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Light Globes – What are the Differences?

With rapid advances in lighting recent times, it can be hard to know what light globes you should be using around your home.  Ever since it’s invention by Thomas Edison in 1879, the humble light globe has undergone many transformations. 

While modern day light globes still retain much of the features of Edison’s original, they also now come in many forms allowing them to produce light differently, and be more energy efficient.

Incandescent Light Globes

Incandescent light globes work by heating a filament inside a vacuum globe filled with gas.  An electric current is passed through the filament, and the electrical resistance of the filament to this current, causes it to get so hot that it glows, producing light.

Halogen globes work much the same way, but instead of the glass bulb being filled with an inert gas, usually argon, to help preserve the life of the heated filament, halogen incandescent lamps use a halogen gas, such as iodine or bromine, and combine this with a filament made from tungsten.

What both incandescent and halogen globes have in common is that the light it produces comes from heating a filament.  What this means is that a lot of energy is converted to heat, rather than light.  We have all been there … not being able to touch a light globe for a time after it has been switched off, it’s simply too hot!

Incandescent light globes

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)

CFLs work by combining argon gas and particles of mercury within the globe.  When switched on, electricity cause the gas to combine with the mercury resulting in ultraviolet (UV) light.  Coated around the outside of the globe is white phosphor, which when in contact with UV light, emits a white light.

While CFLs have a longer life span than incandescent or halogen lights, the mercury inside the globe is toxic, making disposing of used globes an environmental and health concern.  Another distinct drawback to CFLS is that they take a little time to “warm up”, making them less than ideal for areas of your home that need immediate light.

Compact Fluroescent Light Globes

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

LEDs have been used for many years.  They light up things like digital clocks, christmas lights, traffic signals.  It has only been in more recent years, however, that LEDs have been manufactured as replacement globes for traditional incandescent or CFL globes.

LED light globes work by passing electric current through a semiconducting material, the diode.  Instead of emitting light from a vacuum (as is the case of an incandescent globe) or a gas (as in a CFL), an LED works by connecting a positive and negative current through the diode to create energy that is released in the form of light.

The real advantages to LED technology include:

  1. Their long life span, on average around 30,000 hours for a household LED globe
  2. Their very small heat signature, meaning most of the energy they produce is used to radiate light rather than heat.  This makes them a very energy efficient option.

While LEDs seem like the perfect solution to lighting your home efficiently and effectively, they are more expensive in their upfront cost compared to their incandescent or CFL counterparts.  However, this cost has reduced significantly since their introduction to household use.  And, when you compare the costs of running LED compared to traditional incandescent, the energy savings over the lifespan of your globes far outweigh the slightly higher upfront costs

LED light globes save on energy costs

LEDs have also had advances in design and style, with many options now available to get that old school filament look in your globe. 

LED filament light globes

Rovert Lighting & Electrical carry a wide range of light globes to suit every purpose.  Contact us to find out more about making the switch to LED in your home.

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