Tips for Choosing Lightbulbs Today

LightLabel1Changing a lightbulb used to be a simple task. You just grabbed a 60 watt incandescent bulb for most tasks and screwed it in to the socket. But incandescent bulbs are being replaced by Compact Fluorescent bulbs and Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs—both of which are more energy efficient and cost efficient.

Once retailers run out of old-fashioned, inefficient incandescent lightbulbs, they will be gone forever and you will have to learn a whole new way to choose a lightbulb. So here are some things you should know that will help you the next time you go to purchase the “new” light bulbs.

Watt—A watt is a measure of electricity, not the brightness of a bulb.

Lumen—A lumen is the amount of visible light a lightbulb generates. The higher the lumen count, the brighter the light output. Lumen output for the same type of lightbulb varies by manufacturer.

An incandescent 60-watt bulb gives off 800 lumens of light. LED bulbs can deliver the same amount of light using as little as 10 watts. If you want even more light, you can bump up to a 23-watt CFL that will give off as much light as an old 100-watt bulb while staying below the 60-watt power maximum of many light fixtures.

Kelvin—Degrees Kelvin measures light color. Lighting can vary in color temperature from 2,000 degrees Kelvin (warm yellowish light) to 9,500 degrees Kelvin (blue cold light). The higher the number, the cooler the light color.

CFLs and LEDs come in different “flavors” or shades of white light. If you want to replicate the old yellowish white light that your incandescent gave off, look for bulbs that are marketed as “soft white” or “warm white.” Conversely, if you prefer the light to have more of a bluish-white color, then select a lamp that is marketed as “daylight.”

As far as cost, it costs $7.88 to use an incandescent lightbulb for one year, compared to $1.71 and $1.58, respectively, to use a CFL and an LED bulb for the same period of time.

Look for bulbs that have the Energy Star logo on them. In addition to being energy efficient, they also meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s rigorous performance requirements and must pass various tests including longevity.

Oak Electric Service is one of southeast Michigan’s leading electrical and renewable energy contractors. Give us a call at (800) 964-7070. We are standing by to answer all of your residential and commercial electrical questions. We will always personally answer your phone call – you will never reach an answering service! Be sure to ask about our “Free Electrical Safety Inspection” with every job. We invite you to visit our website at to learn more about us.

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