Oct 092013
 

LEDs are at the forefront of light industry discussion because they are such a gamechanger when it comes to energy efficiency and lifespan. But how do recent developments to LED technology affect the everyday consumer? What’s the simplest way to navigate this uncharted territory when shopping for LED light bulbs? The very recent availability of an LED replacement for the common household incandescent lamp has created a world of new potential, and along with it a whole new set of standards. In this post, we will be discussing the various ways to distinguish between the different LED options.

FTC lumens chart 5 Ways To Choose An LED Light Bulb

image via lumennow.org

1. Light Output

Incandescent lamps have always been measured in watts, because for a really long time people equated the electricity it took to light a bulb with the luminosity it created. So “60 watts” came to mean “the brightness of a 60-watt incandescent lamp,” even though luminosity is measured in lumens, not watts.

With the introduction of more energy efficient lighting, however, this standard doesn’t work. It takes significantly less wattage to produce the same amount of light in an LED or fluorescent lamp, so it’s important for consumers to understand the luminosity of a bulb rather than simply its wattage.

Luminosity, or lamp brightness, is measured in lumens. The chart to the right demonstrates the amount of lumens a standard incandescent light bulb produces, so if you’re used to watts you can easily figure out what lumen count you want in your new LED bulb.

An LED lamp’s packaging or product description might mention how comparable its lumens are to the light output of a 60-, 75- or 100-watt incandescent bulb, but it’s wise to know ahead of time what luminosity you want just in case the incandescent watt-equivalent is not included.

Takeaway: Lumens are how the brightness of an LED light bulb is measured. You’ll choose your bulb based on how bright you want the light to shine, not by how much energy it will be using.

Continue reading »

Sep 252013
 

LED Light Bars Showcase 300x219 How To Buy LED Light Bulbs (When Youre Used To Fluorescent)Fluorescent light bulbs are all the rage. Today, the majority of households in the U.S. have begun to adapt their lighting, exchanging inefficient incandescent light bulbs for energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). These familiar spiral-shaped light bulbs hide under our lamp shades, within our ceiling lights, behind our wall sconces, and are quite pleasant to use. Often, you can’t even tell the difference between a classic incandescent and a CFL.

As incandescent lights become a thing of the past, and energy efficient lighting becomes more of a priority, the fluorescent lights have gained popularity.

Fluorescent lights use much less energy to produce the same light output as any incandescent lamp, and they last many times longer. Plus, improvements in fluorescent lighting technology have turned these lamps into a pleasant source to have around your home or work space. The cost upfront isn’t terribly more than an incandescent, either.

Presently, cost and technology make fluorescent lights and LEDs (light emitting diodes) rivals in the energy efficient lighting market. But it won’t stay that way for long. Lighting experts say that while fluorescent lighting technology has reached its peak, LEDs are still evolving and improving. Even now, manufacturers are coming out with new LED lights that surpass fluorescent technology in many different ways.

Let’s examine how fluorescent light bulbs compare with today’s LED light bulbs:

  • Efficiency: While both light sources are considered efficient, LED lights have pulled ahead. A CFL produces 30-50 lumens or light per watt, while an LED on the market today can produce 60-100+ lumens per watt.
  • Rated Life: LEDs and fluorescent lights also both have long rated lives, but again, LEDs win. A CFL can last between 6,000 and 15,000 hours. An LED can last between 25,000 and 60,000 hours.
  • Mercury: Fluorescent lights contain mercury, and LEDs don’t. While operating fluorescent lights on a daily basis won’t put you in danger, a broken light bulb will expose you to a small amount of this toxic substance.
  • Infrared and UV: LED light bulbs don’t emit infrared or UV radiation in the same direction they emit light, but fluorescent lights do. Thus, LEDs will not damage sensitive material, and they won’t attract bugs. Continue reading »
 Posted by on September 25, 2013 at 3:32 pm
Sep 232013
 

LEd Bedroom Lighting 300x300 Buying LED Light Bulbs (When Youre Used To Xenon)In this post, we’re going to cover how LEDs can replace xenon lights.

Xenon light bulbs are a kind of incandescent lights. If you’re not a dedicated lighting nerd (like yours truly), you’ve probably heard of xenon in reference to car headlights – but they’re also great to use around your living space. They’re great as under cabinet lighting, puck lights, light strips, night lights, and more.

What makes a xenon light bulb different from a regular filament lamp is the small amount of xenon gas inside the glass envelope. The gas helps prolong the life of the light bulb, and makes it more efficient – producing more light with less energy.

Xenon lights also have the upper hand on halogen lights (another type of gas-filled incandescent) in a few different ways. They produce much less heat than halogens, and aren’t as sensitive. You don’t have to worry about touching them with your bare hands – the oils from your skin won’t cause them to fail prematurely.

So overall, xenon lights are pretty great. But they could be better.

While xenon lights are more efficient, longer lasting, more durable, and cooler than halogen and regular incandescent light bulbs, they still don’t beat LEDs. If you want to use lights with the longest rated life, that use the least energy, that are the most durable, and the least hot, it’s time to transition.

You’re probably thinking – what about looks? Sure, an LED looks better on paper, but what if it’s illuminating your counter tops? Xenon lights are notoriously good looking, so you need an LED that can measure up. Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 23, 2013 at 1:08 pm
Sep 202013
 

LED Picture light 300x300 Buying LED Light Bulbs (When Youre Used To Halogen)With LEDs, you have so many possibilities. Earlier this week, we published a post about replacing old incandescent light bulbs with LEDs. But, LED light bulbs are much more versatile than that. Their innovative construction makes them great replacements for almost any kind of light bulb.

In this post, we’ll cover how LEDs can replace halogen light bulbs. 

A halogen light bulb is an incandescent light bulb filled with a halogen gas. This gas within the light bulb’s envelope helps the light last longer and use less energy to produce light. There are certainly good reasons to use halogen light bulbs, but these lights also have their shortcomings.

Before we get into how to replace halogen light bulbs with LEDs, we need to understand the pros and cons of using halogen lights:

Halogen Pros:

  • Color Temperature: Halogen lamps emit crisp, flattering light, only slightly cooler than a regular incandescent’s color temperature. The added blue and green tones make a halogen light bulb appear whiter and brighter than the average incandescent.
  • Rated Life: These lights last longer than incandescent light bulbs. A halogen light’s rated life can range from 8,000-20,000 hours, while an incandescent usually lasts around 1,000-2,000 hours.
  • Efficiency: They’re more efficient than regular incandescent light bulbs, generating about 10-35 lumens per watt, compared to about 8-24 lumens per watt.
  • Color Rendering: Halogen lights have a CRI of 100, which means they render colors perfectly. This makes them great for display lighting, accent lighting, and more.
  • Dimming: These lamps still generate light with a filament, so you can use them with standard dimmer switches.

Halogen Cons: Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 20, 2013 at 11:30 am
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

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