How Light Bulbs Can Enhance Your Space and Save You Money
Whether you’re shopping for your home or your office, the right light bulbs can help enhance your space and make things work better. They can also save you money on your energy bill.
But how does a fiddly little piece of wire encased in glass manage to illuminate our lives?
What is a light bulb?
The light bulb is a simple device that produces light from electricity. It is used to illuminate dark spaces, show that an electronic device is on and for many other purposes. Billions are in use around the world.
The first light bulbs had carbon filaments until tungsten ones were developed in the 1900’s. These last much longer and produce a brighter light. The light bulbs of today come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to suit any space. They are also available in a large variety of colors. This can be achieved by adding or subtracting dopants to the tungsten filament.
These dopants can be metals such as cobalt or chromium and/or other chemicals that change the color of the light emitted by the filament. In addition to changing the appearance of the light, dopants help reduce the wattage needed to light a room because they make the filament last longer.
Most light bulbs have two metal contacts that connect to the ends of an electrical circuit. The contacts are attached to stiff wires that wrap around a thin metal filament, which sits in the middle of the glass bulb. The filament is usually coiled, which makes it more efficient than a straight filament of the same length and diameter.
Light bulbs are rated for brightness (measured in lumens) and their warmth or coolness, which is determined by the color of the light they emit. The color of the light can high frequency motion Sensor be described as a range from warm yellow to cool blue or white, depending on what is desired for a particular room or situation. This is called the correlated color temperature or CCT.
Incandescent bulbs are the traditional light bulb that most of us think of when we imagine a light fixture. They still provide a bright, warm light and remain a popular choice for many lighting fixtures.
An incandescent light bulb uses a thin filament that is heated by electricity to emit light. This filament is usually made of tungsten, but it may be metal such as nickel or other materials. The filament is contained in an envelope that is typically made of glass. The enclosing bulb is filled with an inert gas that preserves the filament and prevents it from evaporating too quickly.
Most conventional bulbs have a clear glass exterior. Some have a coating of silica powder on the inside of the glass that diffuses the filament’s light, producing a softer glow. Different types of inert gases are used to alter the color and brightness of the emitted light, including halogen.
Most incandescent bulbs are designed to last for about 1,000 hours. They are very fragile and must be handled with care to avoid breaking them or damaging the internal components. They waste a large percentage of their energy as heat, which can damage light fixtures and pose a fire hazard. Because of this, most nations are gradually phasing out incandescent bulbs in favor of more efficient ones such as LED and fluorescents.
Fluorescent bulbs are those long, tubular lights that you might see in many office, commercial and warehouse lighting fixtures. These bulbs use much less energy than their incandescent counterparts and last several times longer. Their initial cost is higher but over time they pay for themselves with significant energy savings.
These light bulbs work by passing electric current through a filament inside a glass tube containing mercury in a partial vacuum. The filament glows when the mercury comes into contact with phosphor coatings, emitting ultraviolet radiation that the phosphors convert to visible light. The glass tubes are available in a wide range of lengths and diameters as well as multiple color temperatures.
The u-shaped fluorescent bulbs that are often found in home lighting fixtures are also known as compact fluorescent lights (CF). They’re similar to the tube-style fluorescents that you might find light bulbs in a business but have one key difference: they don’t require a warm-up period and they have a built in ballast which reduces their power consumption.
CFLs contain small amounts of mercury, so they must be handled carefully to prevent spillage and breakage. They also need to be properly disposed of when they reach the end of their life, which requires closing all doors and windows, shutting down forced-air HVAC systems and methodically picking up each broken bulb and placing them in a sealed container for transport to a hazardous waste facility.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are a type of semiconductor that emits light when an electric current passes through it. The technology is relatively new and has seen major advances in recent years that make it the leading lighting option for homes and businesses. Compared to incandescent and CFL bulbs, LEDs use up to 90% less energy while producing more illumination. They also generate less heat and are more compact than other types of bulbs.
A standard LED bulb lasts ten times longer than an incandescent and produces up to seven times more light per watt. They’re available in a wide range of colors and are used in applications where light and efficiency are key. For example, they are commonly found in digital displays and traffic lights because of their durability and ability to focus light in a targeted direction.
Like incandescent and CFL bulbs, only about 3% of the energy that goes into an LED bulb is converted to light; the rest is wasted as heat. The most efficient LED-based replacement bulbs on the market have an efficacy of up to 150 lm/W, which means they produce as much light as an incandescent bulb with only about half the power consumption.