL

Image via Plumen.com

You can imagine my excitement when I first saw the Plumen 001, winner of the Brit Insurance Design of the Year Award and you guessed it, a CFL. Continue reading »

 Posted by on October 25, 2012 at 10:55 am
Sep 072012
 

Fluorescent Lamp T8 How To Cope When Your Favorite Light Bulb Gets The Shaft: Fluorescent Light Bulbs
This is the third installment of a three-part series on replacing EISA phased-out light bulbs – what’s leaving and why. You can read the first post on household A lamps here, and the second on reflector lamps here.  

Discontinued Fluorescents

T12 fluorescent light bulbs have been around since the ’30s, and in light bulb years, that’s just too plain old. Technology’s potential for efficiency, for saving you time and money, has moved light-years since then. That’s why the T12 phase-out began in July this year. This phase-out affected nearly all T12s, with the exception of the cold temperature lamps and a few others. Most T12s now have gone the way of typewriters and VCRs, cassette tapes and rotary phones – delightful relics, but come on people, we’re better than this.

We’ve also listed one T8 lamp with the group. While T8s are much newer, and most are much more efficient than T12s, the lamps listed are the oldest and most basic of their kind. They have the least lumens and the shortest lives of all the T8s, so while they’re cheap, they’re simply not a good value.

Here’s how to update:

Lamp

Date Discontinued

Good Replacements

Great Replacements

Slimline F96T12 60W

July 14, 2012

800 Series Slimline F96T8 59W

Coming Soon

High Output F96T12

July 14, 2012

800 Series High Output F96T8 86W

Coming Soon

Rapid Start F34T12

July 14, 2012

800 Series T8 32W

800 Series Energy Saving T8 25W and 28W

U-Bend FB34T12

July 14, 2012

800 Series U-Bend T8

800 Series Energy Savings U-Bend T8 25W

700 Series T8 32W

2014

800 Series T8 32W

800 Series Energy Saving T8 25W and 28W

Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 7, 2012 at 9:58 am