Table Lamp Light Bulb Intelligence

chinoiserie lamp with 40 watt replacement LED bulb - AtticmagIncandescent lightbulbs – the ones we all grew up with – are as obsolete as gas-guzzling cars.

The future is here. In the first weeks of 2014, the most popular lightbulb sizes — 40 and 60 watt bulbs we use in table lamps — are history. This follows the 100-watt incandescent bulb phase out that began in 2012, followed by 75 watt bulbs last year. While existing stock can still be sold, no new ones will be manufactured or imported.

I never thought I’d say this, but I won’t miss them.

40 watt replacement LED lightbulb - AtticmagThis week I spent less than $100 on soft white (3000K) LED (light emitting diode) bulbs to convert every lamp in the house, including the Chinoiserie emperor in our bedroom [top]. LEDs have excellent color quality and provide brighter light than incandescent bulbs. While the cost is about $10 each, I should not need to replace a bulb for eight to ten years.

The LED bulbs are said to reduce energy usage by up to 80 percent. An added benefit is that they remain cool enough to touch even after they are on for several hours whereas Edison (incandescent) bulbs use about 90 percent of their energy producing heat rather than light according to the Center of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies. The result is less wear to delicate silk and paper lamp shades and reduced stress on lamp wiring and switches.

My attention to light bulbs began five years ago when I wrote my first post on Making Sense of Lightbulb Color.  At the time I was testing compact fluorescent bulbs which were woefully dim, turned paint colors muddy, and had a green cast (part of their color spectrum) that I find hideous. I compared the various temperatures from soft white to daylight but hated the way they made the house look and returned most of them to the store. In that initial post I concluded that “Undoubtedly, over the next five years new lighting technology will fill the gap left as incandescent bulbs exit and compact fluorescent color is tweaked.” While this prediction came true it is LED (light emitting diode) bulb technology that has put fluorescents in the rear-view mirror and now offers the best solution.

Utilitech 40-watt LED replacement lightbulb - AtticmagLowe’s has become my go-to source for bulbs. I found excellent LED flood lamps for my ceiling fixtures by Utilitech, their house brand, detailed in a second post: Making Sense of LED Light Bulbs. I quickly found the 40-watt and 60-watt replacement bulbs I needed for most of my lamps.

small ginger jar lamp with 25-watt LED replacement light bulb - AtticmagHowever, I tried a 25-watt replacement bulb (same size) in the small thrift-shop ginger jar lamp that sits on the ledge of the TV room bookcase. That lamp goes on at dusk and is turned off when we go to bed so it sees heavy use. The 25-watt replacement LED surprised me by providing better light than the 40-watt incandescent bulb it replaced.

ginger jar lamp with parchment paper shade and LED 40-watt replacement lightbulb - AtticmagI don’t know if the LED bulbs will last 25,000 hours, as advertised, so it’s difficult to gauge how long it will take for them to pay for themselves though savings on our energy bill.  Like many other new things we encounter during this technological and economic transition, that’s unclear. So for now, I’m content being able to find bulbs that provide the clear bright light I like, have good aesthetic quality and at least help optimize energy use in my home.

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4 Responses to “Table Lamp Light Bulb Intelligence”

  1. Emma January 10, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    This is a great post about LED lighting, which will undoubtedly just get more and more popular (and the price of bulbs will just get lower–this sometimes puts people off, but the savings come over time in the terms of lower electricity bills and a lessened need for replacement bulbs) as the technology improves. Those lamps are lovely, too!

  2. Silver Magpies January 10, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    Thank you Jane for a very helpful post. I was just thinking about this as I was contemplating a new light fixture.

    Now I have some ideas about where to start for good bulbs!

    Nan

  3. Libby January 15, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

    I’ve been meaning to comment here for days: thank you! I knew this was coming and have resisted. I think the first LED bulbs, a few years ago, were awful. But yes, they are better now, right? I think it’s the pinkish or yellowish light that I’m not crazy about. So I will go back and read your earlier posts and get the scoop. And tomorrow off I go to Lowes. I must say, it would be nice to not have to worry about new bulbs for a few years…

  4. Jane F @ Atticmag January 16, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    Hi Libby,

    With my yellow and green wall colors the bulbs have been so difficult. But I really like the clear, bright light of these lamp bulbs. They are 3000K. Lowe’s even had them on slight discount this month. Such a bore and so nice to have a good solution.

    We have extensive dimmers so I still have issues with the switches for the ceiling lights. And the bulbs I liked for my ceiling cans are discontinued so I expect they are still “improving” and reducing manufacturing costs. But I have a whole house switch upgrade looming once my stash of incandescents is used.

    Thanks for stopping by. Hope the weather is treating you well.

    Jane

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