Kinds of Light Sources and Light Bulbs

The overall performance of any light fixture depends quite considerably around the light source (bulb) utilized. Distinct bulbs produce distinct lighting effects, and a lot of bulbs have extensively varying efficiency. To save energy, choose probably the most effective light bulb which will offer the type of lighting you may need.

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Beginning in mid-2011, the packaging in your preferred light bulbs will alter. Click here to find out more regarding the new concentrate on lumens rather than watts.


One more supply is LUMEN, which stands for Lighting Understanding for a far more Efficient Nation. LUMEN can be a coalition of 40-plus organizations, using a Steering Committee led by the American Lighting Association, the Alliance to Save Power, along with the National Electrical Producers Association. The site,, offers useful guidelines in choosing the correct light bulb for the house.


Lighting Measurement Terminology


Wattage: The amount of electrical energy consumed by a light source

Lumens: The amount of light that a light source produces

Efficacy: Lumens per watt

Foot-candles: The amount of light reaching a subject


Varieties of Bulbs



Incandescent bulbs create light when an electric present passes by means of a filament and causes it to glow. Due to the fact they may be less energy effective than other light sources, they are ideal utilized for activity lighting that demands high levels of brightness.


Starting in 2012, the U.S. Power and Independence Act of 2007 will demand most incandescent bulbs to create the identical amount of light employing much less wattage. Click right here to learn far more.


The forms of incandescent bulbs obtainable contain:


Incandescent Bulbs General service incandescent bulbs are the economical, readily accessible light bulbs that the majority of us consider about when we hear “light bulb.” They generate a warm, yellow-white light which is emitted in all directions and are accessible in either a clear or frosted finish. You will find three basic shapes:


Basic (A)

Globe (G)

Decorative (Flame, teardrop along with other shapes)


Reflectorized Bulbs Reflectorized incandescent bulbs have a reflective coating inside the bulb that directs the light in one particular path as opposed to all about.


Reflector (R) bulbs put approximately double the quantity of light (foot-candles) on the topic as Basic Service (A) of exact same wattage.


Parabolic Reflector (PAR) bulbs handle light more precisely. They produce about 4 times the light of Common Service (A) and are used in recessed and track lighting. Weatherproof casing makes them appropriate for outside spot and flood fixtures.


Tungsten-halogen incandescent bulbs generate a brighter and whiter light than other incandescent bulbs. Additionally they have a longer life and offer far lighter per watt than normal incandescent bulbs, making them a much more efficient option. Halogen bulbs are available in two varieties: line voltage (120 watt) and low voltage (12 volt).


Line Voltage Bulbs Line Voltage (120 volt)


PAR 16, 20, 30 and 38 reflectorized bulbs supply far better beam handle than typical incandescent PAR bulbs. They are offered in many spot and flood beam spreads and are utilized in track, recessed and outdoor spot and floodlights.


T-3 Double-Ended bulbs are available inside a selection of base types and are employed in wall sconces, torchers and outdoor flood lights. The path of the light is controlled by the fixture.


T-4 Single-Ended bulbs are available in each “mini-can” and “bayonet” base varieties and are used in wall sconces, bath brackets, torchers and pendants. The direction of the light is controlled by the fixture.



Low Voltage Low Voltage (12 Volt)


MR8, MR11 and MR16 (mini-reflectors) provide superb beam manage, and their miniature size allows them to be employed in smaller sized track and recessed fixtures. They’re also employed in outdoor landscape accent lighting fixtures.


PAR36 bulbs provide superior beam manage, specifically over extended distances. They’re utilized in track, recessed and outside landscape accent fixtures.


T-4 Bi-Pin bulbs are miniature bulbs employed in pendants, halogen desk lamps and linear, low-voltage track systems. They may be broadly used in cove lighting and under cabinet lighting.


Xenon rigid-loop, festoon and wedge base bulbs possess a white light comparable to that of halogen but have a much longer life rating (some as much as 20,000 hours, a lot like fluorescent) and operate at decrease temperatures than halogen. These miniature bulbs are well-liked for strip, under-cabinet and cove lighting applications.



Fluorescent bulbs generate light when an electric arc passes among cathodes to excite mercury as well as other gases generating radiant power, which is then converted to visible light by a phosphor coating.


They use 1/5 to 1/3 as considerably electrical energy as incandescent with comparable lumen ratings and last up to 20 occasions longer. Compact varieties are used in smaller, trimmer fixtures for example recessed down lights, wall sconces, close-to-ceiling fixtures, and track lights. Screw-in types might be utilized in location of incandescent in standard lamp sockets. Obtainable within a wide spectrum of colors. Warm white tones very best duplicate the color of incandescent.

Today’s fluorescent bulbs come in a wide collection of sizes and can produce warm tones of light equivalent to those of incandescent.


If your fixtures are on a dimming system, appear for fluorescent bulbs labeled “dimmable.”


Because fluorescent bulbs include mercury, it really is critical to dispose of them properly.


Fluorescent Bulbs Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are little fluorescent bulbs that may be employed in most kinds of lighting fixtures. The screw-in varieties may be employed to replace incandescent lamps in common lamp sockets.


T8 bulbs with electronic ballasts are commonly utilized in bigger ceiling fixtures. Because of the electronic ballasts, they turn on immediately and do not hum. They are typically employed in industrial projects and are now being widely used in residential applications.




High-Intensity Discharge (HID) bulbs make light when an arc passes amongst cathodes within a pressurized tube, causing metallic additives to vaporize. They have extended lives and are very energy efficient, but – together with the exception of metal halides – they do not create pleasing light colors. In residential settings, HIDs are most frequently utilized for outdoor safety and region lighting.


There are four types of HIDs:

Metal Halide

High-Pressure Sodium

Low-Pressure Sodium

Mercury Vapor



Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) generate light when voltage is applied to negatively charged semiconductors, causing electrons to combine and produce a unit of light (photon). In easier terms, an LED is actually a chemical chip embedded inside a plastic capsule. Simply because they may be modest, several LEDs are sometimes combined to create a single light bulb.


LED lighting in general is much more effective and longer lasting than any other form of light supply, and it really is getting developed for a lot more and more applications within the property. LEDs are currently well-liked in under-cabinet strips and some forms of down lights.


To ensure that you’re purchasing an LED bulb with very good color high quality and energy efficiency which is as very good or greater than fluorescent bulbs, look for the Energy STAR symbol.