ET THERE BE LIGHT! DIDyou know that there are thousands of different kinds of light bulbs? There are light bulbs that flicker like a candle, light bulbs that can lower your monthly electric bill and light bulbs that can help cure the winter blues.
Now that the days have grown shorter and darkness has the upper hand over daylight, why not brighten your home with a few different types of light bulbs?
Mike Madej, of Bermann Electric Company in Boardman, said light bulbs can be divided into three categories: Incandescent, fluorescent and high intensity discharge.
Within those three categories are several subcategories and numerous variations, but here's a synopsis of some of the most common.
The very first light bulb was incandescent, and incandescent bulbs are the basic, all-purpose bulbs most folks buy at the grocery store and use throughout their homes.
However, not all incandescent bulbs are ordinary.
Some of the special types include:
UColored incandescent bulbs. These bulbs create mood lighting and come in a rainbow of shades, everything from pink to yellow to blue.
UFull spectrum bulbs. Full spectrum bulbs can be incandescent or fluorescent. They produce a clear, bright, beautiful white light that lacks yellow pigment and is similar to natural sunlight. Doctors recommend full spectrum bulbs to help treat seasonal defective disorders and reduce eyestrain. Madej said the pure, bright light emitted by these bulbs helps objects appear sharper to people who are suffering from macular degeneration. Full spectrum bulbs also reduce glare and produce pure, vivid colors in the objects they illuminate.
UHalogen and quartz bulbs. An offshoot of full spectrum bulbs, halogen and quartz bulbs also provide intense, pure, white light, but on a smaller scale. Madej recommends these types of bulbs to illuminate small spaces where just a burst of bright light is desired. Halogen and quartz bulbs are often used in flood, track and spotlighting. Halogen bulbs produce the most heat of all of the incandescent bulbs.
URope lights. Tiny incandescent bulbs enclosed within plastic roping, these bulbs add flair to dreary places and hard-to-reach spaces.
UChandelier light bulbs. These incandescent bulbs are used in chandeliers and have either a standard-sized or candelabra-sized base. Homeowners can choose from chandelier bulbs that appear to flicker like a flame or bulbs that emit a soft glow through a delicate wall of frosted glass.
UGlobe bulbs. Globe bulbs make a bold, movie star statement when lining a bathroom mirror or vanity mirror.
UShatterproof bulbs. Although they might look like ordinary incandescent light bulbs, shatterproof bulbs have a special coating that will contain dangerous shards of glass should the bulb break. Shatterproof bulbs work well in food preparation and storage areas or inside appliances, such as popcorn and pretzel machines.
Fluorescent bulbs started out in commercial spaces but because of their energy efficiency, they have gradually become mainstays in the home (they're 75 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs).
Madej said that though one or two fluorescent bulbs won't cause a tremendous reduction in your monthly energy bill, a house full of fluorescents will.
"In California, it's mandated that homeowners use compact fluorescent bulbs as much as possible to save on energy," he said.
Fluorescent bulbs also produce less heat than incandescent bulbs.
Madej said one downside to fluorescents is that since they burn out gradually and over time, the quality of light they produce degenerates.
"An incandescent bulb burns with the same intensity until the moment it burns out, but a fluorescent bulb loses that intensity each time it's turned on," Madej said.
That's why it's actually better to leave fluorescent bulbs burning nonstop.
"The bulbs use less energy if they're left to burn continually," Madej explained.
Some of the most common types of fluorescent bulbs include:
UFluorescent tubes. What most people picture when they think of a fluorescent light, fluorescent tubes have a wide variety of uses both in the home and in commercial spaces.
UCompact fluorescents. These bulbs are the smaller version of the long fluorescent tube. Instead of being shaped like a long tube, the tubes of a compact fluorescent bulb may be spiraled or the bulb might look very similar to a traditional incandescent light bulb complete with a screw-in base. The tight shape of the compact fluorescent bulb allows it to fit into cramped spaces where long tubes won't fit (like beneath a lamp shade). Although compact fluorescent bulbs don't look like traditional fluorescent tubes, they do boast the same impressive energy efficiency, and many of them can burn for up to 10,000 hours. Although these bulbs will lower your energy bill, they do cost more than incandescent bulbs.
UFluorescent circlines. These circular fluorescent tubes are commonly used in ceiling lights.
UBlack lights. Fluorescent black light bulbs make things glow in the dark and are perfect for Halloween parties.
UHorticulture bulbs. Popular among gardeners, horticulture bulbs provide intense natural light for houseplants. Horticulture bulbs can be either fluorescent or incandescent.
High intensity discharge
High intensity discharge bulbs pack a punch and offer supreme energy efficiency.
These are the bulbs used to light mammoth spaces, such as warehouses, grocery stores or stadiums.
They also often turn up in backyard home-security lights, but they rarely find their way inside the home.
Mercury vapor lamps and high-pressure sodium lamps fall into this category.
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