Mar 28, 14
When you’re shopping for light bulbs, what are some of things you look for? The number of watts the bulb consumes? The initial lumen output? Most certainly the life hours, right? Well it’s time to add another one to the list: CRI. Never heard of it? Don’t fret; we’ll break it down for you!
What is CRI?
For starters, CRI stands for color rendering index, and it measures the effect a bulb has on the perceived color of objects. Simply put, CRI measures how well a bulb replicates the sun, which has a perfect CRI of 100. Underneath a CRI of 100, colors look exactly like they should: bold, vibrant, striking.
The great thing about CRI is that it’s easy to understand: the higher the CRI, the better colors will look. The lower the CRI, the worse colors will look. A bulb with a CRI of 80 or above is good, and a bulb with a CRI of 90 and above is very good. A CRI below 80 isn’t that all that great, and will make colors look yellow, washed out, and can even change the hue of objects. For example, the lights you see in highway fixtures have a very low CRI, which is a very yellow light which leads to a bad CRI. Subsequently making colors tougher to differentiate.
Choosing the Right CRI
When it comes to residential lighting, you don’t really need bulbs with a very high CRI, especially in places like the living room or the kitchen (bathrooms, vanities, and closets are different since bulbs with a CRI are highly recommended in these areas) since these places mainly just utilize task lighting. For example, if you use BR40 lamps in your recessed lighting fixtures in your living room or kitchen, these bulbs typically have a CRI of around 80, with some bulbs peaking at 85.
However, if you’re displaying family portraits, art, or sports memorabilia, then bulbs with a high CRI, such as this Soraa LED MR16, would make these look even better; the colors would look more stunning and bold. The high CRI of these LEDs create brighter brights and whiter whites, while colors become more vibrant. Places where objects are on display, like art galleries, museums, or jewelry stores, will use bulbs with a very high CRI. You can learn more about Soraa’s LED’s in one of our previous blog posts. http://blog.1000bulbs.com/soraa-led-mr16s-changing-the-face-of-lighting/
So, when is CRI not really an important factor? While that’s purely up to you, you can skate by with low CRI bulbs in places like garages or outdoor lighting. Since there’s not a lot of aesthetic appeal in these areas, whether or not your cherry red Craftsman toolbox looks like Ferrari red doesn’t matter all that much.
Where do you use your bulbs with a high CRI? Let us know in the comments below, or drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, or LinkedIn!
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.
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Feb 11, 14
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s hard not to think about flowers, ribbons, and fun DIY projects. That’s why we’ve combined all three in this simple, fun tutorial on how to make a beautiful LED Flower Arrangement. Ideal for date nights, weddings, and Sunday crafternoons, this light-up floral arrangement is sure to put a smile on any loved one’s face.
For this tutorial, you will need:
• One real or fake flower (we used a plastic rose)
• 6 ft. LED Ribbon purchased at 1000Bulbs.com
• Circle of red sheer fabric
• 2-3 sheets of silver tissue paper
• Silver wire for the bow
• Green wire for stems
• Wire cutters
Create a bow using your LED ribbon. For this example, we did a five-loop bow. This can seem daunting to those that are unfamiliar with making bows. Have no fear, as we show you how to make a pretty and simple bow. What’s great about this ribbon is that it’s dual-sided, wire-edged, lighted, lace-like, and iridescent. It looks nice from both sides, and it is easy to form and hold shapes with. If it takes you a few times to craft a bow and you’re worried about the shape, that’s okay. The ribbon will still look brand new.
Tie a knot around the ends of your ribbon and secure it with your green or silver wire.
Lay the rose on top of the bow and wrap them together with wire.
Take the sheer fabric (it should be in a circle shape with a hole cut out of the middle in an X shape. The X should be about an inch in length) and put the rose through the center. Then fashion the fabric around the stem and the bow.
Use clear scotch tape to fasten the LED battery to the bottom stem of the rose. Make sure that the on/off switch is accessible.
Wrap your tissue paper around the flower, bow, and fabric and secure everything in place with your ribbon. (Use extra sheets of tissue paper or wire if necessary).
That’s it for this tutorial. Have you done any DIY projects with LED ribbons? Share them in the comments below or tell us about it on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest!
Jan 15, 14
There are some definite advantages to renting an apartment or a townhome. If something breaks, you don’t have to pay to have it fixed, and you don’t have to clean the gutters or mow the lawn. However, one big disadvantage of renting is that you may not be able to change out the lighting fixtures as you see fit, and if you can, there’s always a risk of damaging something, and forfeiting your security deposit. So what can you do if your landlord doesn’t want you doing a little lighting makeover? Below are a few simple lighting tips to make the most out of your rented space.
Energy Efficient Lighting: Let’s start with the basics here. We know that the EISA bulb ban officially banned standard 100-watt incandescent bulbs on January 1, 2012,
FlexTec 5050-60-IP20-27K2403 Warm White LED Tape Light
with 75-watt incandescent bulbs following suit on January 1, 2013. The 40 and 60-watt bulbs got the ax this year on January 1 as well. So what does that leave you with? Well, you can either go with CFLs, or their much more efficient alternatives, LEDs. Both will save you stacks of cash compared to incandescent bulbs, but your most efficient option here are the LEDs. While the initial cost of LEDs is considerably higher than incandescents and CFLs, the amount of money you’ll save more than makes up for the initial cost. Plus, you can put the money you save on your energy costs toward your lighting makeover.
Under Cabinet Lighting: The kitchen is one of the most important places to have adequate lighting, not to mention you can add some unique touches with accent lighting.
Since it’s wise to have enough light when you’re using sharp objects to slice and dice, look into under cabinet lighting. If you choose the under cabinet lighting route, you want to make sure your overhead lighting and under cabinet lighting match in color temperature. For example, if your overhead fixture is a cool white (between 4000K and 4100K), then you want to make sure your cabinet lighting matches that color temperature as well. Not only will installing an under cabinet fixture give you more usable light, but it’ll add a touch of refinement as well. If you already have sufficient lighting in your kitchen, check out LED tape light. Amazingly easy to install, LED tape light is an affordable way to add a little flair.
Floor/Table Lamps: Table and floor lamps are simple accessories that have a lot to offer. Not only will they give you more usable light, but they’ll also make your living space a little cozier. Like to curl up with a good book on those rainy days? Try adding a table lamp next to your favorite chair in the living room. Just like table lamps, floor lamps are versatile in that they offer both ambient and task lighting, giving you the freedom to switch between the two as the mood dictates. Looking for something that offers a different feel in terms of ambiance? Try LED candles. Battery operated and made of wax, these candles are much safer than regular candles, but have the same look and feel.
How do you make the most of your rented space? Tell us in the comments below, or give us a shout out on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or Pinterest!