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Tue, Sept. 17

Ask the contractor: So many choices for new light bulbs

Since my favorite incandescent light bulbs have been going through a phaseout over the past several years and are being replaced with energy efficient light bulbs and seem to be gone from the shelves, I took the plunge three years ago and bought eight LED bulbs for my kitchen.

The bulbs operated on a fraction of the energy as my beloved incandescent bulbs, and were said to provide a much longer lifespan of light. The bulbs were fantastic, offering up bright light for the kitchen and looked cool in the can lights. I am not a light switch “switcher-offer” so the lights seem to always be on and it was not until this past week that one of the bulbs “burned out.”

I thought to myself, since they all were new and installed at the same time, I wonder why only one bulb burned out. Out to the garage I went to my light bulb supply cabinet and grabbed a bulb to install. The newly installed bulb offered a “yellowish” hue and looked out of place.

Taking the non-working bulb to Home Depot I thought it would be a quick fix and shopping trip. Not having purchased light bulbs for eons I was in a daze. Bulbs come in a wide array of sizes and styles from which to choose.

There are dimmable lights, vaulted ceiling lights, LED lights galore, outdoor lights, indoor lights, spotlights, floodlights, colored lights halogen lights, and the list goes on with all kinds of shapes, sizes, watts, lumens, warm lights, bright lights, day lights. Whoever said light bulb shopping is not complicated? And the list goes on with all kinds of shapes, sizes and watts.

I was armed with the burnt-out bulb thinking I could easily find a replacement. The bulb did not have all of the appropriate markings on it where I could easily find a similar color range, watt and brightness. After standing in the aisle for what seemed like hours, I asked for help. To my rescue came John, he was so delightful, charming and a real Wikipedia when it came to light bulbs.

There was no exact match for the lumens on my old bulb versus new bulbs. So lumen match was out. There was no watt equivalency on my old bulb so that comparison was out. I did not have the old package so we could not find a comparable bulb that way.

Home Depot has some nifty samples for brightness comparison, so John flipped those on and asked my what I thought the light looked like in my kitchen. The soft white was not the brightness of my existing bulb, the daylight did not seem to be the light, so that left the bright white. That was our process of elimination for brightness. Now on to lumens. John shared that the greater the lumens-to-watts ratio, the more energy efficiency the bulb provides. My old bulb had 420 lumens and, as I said earlier, there was no exact match for that lumen number for the type of light bulb I needed. John suggested a 480 lumen bulb since it was very close to the size and shape of the bulb I was trying to replace. The pack of four it was and home I went to install my new light bulb. Oh my gosh, it was a perfect match for brightness and light — a little different in shape, however, no one would ever notice.

Google, I want my incandescent light bulbs back. Just kidding. Light bulbs have come a long way and I am a firm believer in the energy-saving LEDs. I do have the LEDs in my lamps and throughout the house. Even the front porch house lights with nifty LED lights. It is a science to select the right bulbs for the correct lighting in the home. As I was glazed over by the hundreds of light bulbs on the shelves, I was attracted to the new, old vintage light bulbs. They are LEDs and look pretty stylish and slick. These bulbs are for decorative use only, so unfortunately they cannot be a replacement for my kitchen lights.

Remember to tune in to YCCA’s Hammer Time every Saturday and Sunday morning at 7 on KQNA 1130 AM, 99.9 FM, 95.5 FM or the web at kqna.com. Listen to Sandy to Mike talk about the construction industry meet your local community partners and so much more. What a great way to start your weekend.

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