Which Light Bulbs Are Right for Your DFW Home?
Choosing the right light bulbs for your home can make a big difference in your home’s ambiance, energy bill, and safety. How to choose? We’ll walk you through four main types of bulbs: incandescent, halogen, CFLs, and LEDs.
Choosing the right light bulbs for your DFW home can make a big difference, not only in your home’s ambiance, but also in your energy bill and safety. There are four main types of bulbs: incandescent, halogen, compact fluorescent (CFL), and light-emitting diode (LED). Each has advantages and appropriate applications. Here’s a guide for your next light bulb shopping trip.
Bulb Type #1: Incandescent
First put into use in the 1800s, the incandescent light bulb is the most inefficient type of bulb. Over 90 percent of the energy goes to the heat generated to create light. As of 2007, the US created a policy that light bulbs must become 25-30 percent more efficient after 2012. At this point, most manufacturers have moved on to creating more energy-efficient bulbs, but other bulb options exist that are even more efficient. Typically, they give off a warm, yellow light although other colors are available. You can often find incandescent bulbs in lamps, refrigerators, and microwaves — and usually, they can be replaced with more energy-efficient bulbs.
Bulb Type #2: Halogen
Halogen bulbs are also a type of incandescent bulb. Unlike conventional incandescent bulbs, however, they use halogen gas to produce light, and they’re more energy-efficient. Halogen bulbs provide a bright white light, which makes them ideal for task lighting, accents, displays, and under-cabinet lighting. Keep in mind that they’re more expensive than incandescent and can be extremely hot.
Bulb Type #3: CFL
These bulbs are extremely energy-efficient and have a long life span. While their price point is higher than that of their incandescent counterparts, the energy savings for CFLs over their life span more than makes up for the initial expense. CFLs can last up to 10 years. They may have received some negative press due to concerns over the mercury they contain, but they’re deemed safer than the typical mercury thermometer, which contains 125 times more mercury. Be aware that you may need to take certain special steps to handle a broken CFL safely or dispose of a used bulb.
Bulb Type #4: LED
One of the main advantages of LED bulbs is that they’re directional, meaning they direct light in a specific direction (unlike other bulbs which emit light in all directions); this makes them effective for overhead or spot lights. Another advantage to LEDs is that they don’t burn out or fail like other bulbs; they grow gradually dimmer until they no longer illuminate effectively. LEDs are considered “burned out” when their light output is less than 70 percent. While these bulbs can be expensive, they arguably save money in the long run, as they’re more energy-efficient and generally have a much longer life span than other bulbs.
Choosing Light Bulbs for Fixtures
In addition to their energy-efficiency variables, light bulbs come in a wide variety of shapes and color options. When choosing a type of bulb for a particular fixture, make sure the wattage is not outside the maximum range for that appliance and that the base of the bulb is compatible; from there, you can choose the decorative appearance of the bulb itself. For example, if you want something that looks like a traditional incandescent bulb but is more energy-efficient, you can opt for an A-shape CFL bulb. Covered globe bulbs are popular for the bathroom, as well as ceiling fixtures and fans. When choosing light bulbs for outdoor use, be sure to read the packaging carefully to make sure those bulbs are rated to withstand the elements safely.