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Let the Light Shine in Energy Savings for your Home

September 26, 2014
by dmirza



Switching to energy efficient bulbs are a great way to cut back on your energy bill, but there are some things to consider before switching. These considerations include the purpose of the bulb, the shape of the bulb, the color temperature, and any special features that the bulb or switch may have.




Bulb Shape and Type

    • Spiral (CFL) – Spiral bulbs are the most common CFL bulb type. They look a bit like a pig’s tail, but they are about 80% more efficient than an incandescent bulb and fit a traditional lamp socket. Some of these bulbs can be used in dimmers or three-way switches; check the bulbs packaging to be certain of its uses.
    • Covered A-shape (CFL or LED) – Available in both CFL and LED, the A-shape bulb is what most typical incandescent bulbs look like. These new bulbs give the same look and feel, but are all much more efficient.
    • Covered Globe(CFL) – Covered globes use the familiar spiral shape enclosed in a decorative globe casing.
    • Tubes(CFL) – Straight versions of the curly CFL bulbs.
    • Candle (Incandescent) – One of the few incandescent styles still available, candle bulbs are small, so they use less energy than a full size bulb.
    • Reflector Bulbs (LED) – Reflector bulbs can be either indoor or outdoor use, but they give off a lot of light. LED reflector lights use very little electricity (about 20 watts compared to a 100-150 watt incandescent) and provide a lot of directed illumination.
  • Bulb Purpose
    • Spiral – Spiral bulbs are best for lamps with shade over them, since many people prefer the rounded look of the older bulbs.
    • A-shape – A-shape bulbs look like old incandescent bulbs, so they are a perfect match for any lighting fixture that used the old bulb, whether you just prefer the aesthetic or the shape works better than a curly bulb.
    • Covered Globe – In places where the bulb is generally exposed, such as a hallway, closet, or bathroom fixture, covered globes have a decorative, rounded covering the curly bulb underneath.
    • Tubes – Some fixtures use the long fluorescent tubes in bathrooms or kitchens.
    • Candle – Candle bulbs are best for fixtures that are too small to allow for globe or A-shape bulbs.
    • Reflector – For indoor use, they are perfect for accent or track lighting, and for outdoor use, they make excellent security lights.
  • Color Temperature
    • Incandescent bulbs would typically give off a warm, yellowish light. CFL and LED bulbs are now available with different color temperatures to match the needs of the room.
      • Warm – Use a bulb that has a color temperature between 2700-3000K for that warm, yellow hue. These lights are best for living rooms and closets.
      • White – A bulb with a temperature from 3500-4100K gives a bright white color. Use these for track lighting and outdoor lighting.
      • Cool – A color temperature of 5000-6500K gives a bright white light with a tinge of blue. This color is closest to sunlight and is best for patios and kitchens.
  • Special Features
    • Photocells – If you have a light switch that uses photocells to detect ambient light, make sure the bulb you choose works with them. Most CFL do not work with photocells, but LEDs typically do.
    • Dimmer – Unless noted on the packaging, CFLs don’t generally work with dimmers or three-way switches.
    • Motion Sensor – Motion sensor switches don’t work too well with CFLs because the bulb tends to take a few minutes to reach maximum brightness.

Leave them on, or turn them off? – With incandescent and LED bulbs, turn them off as soon as you leave a room to save energy. With CFLs, if you will be gone less than 15 minutes, leave the light on. Constant cycling (turning on and off) of CFLs can drastically shorten their lifespan, causing you to replace them more often.

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