Showing posts with label Incandescent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Incandescent. Show all posts

May 1, 2015

LED, Lumen, CFL, and CRI

We are now faced with many choices for light bulbs. Prices vary widely for not much difference in light. Here a few things to know about the choices.

First, lumens are the new watts. Watts are power and lumens are light. An old incandescent 60 watts is about 800 lumens of light. The wattage does not matter and most of the comparisons regarding electricity costs are measured over years, so not very consequential in a monthly or annual budget. A 60W incandescent lamp may push 800 lumens, while a CFL only needs 15W and an LED only needs 10W to produce the same lumens. (A 10W incandescent is a night light.) The thing to remember is how bright you want your light to be. Look at lumens below to get the correct amount of light from your new bulbs.

incandescent bulb
watts - lumens
60 - 800
75 - 1,100
100 - 1,600
150 - 2,600

Heat might not seem important, but with a number of lights burning, it adds up, especially during the summer. One heat test - halogen bulb, a type of incandescent bulb, measured 327 degrees. A Cree LED downlight was measured 107 degrees and a Philips Par38 CFL measured 167 degrees. LEDs produce 3.4 btu's/hour, compared to 85 for incandescent bulbs.

Bugs don't fly toward many LEDs, because bugs are attracted to ultraviolet light and most LEDs do not give off this type of light.

LED are rated to last 50,000 hours, while CFLs are rated for 10,000 hours and incandescents are rated for about 1,000 hours.

LED bulbs turn on as quickly as incandescent bulbs and faster than CFLs. LEDs produce roughly the same amount of useful light, but much of that light is focused in one direction. LEDs typically shine up, rather than in all directions like incandescent bulbs. Newer LEDs can be omnidirectional, look for that word on the package.

Some LEDs do not dim well and tend to buzz or sputter when the dimming is at half. Check the package to make sure the bulb will work with a dimmer.

A new term to further confuse us is CRI, because of the number of different light types. It did not make any difference in the past as all lights were the same. CRI is color rendering index. The higher the CRI, the better the color rendering ability. Light sources with a CRI of 90 or higher are excellent at color rendering and should be used for tasks requiring the most accurate color discrimination. CRI is independent of color temperature, but I won't even go there. Too much information.

When considering lighting, I usually think of CFL as meaning 'crap for light'. They take longer to turn on (it typically takes 30 seconds to 3 minutes to complete), need more energy to turn on, contain mercury, may leak UV radiation, do not work well in cold conditions, produce artificial fluorescent color, and are less efficient than LEDs.

Although initial price is still much higher, the price of LEDs is coming down quickly. LEDs are down to $4.97 at Home Depot, a far cry from the old $20 they used to cost. Bottom Line, let your old bulbs burn out before you rush out to buy new "energy savers" the price will likely be cheaper when you are ready to replace. Also, higher lumens are brighter and higher CRI provides better color discrimination.

Dec 27, 2013

Bye Bye Light Bulbs

As we say goodbye to 2013, we also say goodbye to more incandescent light bulb types. On Jan. 1, 2014, the most popular incandescent light bulbs, 40W and 60W will be no more. They join the already gone 75W and 100W incandescent bulbs as their domestic manufacture and import has been legislated away as part of the final phase-out stage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

An estimated 30 percent of informed consumers will be raiding the aisles of local stores, grabbing all of the 40W and 60W bulbs that they can get their hands on to delay the inevitable - and save big bucks in the process. Maybe by the time their final stash is gone the newer bulb prices will have come down from the stratosphere.

Another icon of the late 19th and early 20th centuries likely to become extinct soon is the landline telephone. This will not need to be legislated out, new technology has rendered them mostly unnecessary, even though the new technology has yet to achieve the clarity and dependability of the landline instruments. The number of home landlines in the US is dropping at a rate of 700,000 per month and currently just five percent of people depend solely on copper phone lines.

New Incandescent Light Bulbs

Fear not the demise of all of our incandescent bulbs, here is a place that makes (almost) the same old incandescent light bulbs many know and love. The bulbs are still available after the new law, because the company changed the way the bulbs are made. The new law says that incandescent bulbs for "rough" use are still allowed, so this company complied with the new spec and makes these bulbs for sale at reasonable prices. The web site is here

May 18, 2012

New GE Bulb

First we get the hundred dollar bulb, now we get an over-engineered bulb that requires built in cooling. GE just announced a new LED light bulb replacement for the 100 watt incandescent that uses pulses of air to keep cool. The design comes just as the 100 watt incandescent bulb phase-out is this year, 2012. 

If common bulbs cost a hundred dollars, need to be cooled, or contain mercury they have other deficiencies beside cost. This would be the same as building an iPad that cost five thousand dollars and needs continuous water cooling. GE and Philips must be designing these bulbs in Washington DC. Thomas Edison is likely crying in his grave at the politicians who caused this.

May 4, 2011

Some Illuminating Thoughts

On Jan. 1, 2012, 100-watt incandescent bulbs will start disappearing from store shelves.The front of the new bulb labels will list energy cost and lumens, which can vary widely even for bulbs consuming the same amount of energy or wattage. Lumens already appear on bulb packaging, but we often overlook the fine print.

The back will list the bulb's expected life span, energy consumption and its "light appearance," or color, which is measured on a temperature scale known as Kelvin (K). Lower Kelvin numbers mean the light is more yellow; higher Kelvin numbers mean it's whiter or bluer. The traditional incandescent, which gives off a warm, soft and almost yellowish light, has a temperature of about 2,700 to 3,000K — similar to most halogens. LEDs' temperatures range from 3,300 to 5,000K while CFLs can be quite warm (2,700K), neutral or cold (6,500K).

For kitchens and work spaces, where a brighter and whiter light is desired, look for bulbs marked 3,500 to 4,100K. For a cooler, bluish light akin to daylight, good for reading, look for bulbs with 5,000 to 6,500K.

For CFLs, the back label also notes that the bulbs "contain mercury" which, in high enough doses, can cause tremors, mood swings, headaches and insomnia. (CFLs have, on average, 4 milligrams of mercury, while older thermometers have about 500 milligrams.) No mercury is released unless the bulb breaks. Besides being expensive, I have tried them in my ceiling fans and about one in four burns out within a few months. The new label lists a government website for tips on how to clean up broken pieces and dispose of the bulbs. This is very scary stuff.

Here is a link to a Youtube explaining the new CFL bulbs LINK  This Texas congressman is not happy. If these bulbs are really that good, we would have already bought them and they would not have to be forced on us.

Sep 17, 2010

Lights Out

 The last major GE factory making incandescent light bulbs in the United States is turning out the lights, literally. It is closing this month, marking an exit for a product that began in the 1870s.

It is the result of a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescent bulbs beginning in 2012. Other countries are doing the same. Some stores have announced phasing out incandescents as early as the end of 2010.

Much controversy remains as to whether the high cost of replacement bulbs is really offset by the savings in electricity. Of course, the US does not produce the replacement bulbs, they all come from overseas, so US jobs are leaving with the bulbs. My bet is that LEDs will emerge as the winner over all the others. If you love your ordinary bulbs, stock up, because they will cost more as they become less available.