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All about Lamp Legislation!

Confused about Lamp Legislation? You are not alone. Today’s Lamp choices are many and due to US Fed’l Legislation, certain bulb types that we are all used to are being phased out and replaced with more efficient Lamps. Actually, that’s a good thing as we all take part in helping to conserve electrical consumption which has major impact on the environment as well as saving  us money in terms of operating costs (electrical costs to operate our Lamps and Lighting Fixtures).

Major Lamp manufacturers have been hard at work to introduce newer and more efficient Lamp types to replace those energy guzzlers of the past. These new products must meet minimum Fed’l Energy Efficiency standards. It is to our benefit that these newer Lamp types not only reduce energy consumption, but also provide the light output and color quality of light that we expect. Since the majority of your Cost of Light is due to electrical operating costs, it makes good sense to choose more efficient Lamps that reduce those costs. And keep in mind that when Legislation laws take effect in terms of phasing out certain Lamp types, it does not mean that you can no longer use or purchase those phased out products. It means that manufacturers can no longer manufacturer or import phased out products for re-sale. Supplies will start to dwindle as inventories sell-out, causing Users to look for more efficient replacement Lamps.

Should newer replacement types cost a bit more, and typically they do……keep in mind that reducing your electrical consumption (wattage) in terms of savings will far outweigh any added costs for the products. Overall, it is a benefit to Users. New technologies such as LEDs can dramatically reduce energy costs and also provide extreme long life compared to traditional Lamp types. When upgrading to LEDs, look for a similar shape/size/base with the SAME approx. Lumens (light output). You will be surprised at the much lower wattage ratings when upgrading to LEDs.

Searching for detailed information about Lamp Legislation can be a daunting task. At WhatWatt, we did some work for you. One of our premier partners, Philips Lighting has an excellent online tool to determine your options when looking to replace traditional Lamps that have been phased out due to Legislation. It provides a good, better, best replacement option for most phased out products. Check it out at: Philips Lamp Legislation Tool.

For all your Lamp and Lighting needs, WhatWatt is here to serve you!

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All about Halogen light bulbs!

Let’s take a look at the Halogen family of light bulbs. They are actually a type of incandescent Lamp, but with certain characteristics that make them superior to standard incandescent lamps. Namely, they offer good brightness and white light output and longer life for the most part. Due to their thin filament they produce more light than the thicker filaments found in standard incandescent lamps. The result is a brighter and whiter light. They are available in 12 volt designs (requiring transformers) and also in normal line voltage (not requiring transformers). The standard 120 volt line voltage types therefore are good choices for direct replacement of incandscent bulbs. In the low voltage category, 12 volt MR-16 types deliver crisp white light commonly used in track lighting with transformers and other 12 volt applications such as landscape lighting, etc.

Typically, when upgrading from standard incandescent bulbs to halogen you can use a lower wattage to get equal light. This provides energy savings (reduced electrical costs). They also provide longer life than most standard incandescent bulbs. The color of halogen light is usually about 3000K which is just slightly cooler than standard incandescent which is approx. 2700-2800K (degress Kelvin). Even so, they are still considered a “warm” color.

Halogen lamps also provide a unique extra feature. They do not depreciate in light output over life like standard incandescent lamps. At end of life, they remain almost as bright as when they were first installed. This is due to what is called the halogen cycle which acts like a self cleaning mechanism.  Just like incandescent lamps, halogen lamps can also be dimmed.

Halogen lamps come in all shapes and sizes for many applications and are a good choice for crisp, white light where needed. They are certainly a better choice than standard incandescent lamps. At WhatWatt we offer a complete line of halogen lamps to meet your needs.

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Understanding life ratings of light bulbs.

OK, you see a life rating on a light bulb (Lamp) to be 2,000 hours. What does that actually mean?

Lamp manufacturers typically rate life of Lamps as an “Average Rated Life” which means that at the rated life approximately 50% of the Lamps should still be operating. Some may fail earlier, some may last longer. It is a bell curve that is referred to as a mortality curve. Most of us do not relate to hours as easily as we relate to human age which is typically expressed in years. So, look at it this way….. a year is actually 8,760 hours (365 days x 24 hours). OK, ok…..a leap year has a 24 more hours…….just to be mathematically correct.

So, if you are 30 years of age you are actually 262,800 hours old on your 30th birthday at the same time of birth. Yikes! Let’s not remind ourselves. Now, if a Lamp has an average rated life of let’s say 3,000 hours such as maybe a halogen Lamp……then after those 3,000 hours about half of them will still be operating. If the lights are on for approx. 3,000 hours per year (or about 8 hours per day), then you will get about a year’s worth of light before they fail and need to be replaced. If you replaced that same Lamp with a 25,000 hour LED lamp, you will get about 8.3 years of average life. LEDs can deliver anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 hours of life approximately. Now, that’s exciting!

Many typical household LED lamps state on the package that they will provide over 22 years of average life! The typical household usage of a light bulb is only about 3 hours per day or 1,095 hours per year. So, do the math! By the way, LEDs also dramatically reduce your electrical consumption since they use much less wattage than standard light sources and provide similar light output and color quality that you are used to. Are LEDs looking more appealing to you now? We think so.

See our family of LED Lamps available for purchase. You’ll be glad you did.

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All about light sources!

As the Industry changes due to new technologies, it is important to keep yourself up-to-date in order to make educated decisions. First and foremost, let’s review the various light sources we all have been accustomed to. Basically light sources have belonged to the following families: incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, compact fluorescent, and HID (High Intensity Discharge). Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the acceptance of the LED family for very good reasons.

When comparing  light sources, it is important to understand some basic terminology used in the Industry. With new labeling laws, packaging now tells us much about a particular product. But we need to know what all this means. So let’s get started……

The Industry refers to light bulbs as Lamps. Lamps are installed in fixtures or luminaires of many types, shapes, sizes, etc. The range is quite extensive from a simple bare socket or table lamp in the home to an industrial luminaire used in high bay lighting or street lighting or stadium lighting, etc. Fixtures are designed to meet the lighting requirements of the application. An example would be track lighting typically used in retail stores to illuminate products for sale, or linear fixtures with fluorescent tubes to illuminate office spaces. The list goes on and on. Product labeling gives us very useful information such as: wattage, lumens (light output), rated life, color temperature, etc. When trying to replace an otherwise in-efficient lamp with a more efficient type, you need to look at these characteristics. Look for a better Lamp that has basically the same size, shape, base, and most important light output (lumens). You may find that newer more efficient types deliver the light output and quality of light you have now, but consume much less wattage. That’s a winner!

When making good choices, one must consider the total Cost of Light (particularly for commercial users). That would include the cost of the Lamps, the labor to install and replace burned out lamps, and of course the electrical cost to operate the system. It has been calculated that (in general), the cost of Lamps is only about 4% of Total Cost of Light, Labor cost is about 8%, and operating costs (electrical costs) represents about 88% of Total Cost of Light!! If that surprises you, lets go back to the days of the 4-foot T12 fluorescent tube used for many years in typical office lighting. It was a 40-watt lamp, T12 (1 1/2″ diam), with typical rated life of about 20,000 hours. It probably cost only a few dollars to purchase and just a few more dollars to install and/or replace, BUT….at an average Utility rate of $.10/KWH), it will cost another $80.00 to operate over it’s average rated life of 20,000 hours. OK, what is the formula we used? Simple….watts consumed x  hours burned / 1000 = KWH consumed. KWH x $.10 = total electrical cost. You can put your calculator away, here it is: 40 watts x 20,000 hours = 800,000 watt  hours divided by 1,000 = 800 KWH. 800 KWH x $.10 = $80. Note that actual Utility rates vary, use your “average” utility rate.  Read More »

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