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Light Bulbs

There is a whole science behind light bulbs. When choosing light bulbs, keep in mind these features:

  • type of bulb and color of light
  • brightness
  • size, shape, and voltage
  • special features (heat, odor killing, etc.)

Bulbs employ different methods to create light. You can choose from fluorescent, compact fluorescent, halogen, sodium, metal halide, and the plain old incandescent. Each type of bulb has it's unique light color characteristics -- incandescent is yellowish, fluorescent is bluish, halogen is closer to white, etc. The color of a bulb's light is measured in degrees Kelvin with daylight ranging from about 2500 (sunrise and sunset) to 6000 (high noon). Sometimes, more important than the brightness of light is the color since our own perception of color is influenced by the color emitted by the light that illuminates it.

Many people assume a bulb's wattage means it's brightness, but although there is a correlation within a family of bulbs (a 100 watt bulb is brighter than a 60 watt bulb), the wattage actually measures the electricity use. Consequently, a high efficiency bulb will be brighter at the same or lower wattage. The real measure of brightness is "lumens," and so you should use this measure when comparing bulbs.

There's nearly no end to the shape and size of bulbs. When replacing bulbs, make sure you get the right size, shape, and voltage (most common are 120v and 12v).

There are also bug lights designed to illuminate without attracting bugs, black lights for special effects, heat lamps to warm a cold room, plant grow lights to help plants grow indoors, odor-killing bulbs such as the "fresh2," and xenon bulbs for bright light similar to daylight.

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