Mar 17, 14
Now that household incandescent bulbs are slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past due to government efficiency standards, many people are being pointed in the direction of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and LEDs as replacements. But you may not know what makes these two incandescent alternatives different from one another, beyond their appearance and pricing. When it comes to CFLs and LEDs, there have a lot more differences than what meets the eye.
Energy Efficiency: While both CFLs and LEDs fall well within the government guidelines of light bulb efficiency, they are not on a level playing field in terms of energy consumption. While a 60-watt equal CFL typically consumes about 13 watts of energy, a 60-watt equal LED will only consume about 8.5 watts. LEDs also produce more lumens per watt than CFLs. Even though they both conserve a considerable amount of energy compared to incandescents, this discrepancy in energy savings, among many other things, is why LEDs are being praised as the ultimate in efficient lighting.
Mercury: As you may already know, CFLs contain a small amount of mercury whereas LEDs do not. This mercury doesn’t necessarily make CFLs more dangerous, considering you’d be able to find more of it in a tuna sandwich, but it does mean you should exercise caution if one breaks. Here’s what to do if you break a CFL bulb.
Life Hours: If you’re trying to make the choice between CFLs and LEDs, you should know the typical life expectancy of each. Bulbs with long rated lives are less likely to need frequent replacement and will drastically reduce maintenance costs. Incandescent bulbs are known to have a short life expectancy of around 1,000 hours. Even though CFLs can last anywhere between 6,000 and 20,000 hours, LEDs are capable of lasting up to 50,000 hours.
Light Directionality: LEDs and CFLs are made to emit light in very different ways. While CFLs are omnidirectional, meaning they emit light in all directions, LEDs emit light in one general direction. The directional beam of an LED can be ideal for applications where focused lighting is needed, such as track or display lighting. However, LEDs can be made omnidirectional using lenses like on standard A19 LEDs.
Durability: We all know that incandescent bulbs have a very fragile filament that is prone to breakage if the bulb isn’t handled with care. CFLs and LEDs don’t use a standard filament, but still vary in their ability to withstand certain conditions, like areas that experience frequent vibrations or jolting. CFLs are considered to be more fragile than LED lighting because very strong vibrations can weaken the electrodes that the lamp uses to produce light. Also, CFLs are mostly constructed of glass and are much more likely to be easily damaged. LEDs are a lot tougher and can withstand rough handling.
Temperature Compatibility: Before making the choice between CFL and LED, you should also think about the temperature of the area in which you are planning to use them. If you’re looking for a light that will do well in cold temperatures, LEDs are the way to go. Conversely, CFLs don’t operate well in freezing temps but do much better in moderate to hot conditions.
On/Off Frequency: CFLs and LEDs also have different reactions to being frequently turned on and off. If you constantly turn a CFL on and off, its rated life is very likely to decrease. However, the rated lives of LEDs aren’t affected by frequent on and off cycling.
Heat Emission: All light sources emit some kind of heat – even LEDs. But the amount of heat CFLs and LEDs produce is drastically different. In LEDs heat is generated in the rear of the lamp where heat sinks minimize its production. Whereas LEDs don’t produce Infrared (IR) or Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, CFLs produce both and can become very hot to the touch if left on for an extended period of time.
Lutron Skylark CFL/LED Dimmer
Dimming Capabilities: If you like having the ability to customize your lighting scheme, you’ll want to think about the dimming capabilities of your lights. CFLs and LEDs are more difficult to dim than incandescent bulbs due to the lack of a filament that generates light. Even though dimmable CFLs and LEDs do exist, they both need specialized dimmer switches in order for them to dim properly. In terms of which lights are easier to control on dimmers, LEDs beat out CFLs by a nose.
Start Times: As we’ve already discussed, LEDs and CFLs create light in very different ways. Their difference in technology is why one takes longer to produce visible light than the other. Even though CFLs are technically instant-on, they have to go through a few steps before the light it produces can become visible, usually taking around 60 seconds to reach full brightness. Some LEDs have a minuscule delay of about 1 second, but there is no delay in reaching full brightness and may be a better choice if you’ve gotten used to the instant-on of incandescent bulbs.
Did we miss anything? Do you have any more questions about energy-efficient lighting options? Let us know in the comments or chat with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest!
In order to help their customers better understand the cost benefits of switching to energy-efficient alternatives, Internet lighting retailer, 1000Bulbs.com, has created their own Energy Savings Calculator to accompany all compact fluorescent and LED lamps on their website. Earlier this year, the last phase-out of general service incandescent bulbs enforced by the Energy and Independence Security Act of 2007 took effect. Due to these incandescent bulbs no longer being produced by manufacturers, the demand for energy-efficient lighting that meets EISA standards is growing rapidly.
Launched in January of 2014, the 1000Bulbs.com Energy Savings Calculator has the ability to show customers everything they need to know about the savings that comes with energy-efficient lighting. By taking the wattage of the individual CFL or LED replacement, the wattage of its incandescent equivalent, the number of bulbs being replaced, and the rate charged per kilowatt-hour, the calculator automatically computes the amount customers can expect to save over the life of a single CFL or LED. As the first online lighting retailer to have a calculator of this kind, 1000Bulbs.com is committed to educating consumers on the many positive aspects of upgrading to energy-efficient lighting.
1000Bulbs Energy Savings Calculator
“We want to make sure that our customers feel confident before making an investment in the products we carry,” says 1000Bulbs.com CEO Kim Pedersen. “Our new Energy Savings Calculator provides the important cost and savings information they need in order to feel that making the switch to energy-efficient lighting is the right choice.”
1000Bulbs.com Energy Savings Calculator Extended
For customers who are looking for more in-depth savings analysis, the calculator can be expanded to show the total kilowatts and kilowatt hours saved per year, the total amount saved on energy costs per year, and the number of months before they can expect a payback on their investment. This Energy Savings/ROI calculator features customizable fields that can be adjusted to accommodate each client’s unique lighting needs and specifications.
Although energy-efficient bulbs are typically more expensive compared to incandescent bulbs, they have been proven to last up to 50 times longer, consuming only a fraction of the energy used by their incandescent counterparts. While it used to take years, it now only takes a matter of months to see payback for the purchase of an energy-efficient bulb. The 1000Bulbs.com Energy Savings Calculator assures customers that the savings incurred over the life of an LED or CFL will more than make up for any initial and future maintenance costs.
About 1000Bulbs.com: 1000Bulbs.com is an award-winning Internet-based lighting retailer. The company offers everything from simple, household light bulbs to cutting-edge specialty lighting systems. Nationally recognized for growth, innovation, and customer satisfaction, 1000Bulbs.com is an influential force in the lighting industry.
Feel free to leave a comment or reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus or LinkedIn!
Jun 21, 13
If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter (if you don’t then you definitely should), you’ll know that we wanted to hear your lighting questions. Well, you talked and we listened. Below, you’ll find a few questions that we picked and answered.
“What’s the safest and easiest way to install driveway lighting?” – Kelli Erholm
We sell hundreds of items to accent your driveway, from rope lights, to landscape bullets, even pathway lights. Want to add a little peace of mind with security lights? We sell those, too. How about adding a touch of sophistication and safety to the steps leading up to your house? Check out our step lights. Even though we provide an extensive amount of bulbs and fixtures at the best prices around, we do not install those bulbs or fixtures. For the safest and easiest way to install driveway lighting, seek the services of a lighting professional.
“Why does it take the energy efficient bulbs so long to get to their maximum lighting potential?” – Penny Jo Eishen Luna
Great question here, Penny. The answer is not such an easy one and is quite technical, actually. Let me first start by saying that LED (light emitting diode) bulbs have virtually no start up time, and the warm up time you speak of primarily exists within the realm of compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. So why does it take CFLs so long to warm up? The short answer: it takes time for the electrical current to heat up the cathodes (filament) to their full brightness. It should be noted, however, that not all CFLs take a frustratingly long time to heat up. Take this 14-watt CFL bulb from TCP for example. This bulb features “insta brite” technology, which brings the bulb to its full brightness, well, instantly.
“Still looking for a cost-effective replacement (hopefully LED) for the 4-foot fluorescent ceiling fixtures.” – Daniel Meyer
Not really a question, but still interesting nonetheless. Well, Daniel, we will carry Plusrite LED replacement tubes to replace the 4-foot fluorescents you were asking about and expect these to arrive sometime in July. However, these aren’t meant for residential use and are recommended for professional installation only, as these bulbs can be dangerous if installed improperly and present challenges such as shunted vs. unshunted tombstones and ballast compatibility. Also, these lamps are directional and aim the light downward, so these are not direct replacements for some standard fluorescent fixtures. However, LED technology is progressing on a daily basis, so it shouldn’t be too long before there’s a residential LED tube.
“How can we realistically compare the color and brightness of CFLs in real world examples?” – Bobby Gwiazdzinski
Well, Bobby, the question you’re asking has to do mainly with color temperature and lumens, both of which are explained in detail in an earlier blog post. However, you would compare different CFLs by these qualities in two ways. First, color temperature. Bulbs with a color temperature of 2700K have a warm white color to them, similar to that of standard incandescents, while bulbs with a higher color temperature have a whiter light, like daylight. Secondly, lumens. The higher the lumen output of a bulb, the brighter the bulb. So as far as comparing is concerned, that’s really a matter of opinion. Find a few bulbs that you want to try, test them out, and see which you like best. If you’re using a 60-watt incandescent, check out this 13-watt CFL.
“How can you tell what kind of light output you get from a fluorescent bulb?” – Assunta Sue Nigro Galeno
Excellent question here, Assunta. If you’re talking about lumens, consider looking into purchasing this light meter. The light meter allows you to test the intensity of light coming from a bulb, which will help you determine if you have too much light or not enough. Now, this particular meter is used to measure the intensity of light coming from grow light reflectors, but it’ll still work for your purposes.
We thank you for submitting your questions. We enjoyed reading all of them and responding to them. If you have any more lighting questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on our Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus accounts!
Apr 26, 13
Do you know what percentage of homes in America utilize energy-efficient bulbs? How is one of America’s largest cities keeping tabs on its energy use? For the answers to these questions and interesting lighting news, read on!
More U.S. Households Using LEDs and CFLs
According to recent data by E Source, the energy efficiency trend is gaining a lot of ground here in the U.S., as more and more households are using compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or light emitting diodes (LED). E Source reports that 87% of households use at least one CFL or LED, while 77% use three or more. What factors decide who uses which type of bulbs and how many of these bulbs are used in households? E Source uncovered some interesting findings. For example:
• The percentage of households using multiple LEDs or CFLs goes up as annual income increases.
• Homeowners are more likely to use multiple LEDs and CFLs than renters.
• Older adults are more likely to use multiple CFLs, while younger adults lean more towards LEDs
Rachel Cooper, research manager at E Source, raises interesting speculation: “These findings lead us to wonder, ‘What would saturation levels look like if these energy-efficient bulbs-particularly LEDs-were more affordable?’”
Philips’ LED Bulb Could Replace Fluorescent Bulbs
LED technology is rapidly advancing, quickly changing the face of energy efficiency by offering longer life hours and considerably reduced electricity usage. LEDs first replaced CFLs, and now they’re replacing… fluorescent bulbs? That’s right. Philips has announced a prototype LED that could save the U.S. billions of dollars annually by replacing fluorescent bulbs. This new bulb only consumes 5 watts of energy, but produces a whopping 200 lumen per watt, far superior to the 100 lumen per watt fluorescents can produce. Philips estimates that with the new LED, the U.S. would save an astounding $12 billion a year while preventing the release of 60 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Philips said it plans to deliver commercial and industrial versions of the bulb to the market by 2015, with consumer products quickly following.
UCLA Publishes Electricity Usage Map
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has created an innovative way for Los Angeles to monitor how it uses electricity, block by block, allowing the city’s planners and Department of Water and Power to develop more finely tuned programs aimed at high energy users or low-income neighborhoods to improve energy efficiency. The map uses census and land use information to show how income levels affect electricity use and the differences between electricity usage of single family, multi-family, and commercial buildings. The map can even give usage projections for high heat days.
Conroe ISD Receives $15,000 to Upgrade Lighting
Conroe Independent School District (CISD), located in Conroe, TX (near Houston) has been recognized by Entergy Texas, Inc. for participating in their SCORE program and rewarded CISD with a $15,000 check to upgrade the district’s lighting. The goal of the SCORE program is to provide energy performance benchmarking, technical assistance, and cash incentives to help schools save energy and money. The $15,000 prize will go a long way for the district’s lighting upgrade, with CISD saving more than $28,000 in annual energy costs, the equivalent of carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of 30 homes for a year
How many energy efficient bulbs do you have in your home? Tell us in the comments below, or on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus!
Ready for barbecues and pool parties, but don’t know how to distinguish your yard for your guests? Here are five outdoor lighting ideas to get you prepped and ready for your summertime fun.
Entertain with a Starry Night
Patio Light Strings
Make every night a starry night with commercial duty patio light strings! With a variety of light strings in different lengths, colors, and socket sizes, the design possibilities are endless. Fasten them to wood beams on your porch or string them across your backyard. Use colored S14 bulbs to give your yard a colorful glow or keep it simple with clear white A15 bulbs for a peaceful, star-like sky. For a DIY project, attach paper lanterns to your patio light strings to give your yard that additional touch of drama.
Add an Electrifying Look
LED Tape Light
Don’t limit yourself to a standard light bulb! Flexible and easy to use, LED tape light has become a popular addition to many homes, accenting windows, door frames, and stairways. It features an adhesive backing for easy installation and comes in a variety of colors, lengths, voltages, and outputs. For use outdoors, make sure it has an IP65 rating. Line the outer edge of pools, windows, and wooden beams to give your backyard an electrifying look!
Light Up Your Landscape
MR16 Landscape Lighting
Are you the person with incredible landscaping, lawn sculptures, and garden statues? Light your landscape with MR16 bulbs! The bulbs come in a myriad of color temperatures, beam angles, and wattages to ensure you get the right effect on your yard. Use warm white bulbs with a 3000K color temperature or less to showcase your statues, and bulbs with a color temperature of 4000K or higher to highlight your elegant lawn sculptures. For added appeal, try colored MR16 bulbs to enhance the look of your lawn ornaments.
Made of wax, these flameless candles have a realistic look, but feature LED bulbs as their light source, removing any possible risks if the candles fall over due to wind or other causes. As a safe alternative around kids and pets, the battery operated candles create a warm atmosphere, perfect for a nighttime aura. Use them as an accent for a patio table or place them around outdoor bar for a warm ambiance. For a unique DIY project, place them in mason jars and hang them in different areas around the yard.
Enjoy Your Picnic
Insect Inn Ultra II
Don’t want pests buzzing around your family barbecue? From yellow incandescent and CFL bulbs to insect control systems, there are many products to reduce the appearance of pests during your time outdoors. The Paraclipse control systems eliminate flies, mosquitos, and other pests by attracting them with a special ultraviolet lighting and trapping them in a sticky, auto advancing cartridge system, allowing you to fully enjoy your time outdoors. For convenience, try the Insect Inn Ultra, a decorative wall mount unit that stays out of the way of you and your guests.
What are some of your favorite outdoor lighting ideas? Let us know in the comments or send us a message on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus!