How much heat (or infrared radiation) is emitted by regular, halogen, and compact fluorescent light bulbs?

Because incandescent and halogen bulbs create light through heat, about 90% of the energy they emit is in the form of heat (also called infrared radiation). To reduce the heat emitted by regular incandescent and halogen light bulbs, use a lower watt bulb (like 77 watts instead of 100).

Fluorescent light bulbs use an entirely different method to create light. Both compact fluorescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes contain a gas that, when excited by electricity, hits a coating inside the fluorescent bulb and emits light. (This makes them far more energy efficient than regular incandescent bulbs.) The fluorescent bulbs used in your home emit only around 30% of their energy in heat, making them far cooler.

My incandescent bulbs have been failing earlier than the specified life. Why is this?

Incandescent lamp life can be shortened by vibration or shock and supply voltage swings. If a lightbulb is going to be in an environment where it is exposed to vibration or shock, such as a garage door opener light or ceiling fan, you should try to use a lamp with a stronger filament. GE manufactures lamps specifically for these two applications along with the Survivor vibration-resistant and “Ruff-n-Tuff” rough service lamp.

Another cause of general incandescent lamp failure (other than leaving them on all the time) is high voltage. While utilities usually do a pretty good job of voltage regulation, they sometimes have little control. State regulatory boards allow them certain specified leeway because of anticipated load, local load peaks, and other criteria. The allowable limits are usually in the order of ten percent, which on your nominal house voltage of 230 volts would allow a range from 210 to 260.

Incandescent lamps are very sensitive to voltage. A lamp rated at 230 volts, for example, would only last 1/2 of rated life if subjected to 250 volts, or 1/3 of rating if the average voltage applied were 260 volts.

The first thing you should do is to keep track of how long the worst offenders are lasting. How long are your lamps burning? Be sure not to count the time that they are turned off. Typical incandescent bulbs are rated at 750-1000 hours, meaning approximately 2-1/2 changes per year.

The next step may not be easy. The only way to tell what average voltage your bulbs are experiencing is to attach a recording voltmeter to the circuit you are testing so that it records only when your lights are on. This step should only be accomplished by a licensed electrician. If you determine that you are receiving higher than rated voltage you will need to contact your electric utility to fix it.

What is a halogen bulb?

Halogen is a type of incandescent lamp. It has a tungsten filament just like a regular incandescent that you may use in your home, however the bulb is filled with halogen gas. When an incandescent lamp (one which produces light by heating a tungsten filament) operates, tungsten from the filament is evaporated into the gas of the bulb and deposited on the glass wall. The bulb “burns out” when enough tungsten has evaporated from the filament so that electricity can no longer be conducted across it. The halogen gas in a halogen lamp carries the evaporated tungsten particles back to the filament and re-deposits them. This gives the lamp a longer life than regular A-line incandescent lamps and provides for a cleaner bulb wall for light to shine through.

What should I do if I break a fluorescent bulb?

Puncture resistant gloves are recommended for cleaning up broken glass. After picking up all large fragments, wipe area thoroughly to clean any remaining glass or phosphor residue. If necessary, ventilate area to remove any remaining fine phosphor dust. After handling broken lamps, wash hands and face thoroughly. Incidental exposure to lamp contents is not harmful. The basic phosphor used in the manufacture of fluorescent lamps is a relatively inert phosphate. The small amount of mercury contained in each lamp will not cause any significant amount of airborne mercury, since most of the elemental mercury remains adhered to the phosphor surface. No adverse health effects are expected from exposure to a broken fluorescent tube.

Is it more energy-efficient to turn a lamp off or leave it on?

The question of “turn them off or let them burn” is a common one in lighting. Since there is no surge involved in the starting of any residential bulb, the answer is “if you are not using them, turn them off.” The cost of operating a light bulb is the wattage consumed while lighted thus the general answer is turn them off.

High intensity discharge lamps (rarely found in indoor household applications) and fluorescent lamps have different operating needs. If you have a fluorescent lamp, the general rule is turn the lamp off unless you are going to need it again within fifteen minutes. Frequent cycling, turning on and off for short periods of time such as in a closet application, can reduce the life of a fluorescent lamp.

Can fluorescent lamps be put on a dimmer?

Yes, only if the fluorescent light is using a dimmable ballast. Any time a dimmable ballast is used, a compatible dimming switch needs to be installed. The ballast manufacturer can provide a list of compatible switches, Due to these control gear being manufactured overseas and not in South Africa they are sometimes not readly available from the suppliers.

What is the mean lumen output of a fluorescent lamp, and how is it different from the initial lumens?

Since fluorescent lamps have such a long life compared to incandescent lamps, eventually the brightness (lumen output) of the lamp will begin to decrease.

Because of this, fluorescent lamps have an initial lumen rating and a mean lumen rating. The mean lumen output is measured at 40% of the lamp life.

NOTE: Decorative or colored bulbs do not have a lumen rating since they are not considered a primary source of lights, only decorative.

What are the advantages to using LED luminaires?

LEDs bring several advantages to the lighting industry, including high efficacy and durability, and, with superior life over other lamp sources, their required maintenance is greatly reduced. This translates into energy savings, maintenance savings, and environmental sustainability. There is also the potential for greater optical control (more controllable source), dimming, instant on/off, and reduced rate of lumen depreciation (potential for long application life).

Do I have to replace LEDs?

An LED does not burn out like a standard lamp, so individual diodes do not need to be replaced. Instead, the diodes gradually produce lower output levels over a very long period of time. If one LED fails, it does not produce a complete fixture outage.

Does turning LED lighting on and off reduce lifetime?

No. Unlike incandescent and fluorescent lighting which will fail sooner when switched on and off more often, LED lighting is unaffected by how often it is switched on and off.

If an LED fixture has lower initial lumen output than a traditional HID light, how can LED claim to deliver lumens more efficiently than HID?

When you average delivered lumens over the course of 60,000 hours, you’ll see that LED outperforms a 400-watt MH lamp operated in a horizontal position. (60,000 hours is used for this comparison to show three full life cycles of the HID.)

The MH’s lumen depreciation, as well as optical and ballast losses, quickly reduce output of the HID system. Note that there are three relamps over 60,000 hours.

Conversely, LED has significantly better lumen maintenance and a more efficient driver. Also note that the LED fixture typically doesn’t need relamping from zero to 60,000 hours.

Combine this with Beta’s exclusive NanoOptic and LED outperforms MH over the course of the life of the fixture.

Result: the LED’s average delivered lumens is 74% higher than HID over 60,000 hours.

What is an LED?

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are solid-state lighting components. Each LED consists of a semiconductor diode that emits light when a voltage is applied to it. They have no moving, fragile parts and can last for decades. LEDs can be many times more energy-efficient than light bulbs, depending on the application. LED lighting can save up to 85 percent of the electricity used by incandescent bulbs and up to 50 percent of electricity used by fluorescents.

The electronics industry has used LED technology for several decades as indicator lights for various electronic devices. In more recent years, LED technology has progressed to the point where it is viable for general lighting applications.

Most of the energy emitted from incandescent bulbs is converted to heat instead of light. That’s why you’ll burn yourself if you try to touch an incandescent bulb once it’s turned on. Since LEDs consume significantly less energy, they don’t emit as much heat. That’s why you typically won’t burn yourself if you try to touch an LED light once it’s turned on. LED lights are also designed to last about 50 times longer, which means less ladder-climbing maintenance and less waste.

How efficient are led bulbs compared to incandescent bulbs?

The efficacy of the newer led light bulbs is more than five times higher than comparable incandescent bulbs. In other words, led light bulbs use only about 20% as much electricity to produce the same amount of light. However, because led bulbs direct a larger percentage of light where it is needed, in many applications they are as much as ten times as effective as incandescent bulbs, reducing energy use by 90%.

What do “cool white” and “warm white” mean, and what is CCT?

The Color Correlated Temperature (CCT) is given in the description of each of our white led bulbs. The color (CCT) of our white bulbs ranges from a warm yellow white (2700K) to a cool blue white (7000K).
By comparison, a typical incandescent bulb has a CCT of 2800K. A typical halogen is a bit higher, maybe 3500K. Daylight white is 4500K and a cool white fluorescent is 6000K or more.

The human eye adapts to background light so that even a daylight white bulb will look slightly blue in a room illuminated mainly with incandescent bulbs. Similarly, an incandescent bulb will look very yellow or even orange in midday sunlight.