10/13/11

Choosing a Bulb

Once you make the smart choice to pick an energy-efficient bulb, you need to decide which bulb to buy for different fixtures. Companies are making this easy, by having energy-efficient options for almost every type of scenario.

When you go to the store to buy bulbs, there are some questions you can ask to make energy-efficient bulb buying easier:

Which Bulb Works Best for the Fixtures Around Your Home?

Just like when you purchased traditional bulbs, you need to think about the style that fits in the fixture. For example, recessed cans require different bulbs than floor and table lamps.

You should also be aware of where you place bulbs in and around the house. Be careful when putting bulbs in areas where kids play around and can easily knock them over. Additionally, there are varied options for outdoor versus indoor lights.

Click on the image on the right for an interactive lighting tool. See which bulbs you can place in different fixtures in your home. Plus, use the fun dimmer and color appearance switches to see what the lighting would look like!

What is my Preferred Color Temperature?

Energy-efficient options do not just come in blueish hues; you can choose a light bulb based on whether the light looks “cool” blueish, or “warm” yellowish, or somewhere in between. You can find information about color appearance on the labels of energy-efficient bulbs.

Will the New Energy-Efficient Bulbs Dim?

Halogen incandescents dim in the same way as their inefficient incandescent counterparts; however, using dimmable CFLs and LEDs are necessary in fixtures or lamps requiring dimmer switches. Not every bulb is dimmable, so you should check the bulb's packaging. These special lights work differently than incandescents; dimmable CFLs, for example, maintain light color more consistently than incandescents and dim to 10%-40% of their original brightness.

Will the New Bulbs Work in My Three-Way Lamp?

Three-way CFL bulbs are available for fixtures or lamps that require this feature. You can check the packaging to make sure the bulb is intended for this use. Installing three-way CFLs can require extra effort since they can be slightly larger than their matching incandescents, but they use 1/3 as much energy. This specialty bulb usually comes in the "soft white" color temperature.

More Information On Bulb Comparisons