Despite the near extinction of the old familiar and reliable incandescent lamps since a change in European law, arguments are still rife among both consumers and lighting experts alike. Don’t worry; this article isn’t going to be some kind of long-winded harangue, expressing the personal views of Lighting Majestic on this matter, but rather just some straight forward tips and eye opening advice.
We would like in particular to concentrate on the brightness of fluorescent lamps compared to incandescent bulbs. This issue after all is without doubt the most disputed, with many people claiming that the newer lights bulbs, though being more energy efficient are just too dull. In some cases this may be the due to the lamp as it has a phosphor coating that purchasers often don’t take into account, and also if lamps have been fitted for a very long time fluorescents and compact fluorescents can lose up to 20% of their effectiveness, despite the boasts of a long life span. But most of the time the dissatisfying element of opting for a more energy efficient lamp comes from not knowing the correct wattage.
Believe it or not there is even some debate on how to calculate the correct wattage to get the equivalent fluorescent lamp to replace an incandescent lamp. The European commission have stated that to get the correct wattage equivalent you simple divide the incandescent wattage by four to get the compact fluorescent wattage. For example: to match the wattage of a 60 watt incandescent lamp you would use a 15 watt fluorescent lamp.
Regardless of the reputable source of this information, expert testing in America has shown that customers looking for the optimum matching lamp should only divide the incandescent wattage by 3. (Meaning to get the same effect as a 60 watt incandescent you should use a 20 watt CFL) This is due to the method used to calculate the wattage of a fluorescent lamp, which is in a laboratory, a neutral environment, and according to newfound research the effect of a change in environment can have an effect on the brightness of a lamp. (Lamps giving out a certain amount of light in a lab may not give out the same in a living room) It is thought that this is due to the temperature at which a fluorescent lamp puts out its maximum light potential, which is 25c, any hotter or colder and the brightness could be affected. This is why to ensure you don’t end up with a duller lamp some say you should opt for the higher wattage fluorescent. But don’t worry, due to large gap in energy use, a higher wattage fluorescent lamp will still be far more energy efficient than an incandescent lamp.
Whether you want to believe the EU X4 rule or the American scientist’s X3 rule is entirely up to you. Depending on the space you are working with and your own personal preference of light intensity, it may all come down to some experimentation on your part, but energy efficient light bulbs are here to stay and so shouldn’t be written off, especially with the decrease in availability and increase in cost of incandescent lamps becoming more and more noticeable.