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Maintaining adequate levels of indoor lighting while holding down energy expensesrequires careful consideration of your lighting options. Here is a brief indoor lighting guide that will help you find the type of lighting and accessories that suit your needs.

Types of bulbs

  • Incandescent bulbs: Once commonly used – and still available – incandescent lightbulbs are inexpensive and provide abundant light. But they tend to use more energy than other types of bulbs and have relatively short lives. They are being phased out of production.
  • Compact fluorescent lightbulbs: CFLs are easily recognizable because of their coil shape. They provide light that is just as abundant as light provided by standard incandescent bulbs. They last a long time (up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs) and use less energy than standard bulbs. CFLs aren’t dimmable, and their lives can be shortened if they’re turned on and off frequently.
  • Halogen bulbs: Halogen lights are incandescent-style bulbs, but they use 25 to 30 percent less energy. They meet government efficiency standards. They are dimmable and produce strong, effective lighting. They can have lives as short as regular incandescent bulbs, even though they are more expensive.
  • Light-emitting diode bulbs: LED bulbs use less energy than CFLs. LED bulbs normally have very long lives – 20,000 to 50,000 hours. They dim easily, brighten instantly and maintain life and light quality even if they’re turned off and on frequently. LED bulbs are heavier and more expensive than other bulbs.

Accessories and extras

  • Dimmers: Dimmers allow you to reduce lighting levels and energy use. You must buy bulbs specially designed for use in dimming fixtures.
  • Timers: Timers save energy by turning lights off when they are not needed. Photocell timers, for example, turn bulbs off in the daytime and turn them back on at night.
  • Motion sensors: These devices can detect when someone has entered a room and can automatically turn lights on in response. They can also be used outside your home to detect intruders.

Tips and tricks

  • Lighting manufacturers must phase out old-style bulbs and replace them with higher-efficiency bulbs by 2014. These newer bulbs should be more than 25 percent more efficient than previously available bulbs.
  • Combine CFL bulbs with Energy Star-certified light fixtures to get the greatest efficiency and savings.
  • Use CFL bulbs in locations where the light will be left on for long periods, such as the foyer, workroom and family room.
  • Lightbulb brightness is measured in lumens, so look for bulbs that provide the highest level of brightness at the lowest possible wattage. In general, bulbs of 800 lumens are adequate for replacing 60-watt bulbs, 1,100 lumens are adequate for 75-watt bulbs, and 1,600 lumens are sufficient for 100-watt bulbs.
  • Consult an indoor lighting guide or lighting professional for more tips and suggestions.

Aqua Plumbing & Air has served heating, plumbing, and air conditioning customers in Sarasota, Bradenton, and Manatee County for more than 37 years. Contact us for information to supplement this indoor lighting guide and for expert assistance when you’re choosing the best lighting options for your home.

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