THROUGH A NIGHTMARE OF CAPS AND LUMENS I SEE THE LIGHT

THROUGH A NIGHTMARE OF CAPS AND LUMENS I SEE THE LIGHT

Five years ago my wife and I moved into a 50-year-old house which had been extended at least twice and re-furbished a few times as well.  It has 10 rooms on the ground floor, including toilet, hall and garage, and 9 rooms upstairs including landing, conservatory and bathrooms.  Just about every room has a light fitting that takes a different light bulb and then we have lamps, wall lights, etc.  It really is a nightmare when a light bulb fails.

The move took place 6 years after the UK government announced incandescent light bulbs would be phased out by 2011.  Many other governments were taking the same action and more information can be found here:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_incandescent_light_bulbs#European_Union

It’s very commendable, very green and eco-friendly with an objective of reducing the nation’s power consumption and the demand for more power stations.  Like most people I don’t usually welcome ‘change’ because it often means extra work, extra effort and extra outlay.  In this case the extra work and effort should only be for a short period during the changeover transition, then the work will be the same as it was before.  For example, when a lightbulb fails, remove it from the light fitting and replace it with the spare one you always keep in a cupboard for just such occasions.  Well, that’s the theory.  The new types of lightbulb are going to cost more because they are more expensive to manufacture but have a much longer life than incandescent ones and use less electricity for the same light intensity/brightness.

When the phase-out was announced and we were still living at the previous house I buried my head in the sand and took the easy option.  I bought a supply of fluorescent tubes and lots and lots and lots of incandescent light bulbs with Bayonet Caps, thinking that would solve the problem for me.  It probably would have done if we had stayed at that house but the problem with the new house is the variety of light fittings and all the various lightbulb types that are needed.

For the last 5 years, generally when a lightbulb fails, I have spent an hour or so finding the right type of bulb to replace it.  We have various cap types that include Bayonet Cap; BC, SBC, 3-pin BC:  Edison Screw; E27, E14, E10:  Halogen; G4, G9, RS7:  Halogen Spot; GU4, GU10, GZ10:  Fluorescent; T8, T12:  Architectural Strip; S14; S15.  We have some others and a guide to all of the various cap types that are available can be found here: www.lightbulbs-direct.com/article/fittings-caps-and-bases/#incandescent.

Many of the same cap types we have are in clear and pearl and different brightness’s and as if all these cap types are not enough of a complication, I read that:-
‘For decades, we’ve been buying light bulbs according to wattage. But as low-wattage, energy efficient light bulbs like CFLs and LEDs become easily available at an affordable price, buying bulbs based on watts has become less prevalent.

Instead of focusing on wattage, which measures power or energy use, many manufacturers are now labelling their energy efficient bulbs according to lumens, which measure light output. So while we may be accustomed to shopping for bulbs according to wattage, lumens are actually a more accurate measurement of how bright your light will be.’

My response tends to be, “Yes, thanks.  I know.  For the last 5 years I have been struggling to comprehend what it is all about.  I am one of the people who can still only comprehend brightness in terms of wattage.  That is why I have some rooms that are brighter than bright when the lights are switched on and some garden paths that are not much friendlier on a dark winters night when the lights are on than when they are off.

I have finally done something to cure my ignorance about all of this, for the next time I go shopping for light bulbs.  I used the Internet to find a website that let me print off a simple chart, with the top line being the old wattage values and the equivalent values for the various types of energy efficient light bulbs underneath.

It is located here: www.thelightbulb.co.uk/resources/lumens_watts/

I know, I know, it’s not rocket science and I should have done it 5 years ago.

We live and learn!