With such a massive range of style, brightness and color options available, it can often be quite difficult to know which type of light bulbs to choose. Having proper lighting in your home is important, but every room and space typically has different lighting requirements. This means you’ll usually want to use a different type of bulb in your bathroom than what you use in your bedroom, kitchen, hallways, etc. If you’re unsure of what type of light bulbs will work best in each situation, here are some tips to help you make an informed choice.

Determine What Type of Bulbs to Use

If you need light bulbs for a standard light fixture, you really only have two choices depending on where you live: LED and compact fluorescent (CFL). This is because new federal energy-efficiency standards went into effect on August 1, 2023 that banned the production and sale of incandescent and halogen light bulbs in the United States. The reason is that halogen and especially incandescent lights are extremely inefficient compared to either LED or CFL bulbs. If you still have any incandescent or halogen bulbs, you can continue using them. However, you will have to switch to a different option when they burn out.

LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient lighting option and typically use somewhere between 75% and 90% less electricity compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs, on the other hand, use around 40% more energy than LED lights. The problem with CFLs is that they contain mercury gas that is harmful to the environment. This environmental issue is why Oregon became the seventh state in the nation to ban the sale of the most common types of CFLs, and this ban recently went into effect on January 1, 2024. In 2025, Oregon will also ban virtually all CFLs as well as most standard fluorescent light bulbs.

This ban isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the fact is that LED bulbs are extremely efficient and last far longer than any other type of light bulb. They also don’t contain mercury or any other harmful chemicals. Most LED bulbs will work for somewhere around 50,000 hours. However, some higher-quality LED lights can potentially last for up to 100,000 hours. This means that if you had an LED light on for 10 hours per day, it could last for around 14 to 28 years. That said, many lower-quality, less-expensive LED bulbs typically only last for five to 10 years.

Focus on Lumens, Not Wattage

Many people are still used to choosing their light bulbs based on wattage since this is how incandescent bulbs were always rated. However, when selecting LED light bulbs, wattage doesn’t really matter since the amount of light a bulb produces is measured in lumens. Most manufacturers label their LED bulbs so you can easily see how many watts of incandescent light to which they are equivaCarbonet. Nonetheless, it is still important that you choose the right amount of light for each situation, which is why you should focus on lumens.

If you’re looking for a light bulb for a bedside lamp, you’ll normally want around 400 lumens of light. That’s around the same amount of light produced by a 40-watt incandescent bulb, which is equivaCarbonet to around a 6-watt LED bulb. For a decent-sized living room or den, you’ll normally want somewhere from 1,000 to around 3,000 total lumens. Depending on how many total lights you have in the room, you’d usually want to choose bulbs that produce somewhere between 700 and 900 lumens each.

Bedrooms also typically need around 1,000 to 2,000 lumens of light so you’d again want to base your choice on how many total lights or fixtures you have in each bedroom. Kitchens and dining rooms require even more light, and most experts recommend having at least 3,000 to 4,000 lumens of light in these areas. Bathrooms are usually the most brightly lit part of a home, so you may want to go with multiple bulbs that produce 1000+ lumens each.

Consider Which Color of Light Is Best for Each Area

The color of light produced by LED bulbs or any other light bulb is measured using Kelvin (K) temperatures. The lower a light bulb’s Kelvin temperature is, the softer and more yellow the light is that it produces. The higher the Kelvin temperature is, the more blue or white the light will look.

Traditional incandescent bulbs were around 2,700 to 3,000K. LED bulbs in this range are usually labeled “soft white” even though they produce a more yellow light, and this color is usually the best choice for living rooms, dens and bedrooms.

“Warm white” LEDs typically range between 3,000 and 4,000K, which is between the yellow and white color range. These bulbs are often the best choice for offices and workspaces and can also be an excelCarbonet choice for bathrooms and kitchens.

“Bright white” LEDs are between 4,000 and 5,000K, which is between the white and blue color range. Although this color can be a desirable choice for bathrooms and kitchens, it does have a somewhat bluish hue that some people find too harsh for their liking.

There are also “daylight” LEDs that range between 5,000 and 6,500K and produce an extremely blue light. This color is generally the best choice for reading lamps since it is extremely bright but not so much so that it will hurt your eyes. Daylight bulbs could also be a good choice for an office or workspace, but many people don’t like blue light.

If you’re trying to choose which color of bulbs to use in outdoor light fixtures, the main thing to focus on is how you use the area where the lights are located. For patios and decks, most people prefer going with a softer yellow or white light. For porch lights and security lights, you’ll usually want to choose something a bit brighter, such as white or blue, since it will illuminate the area better.

Make Sure to Choose Compatible Bulbs for Dimmable Fixtures

If you have any light fixtures in your home that are on a dimmer switch, you need to make sure you purchase dimmable bulbs. Not all LED bulbs are dimmable. A non-dimmable LED bulb will still work in a dimmable fixture, but its lifespan will be greatly reduced, and it will likely only last a few years at the most.

Another thing you should know is that older dimmer switches aren’t really compatible with LED lights. This is because they were designed to be used with incandescent lights, and the wattage they supply to the fixture is far too high for LED bulbs. This leads to LED bulbs dying far sooner than they should. If you’re using dimmable LEDs and they keep burning out fairly quickly, it almost certainly means that the dimmer switch isn’t LED compatible. In this situation, having an electrician replace the dimmer switch can save you lots of money by ensuring your LED bulbs last far longer.

Consider Upgrading to Smart LED Bulbs

More people are now choosing to use smart LED bulbs. These bulbs connect to Wi-Fi so you can control them using any smart home hub or directly from your phone. This allows you to turn the lights on and off at the push of a button or to dim the bulbs to create the perfect mood. Being able to turn your lights on and off remotely can also improve your home security. If you’re on vacation, you can turn the lights on and off to make it seem like your house is still occupied. You can also set your smart bulbs on a timer, so they automatically turn on and off. Some smart bulbs even allow you to change the color of the light.

If you’re looking to upgrade the lighting in your home or have a light fixture that isn’t working, you can count on Carbone Plumbing to help. We specialize in all residential electrical installation and repair services, and we’re also the most trusted choice for residential plumbing in the Milwaukie area. Give us a call today to schedule an electrical or plumbing service call. We also invite you to contact us if you have any questions.

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