What I've Learned About Light Bulbs

California (and the rest of the US) is well into a phase out of incandescent bulbs. If you’ve purchased a light bulb lately you might have noticed that 75 Watt and higher incandescent bulbs are non-existant in the stores. Granted CFL and LED technology is significantly more energy efficient, but with some significant drawbacks:

  1. Cost: Compare a incandescent bulb at a price as low as $0.50/bulb to CFLs approaching $10.00/bulb and LEDs in the $40-$50/bulb range.
  2. Warm-up Time: CFLs take time to start (2-3 minutes). Instant start CFLs are still slow with the fastest in the 30 second territory.
  3. Limited Selection: There just aren’t that many options on the market. For example, show me a 75 Watt equivalent R30 (flood) natural light CFL in instant start. At the moment they don’t exist.

If you are venturing into these new waters here are some things that you will need to familiarize yourself with:

  1. Lumen: This is the actual amount of light that the bulb emits.
  2. Temperature (in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelvin): This is the color of the light.
  3. CRI: The ability for a light to produce real colors.

If you have existing bulbs that you like, figure out their ratings based on the above values. This will be invaluable for you as you try to replicate in a non-incandescent world.