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Deciding Which Bulbs Are Best


When it comes to choosing a lightbulb for a fixture in your home or office, it's important to know the ins and outs of your options. Check out David Gray's insights to guide you through the battle of the bulbs.


When most people picture a lightbulb, they probably picture the classic incandescent bulb. This is the most commonly used type of light bulb, and it also tends to be the cheapest. Incandescents produce warm, yellow-toned hues that have an inviting feel. However, in some spaces - such as kitchens, bathrooms or laundry rooms - this tone of light can make the area look dingy. As far as longevity is concerned, incandescent bulbs tend to only last between 700 to 1,000 hours. While they can be used with a dimmer, they are not generally known to be as energy efficient as other options.


Halogen bulbs are a variation of incandescent bulbs, but give off a completely different type of light. Halogens tend to mimic natural daylight, also known as white light, making colors appear sharper. This type of bulb is often used in under-cabinet lighting, pendant lights and in recessed can lighting. Halogen bulbs are slightly more energy efficient compared to incandescent bulbs, but are more expensive. These bulbs are also tricky to change: Never switch out a halogen bulb with bare hands, as even the tiniest amount of oil residue from your skin can react with the bulb and cause it to explode when turned on.


Fluorescent lighting is most often seen in office spaces or large areas such as basements and attics. This is because these bulbs produce expansive light that lasts longer than incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs generally produce flat, cool-blue tones that often come across as harsh. (While this tone is dominant with fluorescents, you can also find warm-toned lights as well.) Fluorescents are also non-dimmable and can be expensive. They produce a distinct, but subtle humming sound as they run, and the bulb's operating life is more affected by the number of times it is switched on and off.


Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) consume a quarter of the energy that incandescent bulbs do and are typically inexpensive. Their lifespan is also impressive, as they tend to last about ten times longer than classic incandescents. Unlike fluorescent lights, CFLs are quiet and feature warmer, color-corrected tones that are more pleasing to the eye. They can be used anywhere you would use a typical incandescent light bulb, but they may take a while to "warm up" and reach full brightness depending on the temperature surrounding the bulb.  However, the biggest problem with CFL bulbs is that they contain trace amounts of mercury, which is harmful to humans. And because they break more easily than other types of bulbs, they pose a risk of mercury exposure and require careful disposal.


LED (light-emitting diode) is a lighting technology that is not only long-lasting, but is also incredibly energy-efficient. LEDs use about 50 percent less energy than CFLs, with a lifespan 25-times longer than an incandescent bulb. Another huge benefit with LEDs is that they do not give off heat as a byproduct. They are hardier than other bulbs, and also come in a broad range of color tones, from blue-white to warm, orange-toned hues. Because they work well in any temperature, you'll also find LED bulbs in use within refrigerators and freezers. While they are more expensive than their counterparts, this type of bulb quickly outworks the up-front cost. LEDs work best within fixtures in kitchens, baths, living/family rooms, and outdoor/porch lighting.

If you need assistance converting fixtures to support different lighting in your home or office, call the professionals at David Gray Electrical. Commercial offices that convert to LED lighting often realize significant savings. To learn more, call (904) 605-8190.