Light Bulb 101

Apr 27, 2017

TCP’s research and development allows us to constantly improve lighting products, bringing you increased energy efficiency and illumination quality for office, retail, hotel and residential LED lighting. Here’s some basic information to help you become a more informed consumer.
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LED Lighting

LED lighting from TCP is extremely energy efficient and consumes up to 90% less power than incandescent bulbs.

Halogen Icon

Halogen Lighting

The halogen lamp is also known as a quartz halogen and tungsten halogen lamp. It is an advanced form of incandescent lamp.

CFL Light Bulb Icon

CFL Lighting

CFL stands for compact fluorescent lamp, and it is a small fluorescent lightbulb that uses 75% less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb and can be screwed into a regular light socket.

Energy-Saving Light Bulbs

TCP bulbs are designed to last long and be energy-efficient.

Energy Star Lighting

TCP is a proud partner of ENERGY STAR® – the most widely recognized symbol for energy efficiency in the world.

Coupons and Rebates

TCP offers a wide array of LED and CFL ENERGY STAR rated products that are available for lighting rebates today for commercial lighting customers.

How LED’s Work

LED lighting products use light emitting diodes. This produces much more energy-efficient lighting. Here’s how it works: Electrical current passes through semiconductor material. This illuminates our small light sources (termed LEDs).

LED Basics

According to ENERGY STAR, the lifespan of LED lighting products is defined differently than that of other light sources, such as incandescent or CFL. This is because LEDs typically do not “burn out” or fail. Instead, they experience lumen depreciation, where the amount of light produced decreases and light color appearance can shift over time.

Instead of basing the useful life of an LED product on the time it takes for 50% of a large group of lamps to burn out (as is the case with traditional sources), LED product “lifetime” is set based on a prediction of when the light output decreases 30 percent.

LEDs and Heat

LED lighting systems do not produce heat like other bulbs. The heat produced from the power going into the product must be drawn away from the LEDs. This is usually done with a heat sink, which is a passive device that absorbs the heat produced and dissipates it into the surrounding environment. This keeps LEDs from overheating and burning out.

When an LED light is turned on, electricity is sent through the semi-conductor and the LED chip is illuminated. The light produced then goes through the lens while the heat from the reaction is dispersed through a heat sink. Modern heat sinks are so effective that many LED lamps are cool to the touch.

What Are Lumens?

A lumen is technically defined as one candela multiplied by one steradian. In layman’s terms, one lumen is equivalent to the light produced by one birthday candle from one foot away. To expand this idea, seeing 100 lumens is like standing one foot away from a cake with 100 birthday candles on it.

Lumens, unlike watts, are a direct measure of light output. Therefore, a larger lumen count means a brighter bulb.

Why Not Watts?

While lumens directly measure light output, wattage measures the energy each light uses. Historically, incandescent bulb brightness was directly determined by their wattage.

However, energy efficient lighting options like LEDs and CFLs are able to produce more lumens with far less energy. To regulate which bulbs are truly the brightest, government regulations now mandate each lighting product accurately lists its lumen count.

How Can I Find An LED That Produces Enough Light?

Each TCP LED package lists the lumen count and also its incandescent equivalent. For instance if a TCP 12 watt LED is listed as a 75 watt incandescent equivalent, it will produce the same amount of light as an old 75 watt bulb.

Once you become accustomed to the new system you can begin to pick your lights based on lumen count.

How Long Will My LED Lighting Last?

TCP adheres to an industry standard for rating lightbulb life called “rated life.” This figure is listed on every TCP LED product.

Rated life is determined through vigorous lamp testing. The time that half of the test samples fail is considered rated life. By definition, some lamps will fail before their rated life while others will exceed it.

Always bear in mind that using an LED in an improper application or old wiring can have a negative impact on the lamp’s life. Application information can be found on the bulb packaging.

How Does Color Temperature Affect LED Lighting?

The color temperature of a light determines the color of its light. Warm color temperatures (2700K-3000K) appear to have a yellow hue while lights with high color temperatures (5000K) have a blue tint.

Each color temperature has its own unique qualities and uses:

Soft White (2700K)

Soft white lights provide a wonderful warm glow. This color temperature is perfect for living areas or any other place you like to kick back and relax.

Bright White (4000K)

Bright white lighting is ideal for any space where detailed work is done. This includes the kitchen, hobby rooms, the garage, and the basement.

Daylight (5000K)

The blue hue of daylight lights is great at encouraging productivity and is tailor made for reading. In addition, the bright light closely imitates natural daylight to create a lively atmosphere.

How Halogen Bulbs Work

Halogen lighting uses around 20-30% less energy than incandescent light bulbs, but halogens still consume quite a lot of energy. By comparison, LED bulbs use 90% less energy than a traditional bulb and CFLs use 60-80% less.

How CFL Bulbs Work

A compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) is designed to replace incandescent bulbs, using much less electric power and lasting much longer.

CFL Basics

If you are looking for energy-efficient lighting but don’t want to make the move to LEDs just yet, our CFL light bulbs could be the solution for you.

An incandescent bulb that uses 75 watts can be replaced with a CFL bulb that only uses 20 watts. Replacing one incandescent bulb with one CFL bulb keeps 450 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere over the life of the bulb.

The average lifetime of an incandescent light bulb is less than a year. The average lifetime of CFL light bulbs is 8 to 10 years.

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