What kind of light bulbs do you have around your house?

binsdAugust 11, 2014

I am just now getting around to switching out our bulbs to CFLS.

I am so confused by all the different types - Bright White - Natural Daylight - Soft White/Warm White.

Members of my family (not living with us) have said our house is really dark (incandescents). When they are over at night, I prefer to use lamps than turning on overhead obnoxious ceiling fan lights. They love their blue light CFLs (natural daylight?).

I bought a couple of natural daylight CFLs today and to me they just look like fluorescent lighting without the buzzing. :)

I guess I just like the look of incandescence but I'd rather conserve.

Is there a happy medium?

Do you use different colors of CFLs depending on the room?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience.

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I have both. I still prefer incandescent though, especially in enclosed fixtures. The CFLs don't last long in those.

I have seen some LED bulbs on tv and am waiting to see if they make it into big box stores to see if they are any good and affordable.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 9:44PM
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I use the soft white cfl's. To me they are the closest to incandescents.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 10:00PM
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I have some soft white CFLs and some soft white LEDs. Both are okay. The soft white CFLs are still a bit bluer than incandescents. It's best to experiment to find what you like. Unfortunately, they are all pretty expensive which is frustrating. I do like the cost savings in my monthly electric bill, but I hate paying $10 for a light bulb.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 10:16PM
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At least in my area, Home Depot sells LED lamps with a 60W-equivalent costing about $10. This may sound like a lot, but it has a 25,000 hour rated life compared to 1,000 to 1,500 for an incandescent, so you'd have to buy a bunch of incandescents to last as long. CFLs last around 10,000 hours, so even there you'd have to replace it once to last as long. So there's savings on lamp replacements, even without getting into the energy savings.

I have had CFLs almost everywhere in my house for years. I'm not bothered by the light, possibly because I chose all may paint colors and finishes under the CFLs, so I never had the shock of the colors looking different when I changed out. I got my first LEDs a few years ago, when they were still bleeding edge and they were okay, but expensive and not quite up to my standards. But about 6 months ago I bought more for my dining room chandelier, and I'm really impressed. I'm really happy with the color and performance so far. I don't have a dimmer, so I haven't been able to evaluate them on that, but I've heard they dim lower than CFLs, but no so dim as an incandescent. But overall, I've been happy and am planning to transition to LEDs throughout.

One of the things that kept me from going 100% CFL in the past was that they don't perform well in the cold, and I don't heat my house much in the winter. At 60 degrees, you can really tell, at least with some CFLs, that they take a while to warm up to full brightness. I'm pleased to say that LEDs don't seem to have this problem.

Anyway, I have the Cree lamps linked below. Contrary to the picture on the website, they have a slightly purple cast when they are off (they look totally normal when lit), so you might not want to use them in fixtures where the bulb is visible.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cree LED lamps at Home Depot

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:54AM
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After trying CFLs in my outdoor fixtures and having multiple failures (and having to repeatedly climb a ladder to install replacements) I finally went with the old school appliance bulbs for those applications. The continual CFL failures essentially robbed me of any savings for years, and, adding insult to injury, they cost an exorbitant amount considering their unreliability.

Indoors, I use fluorescents under lamp shades, which soften the tone, in most locations, but in one older lamp, I find the shadows of the fluorescent squiggles look ugly to me.

I have an incandescent 3-way in an antique lamp that I could not fit a larger CFL into.

I have one LED in a torchiere floor lamp, but even the indirect light it throws is too harsh for me. It would probably be useful when doing close work such as knitting or crochet, though.

My bedroom reading lamp is still incandescent, In the winter, I rely on it for extra warmth after the heat is turned down at night! Additionally, its softer light makes it less likely that it will keep me awake later than I wish.

I use fluorescents in the basement, which seem to improve visibility.

I hope we continue to have all of these choices, because varying applications demand differing lighting.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 2:26AM
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The key for me is to select bulbs, whether CFL or LED (I have both, phasing over to LED), based on "color temperature". I like the yellowish glow of an incandescent, so I choose bulbs with 2700K or 3000K color temp. You'll find the number in the fine print on the bulb packaging, and it's much more precise than phrases like "warm white" or "soft white". Some places, my Home Depot included, have displays demonstrating color temp so you can determine your personal preference.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 7:29AM
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I was also going to say Ikea. I get their LED bulbs, which I like a lot (although, as others have said, not the price! But, supposedly they'll last ten years or more).

I don't like bright light, so I get as low wattage equivalent as I can. Annie's chart is very helpful info.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:15AM
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Wow. Thanks for all the great info. I am going to print some of these charts out so I can take them with me to HD!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:30AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Just remember that the CFLs need to be taken to hazardous waste recycling and not just tossed. It is not responsible to dispose of them any other way.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 12:10PM
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Holly- Kay

I HATE CFLs and it really irritates me that there is enough mercury in them to make you totally clear you home if you break one.

What is the sense of promoting a light bulb that basically involves hazmat procedures if you break one? IMO, someone lobbied and lobbied hard to get those darn CFLs pushed into existence.

I carry LED candlelabra bulbs in my shop and I am changing out all my bulbs in my home and even at cost they are expensive. The information right from the packaging is:
No UV or IR light radiation
High efficiency/eco friendly
Mercury and lead free (to me this is the most important)
Instant on/longer life than CFLs

Brightness 150 lumens
Estimated yearly cost $0.36 Based on three hrs a day @ .11 cents per kwh
Life 22.8 years based on 3 hours per day
This is on a 3 Watt bulb.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 12:54PM
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I have mostly incandescent and a few CFLs and one or two LEDs that I have in some lamps that are on timers. I have generally hated the bright white/blue color of CFLS and LEDS but they have more 2700-3000 bulbs now and they're labeled as such so I'm using a few more. DH hates that the CFLs are slow to light. Some places that is less of an issue than others. In our utility room I have one incandescent and one CFL so you get some light immediately and the other takes a while. Same in our garage. I'm trying to use more CFLs and LEDs but I also bought several cases of incandescent bulbs from Amazon recently so I have inventory when they're no longer available.

I have xenon bulbs in my undercabinet kitchen lights - very similar to halogen but I don't think they get as hot. I love these bulbs. Nice light and I have yet to replace a bulb in nine years and we have these lights on every day during evening hours. I do like that the non-incandescent bulbs don't need to be replaced nearly as often.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:07PM
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I was a self-professed light bulb hoarder protesting all the way to Lowe's to stock up. I ended up returning almost ALL of them after reading the article linked below. I purchased several of the Utilitech Pro Warm White LED bulbs at Lowe's (happened to be on sale) and loved them so much I went and stocked up on those. I've switched over all of our lamps and plan on switching out sconces and overhead lighting soon.

Here is a link that might be useful: Light Bulb article

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:09PM
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This chart helped me. I found the names somewhat confusing/misleading. Now I think of what color do I want (K) and how bright do I want it to be (lumens/watts).

Bought Shiloh polar white cabinets, that I thought were white-white, not creamy.....until the carrera marble (blue grey) countertops were installed. Suddenly they looked creamy white, with a yellow tint. Was horrified I picked the wrong color cabs (or CT).

Put in bulb with high K number, but bright (150w equivalent) and it looks fine. (Thanks to things learned on GW - did not put in low watt bulb & hope no one would notice bad color mix.)

In the bedroom I wanted a warmer light, so selected the lowest K bulb.

Good luck.

This post was edited by mdln on Tue, Aug 12, 14 at 14:05

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:37PM
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Holly- Kay

Mdln you are right on target. I use all very cool white lamps in my shop but in my home I use a warm white.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 2:41PM
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Allison, I really like your progression from incandescent hoarder to LED convert! That article is excellent.

Efficient lighting got a bad name from CFLs which have a lot of disadvantages as are noted here. LEDs are so much better, on all fronts. LED bulbs are well past the 'early adopter' stage, are at Costco, HD, Lowe's etc. The Cree ones that Cawaps linked to are a perfect entree to trying out LEDs.

Awhile back we pledged to buy no more CLFs (we gave up incandescent years ago) and move whole-hog to LEDs. Over time we are slowly swapping bulbs as the CFLs burn out. It has been an improvement in every single fixture that has made the swap, such that I get excited when a CFL burns out because that opens the door to a much better bulb going forward.

I'd encourage folks to take a bit of time to learn about the different types of bulbs and their intended purposes. Now that light bulbs will last for 10 years, it's a commitment and we need to shop carefully! :)

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 3:08PM
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Thank you, Karin. I am glad they finally made something for fair skinned people like me. No fluorescent bulbs! (horrors!)

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 3:59PM
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Thanks cawaps, I'm going to check out those bulbs.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 5:54PM
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Are CFL's still made only overseas, due to the toxic mercury?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 7:54PM
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I tried a couple of florescent bulbs and hated them. Tried LEDs and have been very happy with them. We are in the process of replacing light bulbs with LEDs - except the chandelier candelabra bulbs. Still looking for something decent there, but they aren't on nearly as many hours. We could wait a while for those.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:37PM
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Wow again. Have been reading the posts here tonight about LEDs and I want to kick myself for being so ignorant about the CFL mercury issues!

I'll be slowly switching to LEDs then (which might take me years due to the cost!).

Can I select LEDs based on the chart that mdln posted?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:47PM
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Walmart now has their own store brand of LED, and I'm happy with them. We installed new recessed lighting and a ceiling fan with a light, used all LED floods and a "regular" 60w LED equivalent bulb for the fan.

I don't care for CFLs at all.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 10:12PM
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Wow again. Have been reading the posts here tonight about LEDs and I want to kick myself for being so ignorant about the CFL mercury issues!

The mercury issue in CFLs is overblown, you should probably be more worried about the mercury being spewed into the air by coal fired energy plants

PS, the reason they're manf in China is like any other product...it's cheaper.



This post was edited by chijim on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 1:44

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 1:40AM
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Right on chijim, I was thinking the same thing but did not have time to post during the workday today.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 7:53PM
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I would like to replace the bulb in a table lamp in my living room with a LED bulb.I now use 100 watt incandescent bulb, can someone tell me what to buy in LED for a replacement with about the same amount of light and warmth.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:42PM
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Lyban, are you sure it's 100W? That's really bright for indoor use. There are 100W equivalent LED bulbs but many of them are slightly larger than a traditional incandescent bulb. So if for sure that's the brightness you wanted you'd have to check out the shape of available bulbs and the shape of your lamp.

60W is the typical brightness for indoor bulbs, and in LED that will use around 9 watts instead. Not a bad improvement, eh? In the 60W equivalent there are plenty of options, a nice one is listed below. That one replicates the look and feel of an incandescent bulb, but uses only 15% of the energy of an old school bulb and lasts much, much longer.

A couple of things to keep in mind when you shop for LEDs - look for an omnidirectional bulb which radiates light in all directions. Early LEDs weren't so good at that. (This does not apply to a flood light, which purposely only casts light in one direction.)

Also, watch the sizes. A19 means typical size for a light bulb. Anything other than that and you'd need to check the fit.

Hope that helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Cree, 60W equivalent, soft white, omnidirectional bulb.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 12:17AM
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found ones by Philips & Cree, this is from Amaon

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 12:36AM
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Yes, that one looks very nice. Note the size though, A21, which is slightly larger than the standard A19. It would likely fit, but you'd have to check your fixture.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:00AM
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Karin and mdln.
Thank you very much for that info.
I am using 100 w bulbs now but you are right that I probably should only use 60 . I Love bright rooms.
I will look at the suggestions that you both made.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:28PM
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The terms 'daylight' and 'soft light' etc are too vague. You need to be looking at the kelvin rating. Usually soft light is more yellow and is around 3000 kelvin, while daylight bulbs are more blue'ish and are around 5000-6500 kelvin.

I personally have bought LED bulbs for the fixtures that actually get used a fair amount, because it's usually in those locations where the efficiency will actually pay off at some point. Where as in locations where the bulbs are hardly ever used, being more energy efficient isn't worth the additional up front cost of the bulbs themselves.

I use 6500 kelvin bulbs in the bathrooms and kitchen where I really need to be able to see what I'm doing, and I use 2700k bulbs in the dining room, living room, and bedrooms where I want something that's easier on the eyes and more relaxing.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:14PM
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Lumens = amount of light/bightness of bulb. We used to think in terms of watts (40w vs 100w bulb).

Kelvin = color (low # more warm/red, high # more blue/cool).

To get bright light, warm color light - use a high lumen, low kelvin bulb.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:43PM
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robo (z6a)

I have found for dimmable fixtures that Philips "slim" LED tend to buzz the least.

I am a cfl hater but led bulbs are the best! I've never had one burn out yet and get annoyed when I have to change a leftover incandescent light bulb. .

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 11:18PM
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We're in the process of building a new house, and are using 100% LED, even in decorative fixtures. We have 20 ceiling cans at $27 each=ouch! The old joke about how many people does it take to change a light bulb needs to be updated to, "How much does it COST to change a light bulb?"

So far, I love the warm white LED's. I just hope they live up to the claims of longevity. I've never liked CFL's.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 3:15PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

As far as the danger of cfls being minor, please think about the millions of people who simply toss them in their regular trash as opposed to recycling through your county/city hazardous waste site or by returning them to HD or Lowes who will recycle them. Also, incandescent bulbs result in the release of mercury due to their high power usage as mentioned above in re power plants.

Time to switch everything to LED! I also would love either solar panels or geothermal! Sigh.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 4:49PM
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Are all LED bulbs pretty much the same as far as quality? Can I buy the cheapest one I can find? If not, how would a bad LED differ from a quality LED?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 8:07PM
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That's a good question. They are definitely not all equal. I think I would stick to a well-known brand like Cree or Phillips, or perhaps check reviews on Amazon.

Bad LEDs are not omnidirectional in how they cast light, they get hot, they flicker, they buzz. So there can be drawbacks. I have learned a lot through Amazon reviews.

Good for you MushCreek! I wonder if the old joke about changing a light bulb will make people wonder what you are talking about, as bulbs will be changed less often than presidents. :)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 10:46AM
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Karin_mt - Thank you for that info! I'm going to HD today to make my first LED purchase. I need a flood light, so I'll probably try out the Cree brand first.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 11:32AM
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Yay Msrose! Good for you, I hope you find one that works for you. On floods, be mindful of the angle of the beam. Some are wider and some are narrower and it really depends on what you need. Most of them label the width of the beam on the package. Happy shopping!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 4:42PM
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