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Monday, December 5, 2011

Cheaper Lighting

Compact fluorescent lamps come in a wide variety of shapes and wattages. Everyone knows that switching from incandescent to CFL's will save on your electric bill. Here is another plus you might not have thought about. Most light fixtures have a maximum wattage listed on the lampholder, usually 60W or 75W, however you can install a 26W CFL (which equals a 100W incandescent) without any problems. The wattage restrictions are based on heat output and the CFL's run much cooler. Therefore you get more light with less heat and lower power consumption. CFL's come in the twisty style or they have a cover that looks like a conventional incandescent, larger floodlight or smaller candelabra . They have different K ratings to give you warm white or cool white or other colors. There is still one drawback though, the CFL's take a moment or two to come on and get to full brightness.

LED's are making huge leaps in the lighting market. These lamps are more expensive than the CFL's but they have a much longer lifespan and use less electricity for the same lumen output. If you compare cost per lumen per total hours, these are actually quite comparable. You spend more up front but you won't need to replace them too often.

Another bonus of the CFL's and the LED's is their resistance to vibrations. A typical incandescent lamp can be damaged by a door slamming and sending vibrations through the structure to the filament. CFL's and LED's do not have filaments. This makes certain applications more attractive, i.e. garage door openers, exterior lighting, etc.

There are still applications where incandescent lamps are better. Some display lighting or where you need a greater range of dimming capabilities. Sometimes you just need the ambience of the incandescent.