The global market size for light bulbs will reach $32.2 billion by 2021. Have you ever bought a light bulb that didn’t work with your light fixture? This probably happened due to the wide variety of lights bulbs there are on the market.
The wide range of choices for light bulbs include LEDs, CFLs, halogens, and incandescent, and making the right choice can be a little overwhelming. If you know what to look for, it’ll be easier to decide.
What’s the Danger of Choosing the Wrong Bulb?
It’s important to note that light fixtures are designed to carry a maximum wattage rating. If the bulbs installed exceed the grade, there are high chances of overheating the fixture. This could result in serious electrical hazards in your home.
Light fixtures have wire leads attached to the circuit wiring. Overheating generated by the wrong light bulb will cause melting of the insulation on the edges.
Other light fixtures have internal insulation designed to shield the wires from very high temperatures. If the temperatures exceed the limit, damage to the wiring can happen. This heat can be trapped, and cause scorching to the wooden framing members.
This is a potential danger in hard-wired light fixtures mounted on walls or ceilings. It can also happen with plug-in lamps.
What are the Symptoms?
You can detect a faulty connection by a burning odor or scorch marks on the fixture. This is the best indication that you’re exceeding the wattage rating. You need to switch off the light and examine the light fixture when this happens.
If it feels too warm or slightly hot to the touch, that’s a warning sign. Before you replace the bulb with one with a lower wattage, ensure there’s no permanent damage to the fixture already.
Choosing the Right Light Bulb
Most light bulbs on the market have a wattage ranging from 40 to 120 watts. Every bulb has a specific maximum wattage. You need to choose a wattage limit equal or less to the light fixture. Other than the wattage, there are other considerations you should make.
The Shape of the Light Bulbs
The many light bulbs available on the market come in different sizes and shapes. The shape is mostly a function of personal preference. However, some fixtures can only accommodate specific bulb shapes.
The standard bulb used in most U.S. households is an A19 with E26 base. The E means the screw is Edison type, and the 26 refers to the base measurement. The A is the shape of the bulb and refers to the arbitrary form that comes to mind when you think of a bulb.
Other shapes are C for candle and G for globe. The number stands for the bulb size.
How Much Light Do You Need?
After wattage, the next most crucial thing to check is the number of lumens. This is the measure of the amount of light a bulb produces. Note that it’s very different from the amount of energy it consumes.
Most bulbs have a watt equivalent, but it’s best to check the lumens. As a guide, here’s what this means for incandescent bulbs:
- For a bulb with 100 watts, go for 1600 lumens
- For 75 watts, choose 1100 lumens
- For 60 watts, select 800 lumens
- A 40 watts bulb is 450 lumens
If you buy an energy-saving bulb and want brighter light, you can buy one that delivers more lumens. The important thing is to ensure you remain safely within the wattage limit. For example, a 9-watt LED bulb has the same light amount as a 60-watt incandescent bulb.
Choosing the Right White Color
White bulbs come with a color cast. They range from yellow light, which is warm, and specific to traditional incandescent light bulbs. On the other end is the cool, blue light of daylight, with all other colors falling in-between.
Manufacturers refer to them as soft, warm, or daylight, but aren’t standard across the board. Some measurements to help you decide are the degrees measured in Kelvin. Here’s their interpretation:
- 5,000-6,500K are slightly bluish with bright white light
- 3,500-4,000K are neutral and give bright white light
- 3,000-3,200K are somewhat yellow and produce warm light
- 2,700-2,800K are heated and have a yellow light
If you can find smart LED lights that change their color across the white spectrum, they may work well for a specific task. For example, you may want a bright light in the morning and warmer colors at bedtime.
Do You Need to Dim Your Light?
Not all bulbs have the capacity to be dimmed or used in 3-way fixtures. This is mostly true about LED bulbs and compact fluorescent. Check if the package says explicitly that the bulb can be dimmed or is 3-way.
Choosing the Right Bulb
Once you’ve considered the above factors, the list of things to check isn’t over. Above all else, ensure you check the Energy Star label. Those with the label are designed and tested to meet energy efficiency standards.
The label shows the number of lumens, color temperature, energy use, life span, and annual usage cost. With this information, you can easily compare the bulb types. The types of energy-saving bulbs that exist are
- Energy-saving incandescent or halogen with lower wattage
- Compact fluorescents
- LEDs that are the most efficient
- Smart bulbs
If you’re able to estimate the consumption of each type, you’ll save on annual energy costs.
Final Thoughts – Light Fixture
Buying a light bulb isn’t just a matter of picking the first one you come across. There are several considerations to make, one of them being the wattage. Concerning your light fixture, ensure the wattage you pick is less or equal to that of the fixture.
Consider how much light you need where you’ll put the bulb. This will help determine how many lumens you need per bulb. Choose the right color of white for your bulb, and you’re good to go.
Don’t forget that different bulb types vary in all these qualities. Most importantly, check for the Energy Star label. You want to keep your energy consumption as low as possible.
If you have any questions, be sure to reach out to our team.