Changing A Light Bulb!!
16th May 2011
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Changing a Light Bulb is not Easy - Hints from HDL Audio Visual Services


You switch on the light – there is a pop and it goes out again – another failed bulb to be replaced! However, if you have been used to using the traditional mushroom shaped incandescent bulbs and your system is set up for them, you may not now be able to find a new bulb of the sort you have always bought, because of environmental concerns and EU regulations. Frosted glass incandescent bulbs of all wattages and 100w clear glass incandescent bulbs have been banned from manufacture since September 2009 and, for practical purposes are not now available. The manufacture of 75w incandescents was banned in September 2010, and that of 60w is due to stop in September 2011, with 40w and 25w ending in September 2012.


The 60w size is probably the most popular, and at the moment it is quite difficult to find these in the traditional mushroom shape, although some retailers are still selling mini globe and candle versons. These are classed as 'decorative' lighting and seem to be being treated less stringently that the mainstream types – they are of course more expensive. It is reasonable to assume that within the next 2 years the supply of all ordinary incandescent bulbs will dry up.


The nearest alternatives are Halogen Lamps, which are now available in sizes and shapes to fit  traditional light fittings. These use similar tungsten filaments to the traditional bulbs, but they are surrounded by halogen gas, which enables the filament to light up more efficiently. They are more expensive than the traditional bulbs, but they use less power and last longer so this should compensate over time.


More energy efficient are Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). These have been developed relatively recently and are still being improved. These are, as the name implies, compact versions of the traditional fluorescent lights that everyone knows, in a form that will fit in with and be operated from existing light fittings. They use less energy than incandescent bulbs (including halogen bulbs) and are claimed to have a longer life, although this does not apply if they are used in situations where they are frequently switched on and off. They are, however, quite a bit more expensive to buy, and some cannot be used with dimmer switches. They are becoming a little less unsightly and the light quality is gradually being improved. Other disadvantages are that they take time to warm up, they can be noisy and flickery and decline in light levels towards the end of their life.


From an energy saving point of view the best alternative is LED (light emitting diode) lighting. LED lights are now available which can be screwed or plugged into traditional fittings. Some older or more specialist types require transformers, but the more recent standard (240v rated) versions do not. Most commercially available brands individually produce relatively low light levels and therefore need to be installed in banks. They are expensive to buy but have a long working life. Some will not work with dimmers. Again, better versions of these are being developed all the time.


Whatever you choose, remember to check whether your fitting takes screw cap or bayonet cap bulb ends and get the right sort – it can be frustrating, having negotiated the minefield of different technologies, to get home and find you have the wrong sort of bulb end – the packaging is almost identical.


About the Author

Gill and Phil C

Member since: 9th July 2012

Hi, We are Phil and Gill Chappell. We own the Best of Henley-on-Thames. We live in Henley so would love to hear your views and opinions about all things Henley.

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