Note to self: remember to buy more light bulbs.
Light bulbs are one of those things I never remember to get when I'm running errands or on my big bimonthly grocery run. At home, bulbs seem to evaporate and disappear, like socks. Before I know it, the entire package is empty. So I head to the store and I stare at the boxes on the shelf. Fluorescent, LED, and incandescent; oh my. Which ones have I been using? Is that what I really want? Will that work in my kitchen can lights? Help!
No need to panic. Here's a basic guide to light bulb home maintenance and general terminology to help you make the right decision. And bonus, you might even save some energy, which you'll appreciate when you get your next bill.
If you haven't heard, incandescent bulbs (the ones with the filament that Thomas Edison invented) are being phased out and replaced by more energy-efficient options (see below). Specialty bulbs will be available, but you'll probably see standard bulbs continue to disappear in your local stores.
CFL & LED
Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) are the new energy-efficient bulbs. They light up your rooms using a lot less energy, and bulbs can last a decade or more. They come in a wide range of light color options for every room in the house.
What are light color options?
Colors range from warmer white (perfect for bedrooms and living rooms) to bright/cool white (kitchens, workspaces) to daylight (for reading).
- Don't want to commit to one color? Get fancy and check out the Philips Hue personal wireless lighting system.
What about Fluorescent and Halogen bulbs?
Fluorescent bulbs are commonly used in office buildings, and require a ballast. Halogen are similar to incandescent, but use less energy.
Watts & Lumens
When most of us buy bulbs we look at the wattage, which is the amount of energy a bulb uses. Lumens is the amount of light a bulb emits. CFL and LED bulbs use less wattage than incandescent bulbs, but emit the same amount of lumens, hence your lower energy bill.
- Confused about the difference in wattage from incandescent to CFL and LED? Check out this handy chart!
The latest specialty light bulbs can be turned on or off with phone apps. Fancy!
Looking for something a little more stylish and unique to light up your space? Vintage inspired Edison bulbs are all the rage.