Types of Lamps & Bulbs


Lighting – I use it every day. Lighting accounts for 20-50% of a company’s electricity consumption. This is a pretty big part. However, each building is unique and when evaluating the needs of a building, you can start thinking about the different types of lamps and light bulbs available. How do they work? What makes them different? How can I choose the right one? Learning about the details of the lamp will help you better understand the right lighting method for your building. Here is a description of light bulbs and the different types of light bulbs and how they work.

What Are the Different Types of Bulbs?

  • Incandescent light bulbs
  • Halogen incandescent light bulbs
  • Fluorescent light bulbs
  • Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs)
  • LED light bulbs

Incandescent Lamps

When it comes to lamps, nothing is easier than a regular light bulb. In the history of electric lighting, the incandescent lamp is the beginning of all light bulbs. The design is simple with minimal details.

A complete electrical circuit is required to ignite any type of light bulb. Incandescent lamps have two contacts that power the lamp when connected to a power source. The first is foot contact. A small ball-shaped protrusion on the bottom of the base. The second is a threaded contact. This is the part of the lamp that is screwed into the fixture. As soon as it hits the light bulb, electricity flows through the metal wire to the filament. Filaments are usually made of tungsten, which has a very high melting point and can withstand high current heat. These filaments emit light when an electric current flows through the lamp. The filament is supported by a glass holder inside the glass bulb. The bulb is filled with an inert gas (usually argon). Gas may cover the filament and ignite it.

Halogen Incandescent Lamps

Incandescent light bulbs were revolutionary, but their only drawback was their energy inefficiency. Incandescent halogen bulbs are a much greener alternative because they meet minimum federal energy efficiency standards and can be used with the latest applications and tools.

Fluorescent Lamps

By the time industrial buildings were connected to lighting, it was already clear that more energy-efficient types of lamps were needed. Type fluorescent light bulbs. This type of lamp is traditionally a long glass tube. Inside this tube are an inert gas (usually argon) and a small amount of mercury. It is also coated with phosphor powder. There are electrical circuits at both ends of the tube. Inside the tube are tiny electrodes, essentially the same fibres found in incandescent light bulbs. The outer end of the fluorescent lamp has two contact pins that fit into the ballast. This is what provides power to the lamp.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)

Because these types of lamps aren’t very energy efficient, then came the compact fluorescent bulb. These types of bulbs are a greener option because they use less electricity than the traditional style. As a result, transitioning to CFLs can reduce your facility’s bills in a short amount of time.

LED Lamps

While fluorescent lamps were an improvement in efficiency, the mercury contained inside is an environmental hazard and possibly toxic if the lamp breaks. Even the lamps themselves—both incandescent and fluorescent—were not made out of recyclable materials. What the world needed was a type of lighting innovation that was both energy efficient and environmentally friendly. This brought about the introduction of LED light bulbs.

LED stands for “Light Emitting Diodes.” A diode is a small, semiconductor device. These diodes excite electrons in such a way as to produce light. These little diodes are encased in a plastic bulb that delivers the light in a particular direction. There is no filament, as with incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, and they do not lose heat the way these traditional lamps do (which is what makes them so inefficient).

While the neck of an incandescent lamp is a simple wire and glass filament stand, the neck of an LED bulb contains a small electrical circuit board called the driver. This is what maintains a constant electrical current to the bulbs, as a change in voltage could change the current being supplied to the diodes.

While LEDs lamps are much more efficient—and almost completely made of recyclable materials—their complexity does make them a little more expensive upfront. However, LEDs can easily pay for themselves in energy savings, deciding to switch over a little easier.

Different Means to a Light End

The makeup parts of a lamp differ greatly among bulb types. Each creates light differently. The incandescent lamp heats a filament to produce light. Fluorescent lamps excite mercury. Meanwhile, LED lamps to create light in diodes. They differ in the amount of energy used and the materials that they are constructed with. However, they all have their place in electrical history. Here are some questions to consider before choosing between the different types of light bulbs:

  • Are you looking for lumens or watts?
  • What kind of colour light do you want?
  • Are you looking to save on electricity bills?
  • Do you want bulbs that are versatile with applications?

There are plenty of different methods of lighting. Be sure to do the research beforehand so that you’re choosing the best type of lamp for you.

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