Put Down the Incandescent Lamp, Mr. Edison!

“Put Down the Incandescent Lamp, Mr. Edison!”

If you’re still using Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb (lamp), it’s time to stop! Incandescent lighting worked wonders for a century when electric prices were low and easy-bake ovens were in high demand, however the times have changed. Lucky for us, the change is a small one. In fact, one of the biggest differences between older incandescent bulbs and new fluorescent and light emitting diodes is that YOU won’t have to change out the light as often as you’ve needed to in the past. (Nobody feels like doing that, right?)
So, let’s review the three most common types of lighting found in residential homes and then you can decide for yourself which is the best.

Incandescent:

The incandescent bulb we know today is not so different from the one crafted by men of genius in the late 19th century. Light is produced by sending current through a tungsten filament and heating it to around 4,172 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point it will glow. The heated filament is protected from oxidization by a glass covering which is either filled with an inert gas, or has been evacuated of air.
Of the three main types of lighting you’ll find in residential buildings, incandescents are the most inefficient. In fact, only about 10% of the energy an incandescent bulb uses is converted into visible light. The other 90% comes off as heat. So, incandescents not only use more electricity to produce light, but they actually add to the cooling load of your home making you’re A/C system work harder. Also, did you know a typical incandescent bulb last only 1000 hours? That might seem like a long time, but when the average bulb is used 4 hours a day, you’ll likely need to replace it around its 250th day. If you want to continue using incandescent bulbs, we recommend that you do so only for easy bake ovens, reptile tanks and incubators.
*Production of incandescent bulbs in the United States has been phased out. Only 25 watt bulbs are produced at this time and they will be finished at the end of 2014.

Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL):

Compact Fluorescent Lamps contain argon and mercury vapor housed inside a glass tube you see on the bulb. In the base of the lamp, a ballast is located to control the flow of current (electricity) passing through the vaporous mixture within the glass. As an electric current passes through the gas molecules, they become excited and in turn, produce a ultra-violet light. The ultra-violet light then stimulates the fluorescent coating on the inside of the glass tube producing a visible light for us to use.

CFLs use about 75% less energy than an incandescent lamp to produce the same amount of light. In fact, if every home in the USA swapped just one incandescent light bulb in their house with a CFL, enough energy would be saved in one year to light more than 3 million homes. That is some serious savings! Although the initial cost of a CFL is higher than that of an incandescent ($3-4 for a fluorescent v. .50 cents for incandescent), a CFL bulb will typically save you around $25-35 over the course of its life. This is because a CFL lasts around 10,000 hours as compared to the 1000 hour life of the incandescent.

CFLs also perform much better than they did even five years ago. New ballasts have much quicker start-up times so the days of waiting for the bulb to brighten up are no more. CFLs now work well on dimmer switches, dusk-till-dawn and motion sensors too. CFLs are not perfect though, they do contain trace amounts of mercury. As mentioned in the first paragraph, the mercury vapor housed inside the tube is what assists the bulb to produce visible light. When broken, or after a bulb goes out they need to be disposed of properly. Check with your local Waste Management Office to find out how they’d like you to dispose of the bulb. Or, drop them off at our office and we will dispose of them for you.
Light Emitting Diode (LED):

LEDs are what’s called a “solid-state light” or an SSL.

Rather than emitting light from a vacuum like an incandescent, or from a gas like a CFL, LEDs emit light from a solid piece of matter called a semiconductor. Electrons move around within the semiconductor and produce light. Neato! LEDs are not as new as you might think. They have been around for many years, powering clocks, street signs, Christmas lights, etc. LED use as replacement lighting in residential homes has only taken off in the past few years as a result of decreasing costs of production. A few years ago an LED to replace an incandescent bulb could have cost you anywhere from $60-100, now you can find the same bulbs for $20-40.

LEDs are the most efficient bulb on the market today. 

Not only do they use fewer watts than incandescents and CFLs, but they last longer too. In fact, the average LED lasts between 30,000-50,000 hours. You could literally go 20 years without having to replace a light bulb in your home! Although the initial purchase price of these bulbs is high, they WILL end up saving you money as a result of their long life-span.

Comments

great

nice post

Good post

I am into construction business and having lights at home or other building is part of my work. I found LED lights very useful as they are really energy efficient.

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