How to choose the right energy saving light bulb

Published

Let Helen illuminate you on choosing the right energy compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). Here she covers fitting, wattage, brightness and tone.

Video Transcript:

Hi, I'm Helen from eSpares.

In this video I'm going to show you how to choose the right energy saving light bulbs for your home.

Did you know that from September 2012 manufacturers will no longer be able to sell old style incandescent light bulbs in the UK? Now, this is an old style incandescent bulb, also known as a general lighting system or GLS type bulb.

The reason why they are being phased out is because they are incredibly inefficient. They lose about 90% of their energy as heat rather than light. There are a few different types, like halogen, zenon and LED, but by far the most common are these - they're compact fluorescent lamps or CFLs.

They typically last about ten to fifteen times longer than incandescent bulbs and they use much less energy. The average household can save about £25 a year by changing their incandescent bulbs to CFLs.

So choosing the right incandescent bulb was pretty easy. All you needed to know was the type of fitting and the wattage. Choosing the right CFL is a bit more tricky because there is a lot more terminology. So here’s what you need to know.

Fitting


The first thing to make sure is that you get the right fitting for your CFL, there are two main types of fitting; Bayonet cap and Edison screw. Both come in a complete range of sizes. The most common size of Bayonet cap is 22mm, which is often just known as 'BC'. The most common sizes of Edison screw are the standard Edison screw, which is often just called the 'ES' and the small Edison screw which is often just called the 'SES'.

Now CFLs normally come in this tubular or helix design, but you can get some that are designed to look more like incandescent old style bulbs.

Wattage

Next up is wattage. Now, wattage is a measure of how much power the bulb uses. And with old incandescent bulbs it is also an indicator of how bright the bulb would be, but with CFLs this is no longer the case. It's simply a measure of how energy efficient the bulb is. So you'll find the wattage on the packaging, the lower the number the better. And you'll find an energy efficiency rating, A being the best. You'll also find an indication of how long the bulb will last - a CFL can last up to eight years.

Brightness

Brightness is now measured in lumens - a number typically between 400 and 1400. So to give you an indication, an old 60 watt incandescent bulb is equivalent to approximately 700 lumens, and an old 100W bulb is approximately equivalent to 1400 lumens. Some manufacturers will put the number of lumens on the packaging, whereas others will give you an indication of the brightness by comparing it to an equivalent incandescent light bulb.

Tone

Next up is the tone of the light. Now with old incandescent bulbs they would use different types of glass, such as clear, or frosted, or pearl to give a different feel to the light. With CFLs, different bulbs have different colour temperatures to achieve the same effect. So, colour temperature is measured in Kelvins or K, and the numbers typically go from a few thousand to in excess of five thousand for CFLs. Now the higher the number, the more cold or blue the light is, and the lower the number the more warm or orangey the light is. So this bulb has a colour temperature of 4000K, so it’s a colder light and therefore really good for workspaces. This bulb has a colour temperature of 2700K, so it’s a warmer light and therefore really good for living spaces, like bedrooms.

Lastly, not all CFLs are dimmable, so if you are planning to use dimmer switches make sure to get a dimmer-compatible one.

There you go, that's all you need to know about choosing the right CFL. CFLs and other types of energy saving light bulb are available on the eSpares website.

Thanks for watching.