How To Select The Right Compact Fluorescent Bulb

Bulb1

You may have noticed recently the supply for good old fashioned incandescent bulbs seems to be dwindling.  You might have even heard that they’ve stopped making certain ones beginning this year.  Myself I find it near impossible to locate clear 60W incandescent bulbs but an overwhelming selection of compact fluorescent bulbs abound.  It’s like there’s some grand conspiracy to get you to stop using incandescent bulbs.  Technically there is but it’s not as bad as you think and no they’ve not stopped making incandescent bulbs either; just check out this article from The Verge that debunks all the rumors here.  The problem with switching to compact fluorescents is that nothing seems like an apples to apples swap.  The packaging would lead you believe it’s a pretty straightforward affair by printing bold letters indicating 13W bulbs are 60W replacements and technically they’re right but that’s really where the similarities end.  Buy two different brands and try to mix them within the same light fixture and you’ll see what I mean.  One light is more blue, one is more yellow, and one is brighter.  How do you pick the right one and how do you replace one brand with another?  It really boils down to reading the fine print, literally on the bulb that is.  There’s really three key specifications you want to try and match up closely particularly if you’re mixing different brands of compact flourescents.

Bulb2

The first you already know is wattage.  The package usually takes care of that by spelling out the incandescent equivalent.  The second specification you want to pay attention to is bulb brightness.  This is usually measured in Lumens.  This is easy to follow, simply the higher the number the brighter the bulb.  If you’ve got a fixture with 4 bulbs from Brand A and one burns out and you can only find brand B then you want to try and get this number to match as close as possible.  You will also want to match the color temperature of the bulb.  Color temperature is usually measured in Kelvins or simply ‘K’ as shown in the picture above measured as 2700K.  The lower the number the yellower the hue of the bulb.  The higher the number the bluer the hue becomes.  That’s it.

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