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Energy Saving Lamps

Energy Saving Light Bulbs - What Do All Those New Terms Mean?  

There are many different ways to save money around your home, but swapping out your old inefficient light bulbs is certainly one of the easiest. Old style incandescent light bulbs waste as much as 80 percent of the energy they use in giving off heat instead of light. All that wasted energy can really add up, increasing your utility bills and running up your costs month after month.

Replacing incandescent light bulbs with newer CFL and LED models can save you a lot of money and inconvenience. A CFL light bulb can last up to 10 times as long as  an equivalent incandescent, while an LED bulb can keep going 25 times as long. That longer life, combined with the ongoing energy savings, more than makes up for the higher initial purchase price of these new light bulbs.

It is important, however, to understand the terminology surrounding these new technologies. Incandescent light bulbs have been around since the early days of electricity, and most of us are already familiar with how their brightness is measured. We all know what a watt means, but many of us are in the dark about terms like lumens and colour temperature.

Watts vs. Lumens

The difference between watts and lumens is one of the most important to understand. Incandescent light bulbs are sold in specific wattages, and you probably know what wattage to choose for every fixture in your home. Newer light bulb packages make it easier to shop by listing wattage equivalents on their packaging. If you are replacing a 60 watt light bulb, you might find a 10 watt CFL bulb listed as a 60 watt equivalent.

Wattage equivalents are a good start, but they do not tell the whole story. Many people buy CFL light bulbs that are supposed to be the same wattage as the incandescent bulbs they replaced. What they often find is that CFL bulbs are  not as bright as the older ones, due in part to the unique shape and size of the bulb itself.

That is why it is so important to understand the lumens rating. The lumens rating is the true indication of how bright the bulb will be and how much light it will provide. Every light bulb package should include both the wattage equivalent and the number of lumens. Consumers can help themselves by keeping the packages and noting the number of lumens on each bulb they buy. Once they find the perfect bulb, they can record the number of lumens and use that as a guide for future shopping trips.  

Colour Temperature

Colour temperature is another term shoppers will need to become familiar with now that incandescent light bulbs will soon be a thing of the past. colour temperature refers to how soft or harsh the light is.

For instance, a light bulb with a colour temperature of 2700K would be considered a soft white light bulb, while the ones with ratings between 3300K and 5000K would be considered bright white. A higher rating means the light is still warm, but not as soft. Bulbs with higher ratings can provide greater detail, making them good choices for reading at home. Bulbs with a colour temperature above 5000K are designed to mimic white sunlight. These are the brightest and harshest bulbs, and they are best for office work and similar tasks.

Understanding the new terminology surrounding these modern light bulbs can help you save energy without sacrificing comfort. The incandescent light bulb has been around for a long time, and many people have become quite attached to this old technology. Understanding how these newer light bulbs work can make the transition to these energy saving technologies a lot easier.