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Are You Using the Wrong Light Bulb for That Lamp?

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The bulb in your bedside lamp burned out. No worries. Just grab a new one and put it in, right? How many people does it take to change a light bulb, anyway? Well, that depends on what bulb you're using. There are a number of options, and it's important to make sure you've got the correct bulb for your lamp and your space.

The Right Size and Shape

For most household needs, light bulbs in the U.S. are a standard 26mm across at the base. In Europe, they can be 27mm. The real variance, though, is in bulb shape. The wrong shaped bulb might not fit into your light fixture.

The standard light bulb shape is called A, for Arbitrary. There are also candle shapes (C), which are thinner and shaped like a candle flame, globe shapes (G), which are bigger around, and many others. Even though the bases are the same, differences in the size of the bulb itself can make it difficult for some fixtures to fit some types of bulb. For instance, in a lamp designed for a candle bulb, an arbitrary bulb could be too big. Find the bulb that fits best and looks best.

The Right Wattage

How much light do you need in this space? Lamps are generally designed to output a specific range of wattage. If you put a bulb into it that exceeds that wattage, the bulb will burn out more quickly. The overload could even lead to overheating and cause a fire.

Of course, that's if you use incandescent bulbs. Other types of bulbs have now become more common. They provide the same amount of light as incandescent, but the wattage is much lower.

The package will generally still list the equivalent wattage for an incandescent bulb providing the same amount of light. However, the actual light amount is now measured in lumens.

Check the manufacturer's instructions on the lamp to see what kind of bulb they recommend, and perhaps experiment with different bulbs to see how much light you need for a particular space.

The Right Bulb Type

If you're still using incandescent bulbs, it's time to explore other options. A CFL bulb can provide 1600 lumens of light, for 25-30 watts, instead of 100. It also lasts years, rather than months.

The best value, though, is LED bulbs. 1600 lumens use just 15-20 watts, and last 9 years or more. They're more expensive than other bulb types, but the reduced energy usage, plus the amount saved on buying new bulbs, more than makes up for it.

You might also consider implementing smart lighting. It uses LED bulbs, for energy savings and longevity, but it also lets you customize your room's lighting for different situations. Program 1600 lumens to wake you up with your alarm in the morning. Scale down to a gentle 450 as you read in bed at night before going to sleep. You can even experiment with different light colors - all controlled from your mobile device.

Getting the right bulb for your lamp, and the right lighting for your space, will make the room look better, help you function better in it, and save you money and energy. Contact us today for more tips on lighting your home and saving energy!

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