With the end of incandescent bulb distribution now in the home stretch, it is time to evaluate your choices of lighting your home. When moving away from incandescent bulbs you currently have three choices: Halogen, compact fluorescent (CFL), and light emitting diodes (LED). In energy usage; halogen is highest, CFL’s next, and the most efficient are LED lights.
When you are standing in front of the wall of lights at the local retail shop, keep foremost in your mind these three things:
- the size of the base that you need
- whether or not you are pairing that bulb with a dimmer
- how warm or cool you want the light to appear
The medium base, also known as an A-base is the regular light bulb we all know.
In North America, when Edison made his first light bulbs, he designed this twisted metal screw base. He was in competition with two other manufacturers with different styles of bases. In a short time, Edison’s design won out and the other two went the way of the dodo bird.
The smaller common base is known as a candelabra base, mini-base or night-light base.
It is also good to be aware that imported fixtures with different base styles have been showing up in our stores, and so it is wise when buying a fixture to check the type of base that it uses.
Both CFL’s and LED lights come in both dimmable and non-dimmable so you need to be careful to get the right one. Both are available to suit our current light fixture bases.
The colour of the light is the last thing to consider. Colour temperature or Kelvin (K) temperature – is a scientific term that refers to the “colour” of the white emitted by the bulb or tube. Most lights used in the home fall within a range of 2700K to 4000K. Yellowish-white (“warm white”) lamps, have lower colour temperatures in the 2700K-3000K range. Warm light is more flattering to skin tones, while bluish-white (“cool white”) range from 4000 – 4500K. The higher the colour temperature (K value) the whiter, or more blue, the light will be.
If you like that warm, cozy white pick a bulb with a color of 3000 or lower. If you want better task lighting, choose the word daylight, it will be about 4200 Kelvin; a much cooler, crisper light.
For decoration purposes, warmer lights are preferred when the room is decorated with warm colours such as reds, browns, and oranges, while cool coloured lights (4000K and up) can dramatically enhance the look of rooms where greens, and blues predominate. A mid-range bulb in the 3500K range (“soft white”) is a good compromise when you want a natural white light or have a mix of warm and cool colours in your decorating mix.