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Choosing the Right Lightbulbs

With so many light bulb choices on the shelves, it is difficult to know which ones to use in your home. Some bulbs are distracting to look at and probably wonâ019t look great in your décor. Other light bulbs may not support your desire to operate an energy efficient home.

We've put together a quick, easy guide to help you make the best bulb choices for your needs.

Table and Floor Lamps

Creating a nice warm glow without a bright spot is perfect for table and floor lamps. Use these bulbs:

  • Halogen Incandescents - Shines light in all directions (omnidirectional) to provide a warm glow; great for dimmers; looks similar to traditional bulbs but uses 25-30% less energy.
  • Compact Fluorescents - known as CFLs; use these in non-dimming fixtures; provide the same types of omnidirectional glow as halogens; covered globes/A-lamps cover up the spiral look; even more energy efficient than halogen.

Why not LEDs? LEDs pinpoint light instead of creating a glow. You can find LED containing A-lamps that use technology to spread the light but that added technology shoots the cost up making them an expensive bulb to use and replace.

Recessed Lighting

Pinpointing light efficiently and in a cost-effective way is perfect for recessed ceiling lights located in high-use areas (think kitchens, living areas, bedroom overheads). Recessed lights sit inside the ceiling in a canister style fixture. Use this type of bulb:

  • LEDs - 80% more energy savings over the incandescents; longer bulb life than CFL; pinpoint light so that it escapes the canister; brighter than CFLs and halogens.
  • Overhead room lighting typically gets used far more than table or floor lamps and so energy efficiency is more important. The pinpoint capability of an LED allows you to create pools of light from above.
  • Conversion kits transform old can fixtures into ones that work with LEDs. Youâ019ll need a specific type of wall dimming switch to use with an LED.

If you want to use CFLs or halogen incandescent bulbs (light quality is usually warmer) purchase the reflector style, not globes or A-lamps, so the light can escape downward. Save energy by using a lower wattage halogen if you have multiple cans to fill.

Bathroom Lighting

Looking good in the bathroom mirror is achievable with halogen incandescent bulbs. Halogen incandescents show color and texture better making them great for lighting up your face and creating a flattering skin tone for the majority of us.

If you have a separate vanity area, use the halogen there and experiment with a CFL in a warm color temp in other areas of the bathroom, especially if energy reduction is a primary goal.

Stairwell Lights

A long-lasting bulb like an LED is perfect in areas where changing bulbs is a hassle. LEDs are long life bulbs and you wonâ019t be dragging the ladder out to replace them very often. Here are places where an LED is the right choice:

  • Stair fixtures
  • Cabinets
  • Tray ceilings and recessed areas like ledges
  • Attic spaces
  • Infrequently used closets
  • Garages or storage sheds