Jul 182012
 

Courtesy of EnergySavers.gov

HID lamps offer bright, efficient alternatives to filament lamps like incandescents and halogens. They’re found illuminating parking lots, streets, and indoor arenas, among other commercial, industrial, and outdoor locations. What is an HID lamp, you ask? Read on to find out…

All HID (High Intensity Discharge) lamps produce light by passing electricity through a gas (called an arc discharge) between two electrodes at either end of the lamp’s arc tube. There are four different kinds of HID lamps, each with its own unique properties:

  1. Mercury Vapor is the oldest of the HID lamps, and is on the way out. New federal laws have begun prohibiting the manufacturing and importation of this product. A mercury vapor lamp’s rated life ranges anywhere from 16,000 to 24,000 hours, but with an output of only 25-60 lumens per watt and a poor CRI of 50, there are better choices out there.
  2. Low Pressure Sodium lamps are classified as HID, but lack a compact, high intensity arc. Instead, the long stretched-out arc has more in common with a fluorescent light. Low pressure sodium lamps are the most efficient of HID lamps, producing the most lumens per watt (up to 150 l/w), but their stark yellow color produces extremely poor color rendition (a CRI of 0),  limiting their use to lighting streets, tunnels, and parking lots. They last anywhere from 14,000 to 18,000 hours.
  3. High Pressure Sodium light sources have become increasingly more popular over the years, and with their efficacy of 50-140 lumens per watt, we can see why. Compared to low pressure sodium lamps, these lights produce a slightly less severe yellowish white light, making them a more versatile light source. Their lifetime ranges from 16,000 to 24,000 hours, which makes them a smart choice for most outdoor lighting applications.
  4. Metal Halide lamps have a CRI that ranges from fair to very good (between 65 and 90) – the best color rendering index of the bunch. This high CRI means that metal halide lamps thrive in many applications that require white light with good color rendering – they’re replacing high pressure sodium lamps in some applications and certain MH lamps are even used in retail displays!  The lamp itself is very similar to a mercury vapor lamp, but the added metal halide gas provides a higher light output, more lumens per watt (65-115 l/w), and a better color rendering. The biggest drawback to a metal halide lamp is its rated-life, which is capped at about 20,000 hours. Continue reading »
Jun 282012
 

You depend on it to prevent shaving nicks and makeup mishaps. It wakes you up in the morning; it’s one of the last lights you turn off before bed. Bathroom lighting is crucial to your home. How much thought do you give to your bathroom light bulbs?

We’ve written a couple of posts on bathroom lighting: this one explains a few design tips to enhance the space, and this one advises you not to use recessed downlights over the mirror to avoid the Dracula effect. For those of you who are looking for light bulbs to your bathroom light bar appropriately:

  • The best bathroom lighting emulates sunlight. Heard of G.E. Reveal light bulbs? They have a special coating of an element called neodymium – you’ll see that the light bulbs have a bluish tint when turned off. That neodymium coating helps create something very close to natural, outdoor light.
  • Keep an eye on Color Rendering Index (CRI) – it’s a measure of how accurately your light bulb renders colors. In the bathroom, you want a high CRI. It’s measured on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being sunlight. Anything 85 or above is considered to be very good.
  • Many people don’t think about dimmability in the bathroom, but it’s a very useful feature. Ever felt like you’re blinded by the light first thing in the morning, or wished it didn’t have to be so harsh for late-night trips to the bathroom? If you install a dimmer, you can create those low-light conditions without sacrificing the bright light levels you need the rest of the day.

So, there you have it: For bathroom light bars, look for dimmable, neodymium-coated light bulbs with a high CRI.

Jun 272012
 

Lighted ceiling fans are making their debut today in our “How To Choose Light Bulbs For Your Home” series. (Catch up on our tips for table/floor lamps here, and here for recessed light fixtures).

Ceiling fans with light fixtures are installed for a lot of different reasons. Before you choose light bulbs to go in yours, you need to think about what purpose it serves.

Is it the sole source of light in the entire room? First and foremost, we would recommend remedying that by adding a lamp or two, or perhaps a few recessed lights. Lighting serves multiple purposes in a room, and it’s pretty impossible for one light fixture to do it all.

If that’s not possible, or you’re just not willing to devote more money to your lighting budget at this time, then you’ll need to make sure you can get as much illumination as possible out of the ceiling fan. Take a close look at lumen output of the light bulbs you’re considering – anything less than 800 lumens (the equivalent of a standard 60-watt incandescent light bulb) won’t do it. For more information about lumen output, see here. Continue reading »

Jun 262012
 

This is the second post in a series dedicated to helping you create a home with beautiful lighting by choosing the best light bulbs. Yesterday, we tackled light bulbs for table and floor lamps. Recessed lights are a little more complicated, but once you’ve got the basics down, it’s smooth sailing!

The first thing you’ll need to do is determine which light bulb size your recessed light fixture takes. Here’s what you’ll see among recessed lighting options: BR30, MR11, MR16, PAR16, PAR20, PAR30, PAR38, R20, R30, R40.

Wow. Let’s break that down a little: Continue reading »

Jun 252012
 

Architect Louis Kahn once said, “Just think, that man can claim a slice of the sun.” What a beautiful way to describe lighting!

Of course, choosing light bulbs for your home doesn’t always feel so empowering, because there’s a little bit of leg work to get there. The finished product is what you’re looking for: A room with lighting that’s just right and adaptable to any situation, whether you’re entertaining, relaxing, or working around the house. Do you envision sophisticated light fixtures with dimmer controls, sparkling chandeliers, decorative pendants, or all of the above?

This post is the first in a new series that will help you realize that vision. After all, every light fixture needs a light bulb. We’ll start with the easiest category – table and floor lamps …

Chances are, your household lamps take the classic “A-lamp” shaped light bulb. You have a few options here:

  • You can stick with the tried and true incandescent light bulb, making sure to comply with the maximum wattage specified on the lamp. You’ll get a good amount of light output, but there’s a whole lot of heat that comes with it, and it’s as about as inefficient as you can find. Read on if you want to branch out to something a little more energy bill friendly.
  • The halogen light bulb is ideal for those incandescent lovers out there. It’s actually a type of incandescent – it just has a bit of halogen gas added inside the glass envelope of the lamp to lengthen the lifetime a little. The thing is, halogen lamps still give off a lot of heat, and the strides in efficiency are not very far. Still, halogen A-lamps are good alternatives to standard incandescent lamps. Continue reading »
May 242012
 

There’s a lot more to the cost of a light bulb than the price tag sticker. There’s the impact on your electrical bill, the tally of replacement bulbs you’ll need to buy, and the time you have to factor in for maintenance. Sure, the light bulb in your table lamp may take just a few minutes to replace, but what about your recessed cans that are two stories away from easy access?

We published an infographic on replacing 60 watt light bulbs recently, designed to lay out your options in a reader-friendly format.

Lighting Facts, a program of the U.S. Department of Energy, created the one below, showing the five-year-cost of 100 watt equivalent light bulbs. As you can see, the low purchase cost of an incandescent light bulb doesn’t necessarily pay off in the end:

May 102012
 

It’s hard to mentally make the switch from watts to lumens when you’re thinking about light output. It’s just too easy to think, “I know exactly how much light my old 60-watt incandescent light bulb gives off, and I want something that’s equivalent to that!” Thankfully, modern light bulb packaging often notes which incandescent light bulb you can compare the light output to. (We do this on our light bulb product pages as well).

It’s very handy to have a chart that lays out the conversion for you! We shared one by the Federal Trade Commission last June, but it didn’t include examples of efficient light bulbs to replace the incandescent ones. This one, by Lighting Facts, is straightforward and very informative. Enjoy!

Mar 192012
 

Chances are, you have a few 60 watt frosted incandescent light bulbs in your home – they are very commonly used in table and floor lamps. Here’s the thing: There are other light bulbs out there that last longer, consume less energy, and provide up to 95% of the light output.

Plus, today’s standard 60 watt incandescent light bulbs will be phased out in the near future (January 1 2014, to be exact). We created an infographic laying out your options to replace that light bulb:

When you’re considering cost, take into account the expected lifetime! Paying $25.70 every 23 years for one LED A19 is less expensive than paying $3.25 each year for a Halogen A19. The total for that Halogen A19 light bulb (and all its replacements) adds up to roughly $74.75 over 23 years.

Want to embed this infographic on your own site or blog? Great! Here’s the embed code:

<img src=”http://images.pegasuslighting.com/infographics/replacing-that-60-watt-light-bulb.png” width=”750″ height=”1003″>
<br><br>
<a href=”http://www.pegasuslighting.com/replacing-60-watt-light-bulb.html”> Replacing That 60-Watt Light Bulb: A Cheat Sheet</a> created by <a href=”http://www.pegasuslighting.com”>Pegasus Lighting</a>.

Feb 172012
 

It’s only five months away. T12 fluorescent lamps used to be the standard for commercial lighting systems, but they will soon be totally off the market.

It started back in July 2010, when the U.S. Department of Energy introduced a fluorescent lighting mandate that stopped the production of the magnetic ballasts most commonly used for T12 lamps. And on July 14, 2012, the manufacture and import of most T12 lamps in the U.S. will be halted. After that date, suppliers may sell their remaining inventory, but there will be no more production once the existing stock is depleted.

Now, keep in mind that T12 fluorescent technology is 70 years old. John Philip Bachner of the National Lighting Bureau wrote a fantastic article recently about why they’re being phased out. He challenges facility managers to think of the change as an opportunity rather than a nuisance, and relates a T12 fluorescent lamp to a ’38 Chevy: Both were technological marvels of their eras. You’d think it were strange if someone used a ’38 Chevy for their daily commute, yet millions of T12 fluorescent lamps light U.S. buildings every day.

T12 fluorescent lamps are simply fluorescent tubular light fixtures that are 12/8ths of an inch in diameter. Since the technology of T12 lamps was developed so long ago, it’s leaps and bounds behind in terms of efficiency. T12 lamps can now be replaced by T5 lamps (5/8ths of an inch in diameter) and T8 lamps (8/8ths of an inch in diameter), and building owners will see energy savings as high as 45% per year. Also, there’s a simple payback of just one to three years. Finally, the lighting upgrade will ensure reduced maintenance costs and concerns. Continue reading »

 Posted by on February 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm
Feb 102012
 

There has been some public resistance to EISA 2007 (also known as the “incandescent phase out”) and what it means for light bulbs.

This is arguably the first monumental shift in the way people will light their homes since the early 1900’s, when Edison’s invention replaced gas lamps. It got me to thinking – what was it like when Edison’s incandescent light bulb first hit the market?

I came across an interesting article in Bloomberg and found out that 100 years ago the general public was very reluctant to start using those new fangled incandescent light bulbs in their homes.

In 1910, thirty years after the incandescent light bulb became available, 90 percent of American households were still using gas lamps – and it wasn’t because electrical contractors weren’t available.

The main protests from consumers in the early 20th century were safety, aesthetics, and cost.

The safety concerns in Edison’s time revolved around electricity. An Italian scientist named Luigi Galvani studying muscle contraction in the late 18th century had concluded that “animal electricity” stored in the muscles was the same as the electricity used to power a lamp. Therefore, he claimed adding artificial electricity to your home would have detrimental physical effects. Women wondered if the lights would bring on freckles. There was an idea that the spirit had electrical properties, so people thought that ghosts, hypnotism, and telepathy were all the result of electricity outside of the body. Continue reading »

Sign up to receive each new post delivered directly to your email inbox.