Different Bulbs: Truths Behind Home Lighting Incandescent, halogen, florescent, and compact florescent (CFL) bulbs are all commonly found in homes across the country. Each of these light bulbs has its own set of pros and cons, and certain bulbs will serve a purpose in different rooms throughout your home. If you're contemplating updating your lighting, or if you simply aren't getting the light you need in certain rooms, here is a breakdown of the aforementioned bulbs and how they can be used in your home. Incandescent The incandescent light bulb is the most commonly used bulb in the household. Part of the reasoning behind this is their relatively low cost. Incandescent bulbs offer a warm, inviting light which complements skin tones. These bulbs tend to last approximately 1,000 hours, and can last even longer if used with a dimmer switch. However, it should be noted that incandescent bulbs aren't very energy-efficient, and if you care about going green in your home, there are better bulb options for you. Halogen Halogen light bulbs are a variation of incandescent bulbs. They are known for their ability to provide "white light," which is the closest we can get to natural daylight. Under halogen light colors appear significantly sharper, and these bulbs can also be paired with a dimmer switch. While halogen bulbs are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, they burn at a much higher temperature and are a more expensive option. However, if you choose to use halogen bulbs in your home, you must handle them with care. Even the smallest amount of oil from your hands can create a "hotspot" on the bulb. This hotspot can lead to increased heat in the area, which can lead to the bulb exploding. Halogen lights are commonly used in recessed cans and under cabinets. Florescent Florescent light bulbs come in a wide array of sizes and variations, though a majority of them are large, rectangular-shaped bulbs that fit into ballasts specifically designed to house the florescent bulbs overhead. Florescent bulb ballasts hold your bulb in place while also regulating how much power the bulb receives. Your florescent bulb will provide you with a cold, flat blue light. This type of light is often considered harsh, and because it attempts to replicate daylight, you cannot use a dimmer switch with these bulbs. These bulbs work well in larger rooms, such as an attic or basement. However, if you are doing a lighting project, you most likely will want to steer clear of florescent light bulbs. CFL One of the most energy-efficient lighting options available is the compact florescent light bulb. CFL bulbs are not equipped with a heating filament to generate light. Rather, these bulbs use electricity to heat mercury vapor within the light bulb in order to produce ultraviolet, and then visible light. According to EnergyStar, CFL light bulbs use about 75% less energy than your traditional incandescent bulb, and they last roughly six times longer. While you'll need to spend a little more up front on compact florescent bulbs, you are guaranteed to make that money back in the long-run.
Lighting accounts for close to 10% of your household energy costs, which can easily reach $150 a year in electricity costs. While this may not seem like a sizable cost, it is more than enough to consider more energy-efficient options. With just a little bit of planning, you can properly light your house and reduce your utility costs. Take control of your lighting today and replace your lighting with a more efficient option. Rachael Jones is a blogger for DIYMother.