A bulb’s efficiency refers to the measure of electrical energy consumed, watts, in relation to the quantity of light produced, lumens. The more energy it consumes the higher the electricity bill. An efficient bulb utilizes less electrical energy, watts but produces higher amount light, lumen. In turn, it saves you from paying huge electrical bills.
To answer the question of night bulbs’ efficiency, let’s dig deeper into the principle of their operation.
How Different Types of Bulbs Works
1. Incandescent bulbs
These are the traditional bulbs which give warm appealing lights. They exist in varieties that give different sheds of colors. They consist of a filament, inert gas and coated glass. The filament is of a high resistive element usually tungsten or carbon. In addition, it posses the high melting point. As electricity is passed through the highly resistive filament, it glows and thus heat’s produced.
Since the filament glows at high temperature, eventually it gets thinner at some point before burning out.
Unfortunately, the traditional bulb is the most inefficient of all bulbs. Usually, it converts about 90% of the electrical energy consumed into heat. That means only 10 percent is channeled into the light. Their efficiency ranges from about 4 to 24 lumens per watt.
Due to their low efficiency, most countries are discouraging their use and passing regulations prohibiting their use.
2. Halogen bulbs
Halogen bulbs also rely on the resistive filament to produce light. The highly resistive element is heated to glow and emit light. Remember according to that principle, the more heated it is the more light it produces. Hence these bulbs employ halogen or krypton gas.
The combination of the tungsten and the gas causes a reaction which permits the filament to achieve even higher temperatures. That allows the lamp to produce a brighter light. The halogen gas also prolongs the filament’s lifespan.
When compared to incandescent bulbs, halogen types are more efficient. In addition, they are twice as durable as the traditional bulb. Although they have improved efficiency, they still produce more heat. For instance, a 300W halogen bulb may attain a high temperature as much as 300oC.
However improved halogen incandescent bulbs are coming up though still can’t match the efficiency of LEDs or CFLs. Halogen incandescent bulbs consume about 25 to 30 percent less electrical energy than the incandescent bulbs.
3. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
These bulbs are easily identified by the curly or spiraled glass tubes. Inside the tubes is mercury vapor. To produce the light, an electric charge is produced which excites the mercury vapor. That, in turn, produces the invisible UV light. When the UV light hits the phosphorus coated glass tubes, the visible light is produced.
CFLs are the most efficient bulbs second to LEDs. Their operation does not involve heating the filament. As a result, very little amount of heat is produced. When compared to the standard old-school bulb they last about 7 times longer. Switching from the incandescent bulbs to CFLs will see you reduce your electricity bill by about 80%.
Like fluorescent, LED bulbs do not rely on heating an element to generate light. Instead, it uses the semiconductor technology to give out the light. In addition they have the longer lifespan; even up to 46 years; based on the assumption that you use them for about three hours a day.
Based on their principle of operation, the lights emit minimal heat. Compared to all types of alights, they are the most efficient designs. Given their high lumen per watt ratio and the longer lifespan they are the most preferred types of bulbs. A LED bulb will consume just about 20 to 25 percent of an incandescent bulb yet give the same amount of light. Better still; LED bulbs last about 8 times longer than incandescent types.
How to Replace Bulbs
After some time, your bulb may burn out hence you have to replace. So now what’re the correct steps on how to replace a bulb?
Remember most bulbs used in home lighting uses the mains electricity. So you have to be cautious.
Replacing the Fluorescent Tube
- First cut off the power flowing to the bulb.
- Next, if the tube had been on for a while, it could be warm. So give it some time to cool down so that it is safe to hold.
- When the tube has cooled down, grasp it at both ends with your hands. Then gently rotate it at about half a turn. You can rotate it in either direction.
- Looking at both ends, you should be able to see some pins in the fixture’s slot. If so, gently pull out the tube from the holder.
- Check for the labeling on the tube for instance wattage (W), and then choose a replacement tube of the same specifications.
- Carefully hold the replacement tube and then align the connection pins to the socket of the fixture at both ends. Then slide the pin into their respective sockets.
- When the second pin has slid into the socket, turn the tube gently upwards, about a quarter turn.
Changing the screw type bulb
- First and foremost, switch off the electricity flowing to the lamp
- Give it around five minutes to cool down
- Use one hand to hold the base of the bulb next to its socket, and the other hand holding the socket onto which the bulb is fixed.
- That should stop the socket from rotating and hence disrupting the electrical connection.
- Then gently rotate the bulb in the anticlockwise direction, applying a little more force if it’s stuck.
Note: Do not turn the bulb while holding onto the glass; it will surely break into your hands.
So of all the types of lamps, LEDs have the lowest power consumption followed by fluorescent types.
However LED bulbs may be expensive for some people.
The next best alternative then is the compact fluorescent bulbs.
You can start saving on your electricity bill by choosing the most efficient bulbs today.