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Find the Right Light Bulb for Every Room in Your Home

Thinking about replacing all of the light bulbs in your home with LEDs? Before you do, read our blog to find out where LED lights work best, and where you should opt for fluorescent, halogen, and CFL bulbs instead. With all the different light bulb options to choose from, it’s not easy to find the right light bulb for every room in your home. Step into the light with our handy light bulb buying guide.

Source: houselogic.com

Use this chart to quickly compare the different types of lighting available to you:

Source: eiec.org

Use this chart to determine how many lumens you need for the different areas in your home:

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Source: houselogic.com

LED

Light emitting diode (LED) light bulbs have many benefits, including using less power, lasting longer, and not having dangerous ingredients such as mercury. Still, there are some downsides. They are not bright enough for certain applications, have high upfront costs, and might not be compatible with your dimmers.

Where to install LED bulbs:

  • Under Cabinets
  • Steps and Stairways
  • Cove Lighting
  • Landscaping
  • Holiday Lighting

When shopping for LEDs, look for the color that you want. Most people want a yellowish light similar to their old incandescents, but as Philips HUE has shown us, there is a broad spectrum of colors to choose from: purple, blue, green, red, whites, yellows, and nearly everything in between.

Also, make sure that you are choosing the right wattage to replace your incandescent bulbs. Whereas wattage measures electricity, lumens (lm) measure the brightness emitted by a light bulb. To figure out the comparable LED bulb to your incandescent one, use this chart:

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Source: cnet.com

For instance, if you are looking to replace a 60 W incandescent bulb, you only need a 8-12 W LED bulb.

For reviews of some of the best LED bulbs on the market, see this CNET article, “LED there be light: We pick the best bulb upgrades for your buck.”

CFL

Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are more energy efficient and longer lasting than traditional incandescent bulbs. Just make sure you buy the CFL bulb with the Energy Star logo. Instead of heating a filament as in incandescent bulbs, a CFL bulb uses a tube of argon and a small amount of mercury to generate ultraviolet light, which excites the fluorescent coating (phosphor) to generate visible light.

  • CFL use around 75% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs.
  • CFLs last around 10 times as long as incandescents.
  • Unlike fluorescents, CFLs produce a similar light quality as incandescents.
  • CFLs generate much less heat. They may not be as bright in colder weather, however.

Since CFLs have a small amount of mercury in them, make sure you dispose of your bulbs properly. Lowe’s and Home Depot have CFL recycling programs, which make it easy.

If you want to replace your three-way incandescent bulbs with CFLs, you can! Just make sure that you purchase a three-way CFL bulb with low, medium, and high light output. In addition, there are also CFL and LED bulbs that fit a wide variety of sockets, from flame-shaped bulbs to round bathroom vanity bulbs. Shop around and you’ll be able to find what you need.

Where to install CFL bulbs:

  • Table Lamps
  • Drop Bowl Fixtures
  • Living Rooms
  • Media Rooms

Never use CFLs with dimmers or three-way light fixtures unless the bulb is clearly labeled as dimmable.

FLUORESCENT

CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) are a kind of energy-efficient fluorescent lighting, but they are different from tubular fluorescent bulbs. We recommend switching your tubular fluorescent bulbs with energy-efficient LED tube lighting.

Where to install fluorescent bulbs:

  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Garages
  • Closets
  • Laundry Rooms

Remember, fluorescent lights contain mercury and should NEVER be placed in the trash. Go to Lowe’s or Home Depot to recycle your fluorescent tubes and CFLs.

HALOGEN

If you still love your incandescent bulbs and the light they give off, we suggest switching over to halogen incandescent bulbs. They are a little bit more expensive, but use 25% less energy! That means more savings in the long run. They also have a much lower upfront cost than LEDs and CFLs.

Be aware, however, that halogen lights emit high temperatures, sometimes double the temperature of standard incandescents. We recommend switching your incandescent bulbs with LEDs or CFLs, unless you absolutely can’t do without the incandescent glow.

Where to install halogen incandescents:

  • Task Lighting
  • Mood Lighting
  • Highlights

Here are some additional tips for choosing the right light bulb for your home:

1. Test the bulb before buying up the whole store. Buy one, go home and test it out. See if you like it before replacing all of your bulbs.

2. If you don’t want to buy a bulb just to test its light output and warmth, go to a lighting store with a showroom. This way, you can see the different light emissions from different types of bulbs. Just be careful of the salespeople; you may end up walking out with an expensive chandelier!

3. Consult with a lighting professional and you local electrician. The master electricians and lighting architects at Universal Home Experts can help you pick the right lighting fixtures and bulbs for your home, inside and out.

More information on interior and exterior lighting:

  • Landscape Lighting: A Definitive Guide
  • Right the Light: The Importance of Lighting in Your Home
  • Expert Lighting Tips for Every Room of the House
  • Brighten Up Your Home With Natural Light
  • Why You Should Update Your Exterior Lighting
  • Avoid Fraudulent Electrical Work: Hire a Professional
  • Outdoor Lighting Safety Tips
  • 20 Things You Can Do To Save Money This Fall and Winter
  • 10 Home Electrical Safety Mistakes to Avoid
  • Fire Prevention Week | How to Prevent Home Fires
  • Electrical Safety Month: Protect Your Home & Family

Take a look at this article for more information on interior lighting design, different types of bulbs, and a glossary of terms.


Call Universal Home Experts at (713) 364-0226 to get a professional lighting architect to come and install elegant and practical lights for your home. We install recessed lighting and dimmers throughout your home to instantly increase lighting flexibility.

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