Walk into any retail outlet that sells light bulbs and it quickly becomes a confusing array of boxes of different sized light bulbs all promising amazing energy efficiency. Gone are the days of picking up a standard 'one size fits all' incandescent light bulb – now you have to hold what seems like a Ph.D. in light bulb mastery to make perfect sense of it all.
As an electrician in East Nottingham, I receive many phone calls asking for advice on the replacement of light bulbs, so my aim today is to make the job of finding a suitable light bulb a bit easier by pointing out the mistakes that are often made when purchasing them. Choosing the right light bulb is as important for your own comfort as it is for energy efficiency, so it is important to get the right light bulb whether it is for your spare bedroom or your landing.
What can seem like a small box can quickly reveal a larger than life bulb – so much so that it is physically too big to fit inside the light fitting. The best way of overcoming this is to take your old bulb with you so you can compare it. Don't be afraid to open the box to take a look at the physical size of the bulb – the pictures are always much smaller on the boxes!
Another mistake is to get blinded by the light (excuse the pun) when it comes to energy efficiency logos. Always ensure that the brightness output will be enough to see comfortably. A prime example of this is the tempting packaging suggesting that the light bulb only uses 4W of energy. This may sound pretty amazing when compared to the traditional 60W standard light bulb, and ££ signs can flash in your mind as you think of the energy savings you could make. However, once home, you find that your room is very dimly lit as that 4W LED lamp you purchased has the equivalent output of a 25W standard light bulb and is only really suitable for a desk lamp!
What to look for
The first factor is to consider how many lights you have in the room. Light fittings with several light bulbs will not require such a high brightness output as a sole light fitting for example.
The other key consideration is budget. The most energy efficient light bulbs available in todays market is LED. LED is a hot topic in the lighting world at the moment and I was speaking about the benefits of LED lighting to a customer who needed an electrician to power up his home office in Nottingham. LED is fast emerging as the energy efficient product lighting of choice due to the increased controllability, reliability and increased bulb lifetime. It is certainly here to stay.
However LED is also the pricier option and it will cost on average £200 to purchase LED bulbs for a comfortable 3 bedroom home. In comparison, for the same light bulbs in halogen the price would be considerably less but the energy costs significantly higher. Really it is dependant on whether the household budget allows for a 'lump sum' investment of LED lighting in return for the cost savings over the longer term (reduced energy bills and fewer bulb replacements.)
As a starting point I would suggest introducing LED lighting gradually in your home. Start with areas where the lights are used the most such as the kitchen and living room.
Getting the most out of LED – and avoiding the pitfalls
Unfortunately LED lighting is not always the bed of roses it is made out to be. As a result, customers have been duped into purchasing LED bulbs that are not up to the quality and specification required in the UK. As with all success stories, counterfeiters are also active in the supply of LED bulbs.
As an electrician in Nottingham, I have been in contact with disgruntled users of LED bulbs and often the reason is based around either:
The wrong bulb in the wrong type of fitting
As electricians in East Nottingham, we are always upfront to our customers on what they can expect from their new lighting. This is why I work closely with all our customers on ensuring their new lighting will offer what they are looking for in terms of light output and cost savings. Whether it is simply lamp replacements on existing fittings, new kitchen lighting or a full home lighting refit, it is important that you know what to expect in terms of energy consumption from a range of different fittings. Often customers are taken by surprise when they realise that a light fitting with multiple bulbs will cost more in energy than a single bulb (or lamp.)
An disreputable bulb supplier
Unfortunately there is a huge difference in performance between LED light bulbs purchased from a reputable trusted supplier as against an unknown one. Here at Stator Electrical Solutions, I am always happy to purchase and fit the correct light bulbs to your existing lighting which can often prove to be more cost effective than sourcing them and fitting them yourself. Naturally the light bulbs I supply and fit will be suitable for use, generates acceptable light for the intended use and with the lifetime rating expected. In basic terms, it will do what it says on the tin!
Energy lighting is here to stay
The disappearance of the traditional light bulb is still lamented in many households in the UK. In 2012, the light went out forever on the traditional light bulb after more than 100 years of lighting the nation. They are no longer available anywhere for sale so your future light bulb needs will need to become energy efficient choices whether or not you opt for LED.
Understanding your lighting needs before you hit the shops will help greatly when you next encounter those bewildering rows of light bulb boxes...and maybe they will not seem quite so bewildering after all!