RepairClinic DIY Blog RSS Feed

Appliances How-to-choose-an-energy-efficient-light-bulb

Published on June 23rd, 2014 | by Staff


How to choose an energy efficient light bulb (without sitting in the dark)

The recent phasing out of incandescent light bulbs has many people scratching their heads trying to figure out what the best alternative is (or they’re stock piling incandescent bulbs). In the past, you could tell if someone had installed CFLs in their home because you couldn’t see anything upon entering their abode. LEDs had the opposite effect – they were cold and harsh to the eyes. However, the light bulb market has opened up and CFL and LED light bulbs have come a long way and there are now some very good alternatives to the incandescent light bulb. The best way to assist you in weighing your options is to get you familiar with some of the terms in the lighting world.

Wattage: indicates how much power a light bulb uses. This measurement is commonly used by consumers to figure out the brightness of a bulb, but this is incorrect because not all light bulbs convert wattage into visible light as efficiently as others. This is where lumens come in.

Lumens: a measure of visible light emitted by a source. This number indicates the actual brightness of the bulb.
Luminous Efficacy: This is a measurement of how efficiently a light source converts power into visible light, or wattage into lumens.
Color temperature: A characteristic of visible light which measures the color that a light source produces. This ranges from low (warm and yellow/orange) to high (cold and blue).

We’ve become used to looking at wattage as a determination to how bright a bulb is going to be. Now with different technologies on the market, wattage should no longer be used when figuring out brightness. Wattage only reflects how much power is being used. Lumens tell how bright a bulb will be.

Here is some handy information from about how many lumens your old incandescent bulbs put out:

  • 40 watt incandescent bulb – > 450 lumens
  • 60 watt incandescent bulb – > 800 lumens
  • 75 watt incandescent bulb – > 1,100 lumens
  • 100 watt incandescent bulb – > 1,600 lumens
  • 150 watt incandescent bulb – > 2,600 lumens

So when looking for a replacement bulb similar to the bulbs you’re used to, keep this chart in mind.

The other thing to keep in mind when picking out bulbs is the color temperature. The color temperature scale is measured in Kelvin and for light bulbs ranges from around 1,000K to 10,000K. Incandescent lights, which have a “warmer” tone, actually reside on the lower end of the scale at about 1,800K. So if you’re looking to replace your light bulbs which a bulb with a similar color temperature, look for something in that range. If you like more “direct sunlight,” look for something around 4,800K. Keep in mind, the higher on the scale you get, the “cooler” the color temperature. At the high end of the scale the light will look blue, similar to how all LED lights looked when they first came onto the market. These days, however, it is possible to purchase LEDs and CFLs in all color temperatures.

When it comes to purchasing new light bulbs, it is completely up to the preference of the buyer. LEDs typically last longer (some last up to 25 years!), use less power (thus costing less), are durable and achieve their highest brightness the second they are turned on. CFLs have a shorter lifespan (but still significantly longer than incandescent), use a bit more power (also still significantly less than incandescent), are very breakable and take a little while to achieve their highest brightness. The upside of CFLs is that they better imitate the light produced by incandescent light bulbs we are all used to in our homes.

The best advice we can give when it comes to light bulbs is to just purchase a couple different light bulbs and try them out. It is all a matter of preference. In the last couple of years, the prices of LED and CFL light bulbs have drastically dropped, making it less expensive to test your options.

What has your experience been with these light bulb options? Let us know in the comments below.

Love DIY tips and discounts? We do, too. That’s why we give them away.

Have you joined our free VIP email list?

Follow us:

Google Plus

Need help finding the right part?

We’re here for you 7 a.m. to midnight ET, every day.
Call us at 1-800-269-2609 or chat with us live on

About RepairClinic

Since 1999, three and a half million people have purchased replacements parts and accessories from RepairClinic and saved more than $260 million in repair costs by fixing appliances, lawn equipment, power tools, and heating & cooling equipment on their own. From the beginning, RepairClinic has provided free troubleshooting and how-to resources on its website.

The company’s 2,000+ free how-to repair and how-it-works videos on its YouTube channel have been viewed more than 41 million times.

RepairClinic’s free, advanced online repair help system empowers do-it-yourselfers to fix common problems associated with home appliances, lawn equipment, power tools and heating & cooling equipment. DIYers can enter a model number to choose from a list of common symptoms for that particular model, troubleshoot and watch award-winning, expertly-produced videos to learn the most likely causes and conditions and purchase the correct part. stocks more than one million parts and accessories for 160 brands of lawn mowers, small engines, snowblowers, string trimmers, furnaces, air conditioners, air handlers, heat pumps, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, power tools and many other products.

Since 1999, the company has served more than three million customers including homeowners, first-time and beginner DIYers, advanced DIYers, appliance repair professionals, small engine repair shops and landscaping and lawn care business owners. RepairClinic orders are backed by a 365 Days. Period.® return policy that enables customers to return any part. Of the more than one million parts available on the website, 95 percent of parts ordered are in stock and guaranteed to ship the same business day. RepairClinic ships within the United States, U.S. territories and military bases and Canada.

Tags: , , , ,

About the Author staff members enjoy dozens of daily conversations with RepairClinic’s customer community every day. We're inspired by our customers' stories of successful DIY repairs, major money savings and empowerment to tackle many repair projects on their own. Every day, our 2,200+ free how-to videos are viewed 60,000 times. Visit and join us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

One Response to How to choose an energy efficient light bulb (without sitting in the dark)

  1. Russell says:

    Also note that the whitening agents used in laundry detergent are fluorescent. LED bulbs do not have emit the light frequencies for the fluorescent, so your whites may appear a bit dingier under LED than CFL or incandescent light.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

36,692 Spam Comments Blocked so far by Spam Free Wordpress

Back to Top ↑

  • Recent Posts

  •’s Facebook Page

  • Google+ Add to circles

  • Join the VIP email list

    Don’t miss out

    Sign up for our free VIP email list for:

    • Exclusive discounts and promotions
    • Money-saving tips

    You’ll receive messages a few times monthly. You can unsubscribe instantly at any time.

  • Categories

  • About

  • Snag our buttons…

    …and spread the DIY know-how

  • appliance dishwasher diy do it yourself dryer energy kitchen landscaping lawn care lawn mower maintenance maintenance tips outdoor power equipment outreach press release press releases refrigerator repairclinic safety small engine snowblower tips washing machine