Choosing the proper lighting source can be a daunting and confusing process. With so much selection available, each variation boasting their own set of advantages and disadvantages, it is important for you to get some perspective and background knowledge of not only your options but the benefits and draw backs of each type of lamp.
The following is a basic briefing for those new to lighting on some of the lighting source options available, and should help you come to grips with what the market currently has to offer.
• Incandescent Lamp: Perhaps the most commonly known of all lighting solutions, the incandescent lamp was the first “bulb” of its kind to be brought to a mass market. Over twenty-two inventors and scientists can hold some small claim to contributing in the evolution of this lighting solution; however it was the design by Thomas Edison that became known as the most effective and therefore commercially viable because of its advanced incandescent material make-up and vacuum system. The great advantage boasted by incandescent lamps is that they are relatively inexpensive to buy and easy to find, but these positives however do come with some negatives. As much as 90% of the power consumed by an incandescent lamp produces heat rather than visible light, which does not make them very energy efficient, which results in the lamps needing to be replaced more frequently than other lighting solutions (around every two thousand hours).
• Fluorescent Lamp: These lamps are becoming more and more popular as the world is becoming more and more energy aware and they are beginning to take over from the common incandescent lamp. This is becoming ever more apparent with the introduction of Compact Fluorescent lamps which are designed to fit the more common incandescent caps. This has provided the market with a dramatic change in trends in recent years. The main reason for this is how a standard incandescent lamp uses 90% of its power to produce heat as opposed to light; the fluorescent lamp directs only 30% of its power consumption toward heat giving the lamp a longer lifespan and more consistent light. Fluorescent lamps have come under some criticism however, for their somewhat annoying flicker trademark when taking time to warm up and produce light longer after switch on. Also, as they contain mercury, fluorescent lamps when damaged or cracked, can release hazardous contaminants into the surrounding environment, so be sure to take caution when using this more energy efficient lighting solution.
• Halogen Lamp: Also known as the Tungsten Halogen Lamp, this lighting solution is a combination of an incandescent lamp with a Tungsten filament contained within halogen gas to set in motion what is called the halogen cycle to give out light. The halogen cycle is key to the advantages of halogen lamps as it provides the light source with extended lifespan and prevents the darkening of the bulb to ensure a more consistent source of light throughout its lifespan. Halogen lamps have come under close scrutiny from health and safety professionals due to the amount of heat they tend to produce. For this reason most halogen light sources are required to be fitted with a covering in one form or another. The source is more often covered by a grid, grille, glass or metal casing to ensure safety and to prevent the posed threat of fire or burn hazards when enjoying this handy lighting solution.
• LED (Light Emitting Diode): Due to the vast range of ways that this lighting solution can be used it is no wonder why it is becoming more popular on the market. LED lighting is more commonly used to add additional light to a space, with the use of recessed wall lights, down lights and up lights as well as handy tape and strip lights. Now there are also LED lamps available that are interchangeable with incandescent lamps, these provide a much more energy efficient lamp as most of the power used is focused on light production. However LED lighting can prove more expensive than other lighting solutions, but it is a sound investment on the basis of life expectancy, durability and because of their safe make-up (having no filament) they will not get hot or burn out. LED lamps, although small, are rugged in structure. They are not made with any glass tubing and the internal fittings are well supported making them resistant to high levels of vibration and impact. Some LED lamps do require a driver to operate; this is a power pack supply that provides a constant and consistent voltage that is appropriate for the lamp.
Hopefully the advantages and disadvantages of lighting solutions that we have touched upon here will provide you with some peace of mind when it comes to lighting your home or business.