Light bulbs are necessary items given hardly any thought or consideration until they fail. What’s their cost for replacement and energy efficiency?
The Incandescent Light Bulb
Incandescent light bulbs were the standard since Edison developed the item and it was in use to up to this day. A wire, usually tungsten enveloped in a glass covered vacuum or filled with inert gas, served modern civilization from the late 19th century to the near present. The problem, nearly 95% of the energy used by the bulb is converted to heat, and less than 5% is utilized as light. Usage in the US was to be phased out by 2014.
Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Fluorescent light bulbs are low pressure gas lights filled with mercury-vapor and utilize gas-discharge to produce luminance. Mercury vapor is excited by the passing of electrons through the light and produce short wave ultraviolet light that react with a coating to produce visible light. Coatings are altered to produce multiple colors. The higher the color temperature the closer it becomes to white light or natural outdoor sunlight. Low temperate bulbs tend to be reddish-yellow, while higher temperature lighting is closer to white light. Some color inhibits sight while others are more efficient. Cool white is 4100 K (degrees Kelvin) and is used in most office lighting. Daylight is a bluish-white light rated at between 5000 and 6500 K. Residential light uses warm-white fluorescents and are about 2700 K. From the long straight tubes in commercial building to the “curly-twisty” incandescent replacements compact fluorescent lights (CFL) contribute to the majority lighting of America.
Now the downside, fluorescent lighting requires a ballast of some type. The bulbs are filled with argon gas, and a small amount of mercury. The starting ballast is an electronic device that regulates the voltage passing through the bulb. The ballast provides a high start up voltage and switching to a lower running voltage. Mercury is a poisonous metal that is a liquid at room temperature and results in environmental concerns when discarded and health concerns when broken. The light produced by fluorescence flickers and may have health concerns for epileptics, the autistic and vertigo suffers among others maybe problematic.
LED (Light Emitting Diodes)
LED or light emitting diodes have an initial high entry cost, but a much lower energy consumption increased operational time providing economy over the life of the product. Many LEDs are rated for 10,000 hours of use before failure. LED lighting is the current darling of the conservationists and environmentalists. LEDs can provide 60 watt equivalent light for less than a quarter of the electrical consumption. Up front LEDs are pricey, but last for up to 20 years or more. In a typical life time you may have to replace these bulbs about four to five times. Real cool, literally, they produce very little heat. In warm climates your air conditioning is working against your lighting, especially if you are using incandescent lighting. LED lighting throughout the home can produce significant power savings over the life of the bulb. Today we are phasing out CFL lighting in favor of LED lighting.
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Wattage, lumens and color temperature are used in rating LED lighting. LED lighting is project to grow to $25 Billion industry by 2023, a projected 25% compound growth rate from 2014. Burley Electrical can meet all your lighting and electrical needs. Contact us today!