GE Lighting Tip Sheet: Bulb Basics

Notes from GE Lighting Specialist Kathy Presciano

Choosing the right light

Sometimes, buying light bulbs can be confusing. How do you know you've selected the right bulb for your fixture? Well, it's actually quite simple. Just follow these three steps, provided by GE Lighting Specialist, Kathy Presciano:

1. Select the light quality for your sense of style
Do you love art, own fine collections of crystal, or have a soft spot for the environment? People express themselves through the interior design of their home. Furniture, window treatments, flooring, wall color, and accents work together to create a look to be proud of. Make it right by lighting with style. Consider these bulbs when creating a style that's your own:
 
    • GE Reveal®:
    • Reveal bulbs have neodymium in the glass. Neodymium is a rare earth element that filters out dull yellow rays, making colors in artwork, wallpaper, carpets, paint, and curtains really pop.


    • GE Edison™ Halogen:
    • GE Edison halogen produces bright, crisp white light and is considered the designer's choice for lighting. Whether you want to spotlight a curio cabinet of fine hand–cut lead crystal, call attention to your contemporary art collection, or sit in your favorite 19th–century bird's–eye maple chair and enjoy a good book by a reading light, GE offers a GE Edison product for you. For highlighting museum–quality artwork, there are also bulbs that reduce the amount of U.V. rays.


  • GE Energy Smart™ Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs:
  • Save money and do the right thing for the environment with these ENERGY STAR®-qualified CFLs that use up to 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent and last up to 10 times longer.

2. Find the right shape for the lamp or socket
Using the right bulb for the fixture means increased light output, better functionality and overall improved aesthetic appeal.

Bulbs come in all shapes and sizes to match the wide variety of lamps and fixtures people have in their homes. To see the greatest benefit from this light, start by making sure you are using the right light sources in the fixture, whether it's a table lamp, track light, vanity light, chandelier, or outdoor light.

Use general purpose bulbs in table and floor lamps and enclosed ceiling fixtures. Use globes in lights above the vanity. Try decorative bulbs in chandeliers, sconces or anywhere the light source is visible. And utilize spotlights and floodlights in track and recessed fixtures. Here are some more tips:

    • Track Lighting:
 
      GE reflector bulbs are great for use in track lighting applications. For crisp, bright white light, try long–lasting GE Halogen PAR lamps. As an added effect for your track lighting fixtures, GE Reveal reflector bulbs are also a great choice. Their clean, beautiful light brings out colors and patterns that would normally go unnoticed.
 
    • Recessed Lighting:
    • Halogen indoor floodlights are the best choice for recessed fixtures. Unlike standard incandescent bulbs, GE halogen floodlights project virtually all of their light out of the fixture and into the room. For the best combination of long life and light quality, GE lighting experts choose GE Edison halogen floodlights for bright, crisp white light.
 
    • Chandeliers:
 
      There are bulbs designed specifically for chandeliers that can add a creative accent and decorative touch to consumers' homes. Try long–life GE Edison decorative bulbs for bright light and longer life. Reveal bulbs are another good choice for pure, clean light.
 
    • Table lamps:
 
    Try three–way GE Reveal bulbs, which give greater flexibility with three levels of clean, beautiful light. The lowest setting is perfect for mood lighting and energy savings. The higher settings supply optimum light output for performing tasks, while the lower settings provide energy savings.

3. Consider the right performance
Different lighting fixtures call for a variety of bulb performance characteristics, such as long life, durability and energy savings.

Long-life halogen: GE Edison halogen bulbs produce bright, crisp, long–lasting light. This is also great news for people with hard–to–reach outdoor fixtures because longer life means fewer trips up the ladder! GE outdoor halogen floodlights will also add to the curb appeal of any home by helping to highlight landscaping, highlight architectural elements, create directional pathways, and more.

Durability: GE outdoor halogen bulbs also feature all–weather construction to withstand outdoor conditions. For your indoor durability needs, try GE Reveal ceiling fan bulbs, which have a heavy–duty filament and special supports that resist vibration, while bringing attention to your beautiful fixtures with their clean, beautiful light.


Energy savings: GE Energy Smart Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs, which are ENERGY STAR-qualified, are up to 75 percent more energy efficient than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer, meaning consumers spend less time replacing bulbs and can save more money on their energy bulls. Particularly for hard–to–reach fixtures such as in closets and hallways, long–lasting CFLs are the perfect fit.

The workhorse: Fluorescent bulbs are often considered the "workhorses" of the lighting world, providing more light and longer life than incandescents or halogens. And today, they come in many lengths, shapes, and even colors that more closely approximate the color of incandescent light. Today's CFLs are a popular consumer choice.

Other basic considerations and tips when comparing light bulbs
Some basic ways to compare light bulbs include:
 
    • Brightness:
    • Although most people think of light bulbs in terms of wattage, light output is actually measured in lumens, which is a measure of brightness. For best comparison, look at lumens, not watts. This is information can be found on packaging.


    • Cost:
    • Budget–conscious individuals will want to compare the cost of using various bulbs. The best way to save money is to choose bulbs that give you more lumens per watt — even if they cost more to purchase upfront. In fact, GE Energy Smart Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) will actually pay for themselves in energy savings over their lives. As a general rule, incandescent lights are the least energy–efficient, while fluorescents, CFLs, and halogen bulbs (like GE Edison halogen) give comparable light at less cost. Fluorescents and CFLs use less wattage, produce less heat, and have longer life than standard incandescents.


  • Color:
  • Color is critical for mood. While some enjoy the soft warm glow of incandescent lamps, like the GE Soft White, many love the way GE Reveal bulbs, which filter out dull yellow rays, make colors "pop." And for a whiter light, GE Edison halogen bulbs produce a very clean light.