How To Choose Light Bulbs For Your Home: Bathroom Light Bars

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.

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How To Choose Light Bulbs For Your Home: Table/Floor Lamps

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. (more…)

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Light Bulbs And Your Wallet – What’s The Damage?

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:

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How To Shop For Light Bulbs, Part 2

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!

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How To Replace a 60W Incandescent Light Bulb: The Ultimate Guide

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=”” width=”750″ height=”1003″>
<a href=””> Replacing That 60-Watt Light Bulb: A Cheat Sheet</a> created by <a href=””>Pegasus Lighting</a>.

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The End of the Road for T12s

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. (more…)

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Protesters of the Incandescent Light Bulb

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. (more…)

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In-The-Know About January 1, 2012

There has been a lot of coverage on this blog about the upcoming incandescent light bulb phaseout. Back in January, I wrote a post titled Are You One of the 36%?, pointing out that only 36% of Americans were aware of the upcoming phaseout. A whopping 64% had heard nothing about the legislation, and 80% did not know that traditional 100-watt light bulbs would no longer be available after January 1, 2012.

The Department of Energy has been hard at work spreading the word, and so have lighting manufacturers and retailers like us.

Well, a new poll from Osram Sylvania found that those efforts have paid off! A majority of Americans (55%) are now aware of the federal legislation.

However, according to the poll, most Americans are still hazy on the details.

Do you feel comfortable about the upcoming changes? Do you have questions? Ask away!

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The Truth About CFLs and Mercury

There is more mercury in one bite of albacore tuna than there is in one CFL.

Yes, CFLs contain mercury. So do laptop computers, TVs, telephones, and tuna fish sandwiches.

On average, CFLs contain 4 milligrams of mercury each (that amount would almost cover the tip of a ballpoint pen). LCD projector TVs, by comparison, contain 500-100 milligrams of mercury. One bite of albacore tuna contains more mercury than a CFL.

Many people think about mercury emissions in a very simplistic manner. (Sure, the mercury in a CFL may be a trace amount, but incandescent light bulbs don’t contain any – which makes incandescent light bulbs better for the environment, right?) (more…)

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My Search for a New Light Bulb

Incandescent Light BulbAs most of us now know, the traditional incandescent light bulb invented over 100 years ago is being phased out over the next couple of years. To learn more about the incandescent phase out, or if you are like “What?!”, make sure to check out our coverage on the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007) – aka “the incandescent phase out”.

Whether or not you agree with the law, and there are plenty of opinions both for and against, it is coming. In fact, the first phase starts this January 2012 when the 100-watt incandescent light bulb will no longer be able to be manufactured or imported. In January 2013 it will be the 75-watt light bulb and in January 2014, the 60-watt and 40-watt light bulbs.

So, knowing this is coming, and knowing that I have a lot of light bulbs in my house that will need to be replaced, including 100-watt ones, I decided to start exploring my options and figured I would share them with you.

What did I learn?

  1. There are options available now.
  2. There is no one option for me. I will be using different technologies based upon my needs and wants.
  3. GE makes a very cool hybrid light bulb which is part halogen and compact fluorescent that I am now using.
  4. There are halogen replacements for incandescent light bulbs…did not know this.
  5. Philips has a very cool, very awesome, somewhat expensive, LED light bulb called AmbientLED. I wish I could afford many of these because they work very, very well.

Now on to the story…


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