Electrical  /  June 7, 2018

Light Bulb Moment: Tips to Choose the Right Bulb

Gone are the days when you can walk into the store and grab a pack of light bulbs. With such a wide variety now available, it takes a little more work to determine the right brightness, color and type of bulb you need. Ask yourself these questions the next time you need to a buy a new bulb.

How Much Light Do I Need?

In the past, when a bulb burned out, it was fairly simple to pick up a similar watt bulb to replace it. Now, however, consulting the number of lumens a bulb produces rather than its wattage is a better way to choose a replacement for incandescent bulbs. Here’s a basic watts-to-lumens conversion chart to follow when purchasing incandescent bulbs:

  • For 100 watt bulbs, purchase a bulb with 1600 lumens.
  • For 75 watt bulbs, purchase a bulb with 1100 lumens.
  • For 60 watt bulbs, purchase a bulb with 800 lumens.
  • For 40 watt bulbs, purchase a bulb with 450 lumens.

The more lumens, the brighter the bulb will be. If you want to replace your incandescent bulbs with lower wattage LED bulbs, you can get the same amount of light by buying a bulb with more lumens while still safely staying under the maximum wattage for your light fixture.

Soft White? Cool White? Daylight?

All white light bulbs have a certain color temperature, which is measured in Kelvins. The lower the Kelvins, the warmer the light. Here is a general guide to help you determine the best color temperature for each room:

  • Warm white/soft white (2700-3200K). This warm yellow light is perfect for achieving that soft, cozy glow preferred in bedrooms and living rooms.
  • Cool white/bright white (3500-4000K). For a brighter, more vibrant feel in garages, kitchens and bathrooms, a neutral, bright white light is recommended.
  • Daylight (5000-6500K). To get the most amount of light for reading and performing intricate tasks, choose this bright white, slightly bluish light.

Which Type of Bulb Should I Buy?

There are three main types of bulbs available on the market today. Be sure to consider the pros and cons of each before deciding which bulb will work best for your needs.

  • Incandescent. While incandescent bulbs do give off the soft, cozy glow most of us are used to and prefer, they use a lot more energy than other bulbs, and more and more consumers are starting to leave them behind in favor of more energy-efficient options.
  • Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). CFLs are those curly-swirly bulbs that many homeowners switched over to after incandescents started going out of style. CFLs last three times longer than incandescents and use 75% less energy, though on the downside they do contain mercury, which can make disposal a nuisance.
  • LEDs. While equal to the energy efficiency of CFLs, LEDs last three times longer. When they first came into use, they were mainly used for task lighting, as their light was a bit harsh. With continuing advancements, however, they have greatly improved, and you can now find LEDs that cast a warm light similar to incandescents. They are more expensive initially, but considering that they stay cool to the touch, are extremely energy-efficient and last the longest of all the bulbs, LEDs are an excellent investment.

Handyman Connection: Your One Call for Electrical Improvements

While replacing a light bulb doesn’t require an electrical handyman, if you have other electrical issues that need addressed, don’t take matters into your own hands; call a professional. Are you asking yourself, “How do I find an electrician near me for a free estimate?” Don’t worry! All it takes is a quick call to Handyman Connection at 1-800-88-HANDY, and we’ll connect you with an experienced craftsman who can handle all your electrical needs.

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