Lighting by far is one of the most important design elements of any room. However, not everyone is up to date on the differences between the various light bulbs available today such as the traditional pear-shaped incandescent bulbs, newer compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and halogen bulbs. Here’s a basic guide on the difference between these three types of light bulbs.
Incandescent Light Bulbs
Currently, incandescent light bulbs are among the most popular of light bulbs, if only due to the fact that they’re cheaper than their fluorescent counterparts.
In an incandescent light bulb, the electricity passes through a tiny wire filament that is encased in a sealed glass bulb. The electricity heats up the filament, resulting in lighting for the room.
Incandescent light bulbs are available in a number of wattages, sizes and shapes. This includes light bulbs that are shaped like flames, globes or twisted candles; as well as the standard pear-shaped light bulb. Furthermore, you can get the bulbs in clear, frosted white or colored in nearly every color of the rainbow.
Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)
Even though the fluorescent light bulb has been around since 1939 (when it was first introduced at the New York World’s Fair, according to Iowa State University) they haven’t been the most popular. Older versions of this light bulb were noisy, creating a buzzing noise and more importantly, took a minute or two before they would come on. Today’s newer screw-in varieties (compact fluorescent bulbs) have only existed since the 1980s.
Fortunately, today, more and more people are realizing the benefits of a fluorescent light bulb over an incandescent light bulb. Though the fluorescent bulbs are more expensive up-front, they use one-fourth of the energy to produce the same amount of light that an incandescent bulb would. Therefore, CFL bulbs will cut down on your electric bill.
Furthermore, when comparing two bulbs (incandescent versus fluorescent,) of the same lighting capacity, the incandescent bulb lasts an average of 750 hours while the fluorescent bulb will last around 10,000 hours.
Halogen Light Bulbs
Halogen light bulbs get their name because they are bulbs that contain small capsules of halogen gas. When the light switch is flipped on, the electricity causes the capsule to heat up and produce a bright white light. However, halogen bulbs are generally not recommended for indoor use as they use more energy than a CFL bulb. Furthermore, this type of light bulb heats up much quicker, becoming much hotter than both incandescent and CFL bulbs, which makes the halogen bulb more of a potential fire hazard, especially when used on table lamps, floor lamps or ceiling lights.
Iowa State University: New Light on Energy Conservation
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US Department of Energy: Lighting Tips