Anonymous asked in Home & GardenOther - Home & Garden · 8 months ago

How does light bulb brightness work?

We've always just used standard bulbs, but nowadays they never last very long, and a

ll the lamps and lampshades in the house say "max 60 watts" but 60 is often not bright enough.

I'd like to know are there other types of light bulbs we can use that are brighter than a standard 60w bulb that we can use instead? I know other types exist, but will they negatively affect the "max. 60 watt" lamps?

8 Answers

  • elhigh
    Lv 7
    8 months ago
    Favourite answer

    The wattage limit on a fixture is talking about heat, not brightness.  The heat emitted by a typical incandescent 60 watt bulb is what that fixture is designed to tolerate.

    But new bulbs like compact fluorescents (CF) or LEDs can be VERY bright while still using far less than the rated maximum wattage of the fixture.

    Those old bulbs do their thing by getting white hot - literally.  60 watts = about 240 BTU, a not-insignificant amount of heat.  And a 60w incandescent emits about 800 lumens of light.

    To get 800 lumens from a CF you will need a lamp that consumes about 15 watts and radiates, at most, about 50 BTU of heat.  You are well within the fixture's tolerance.

    Not bright enough?  You could screw in a "100w equivalent" or even brighter LED, get as much as 1500 lumens - you're now about twice as bright as the original, wasteful incandescent lamp - still consuming less than 20 watts, still emitting only about 50 BTU of heat.  And you can choose "color temperature" to suit you.  If you prefer the somewhat mellower, yellower tones of incandescent lamps simply choose a warmer temperature that is at the, ironically, lower end of the spectrum, 2200-2700K.  "Cooler" colors that are whiter start around 4000K.

    None of this will negatively affect your fixture in any way.  Drawing less electricity, emitting less heat, these newer, more efficient lighting choices will allow you to continue to use your old fixtures with a much greater margin of safety than ever before.

  • Anonymous
    8 months ago

    I run 100w LED lamps in shades rated for 60W - LEDs run much cooler and are not the fire risk that incandescent lamps used to be. What you really need to know about is lumens and you get 800 of those from an LED 60 W equivalent but twice that (1600 lumens) from a 100W equivalent

  • 8 months ago

    the light level varies by turning the voltage down or up

  • Anonymous
    8 months ago

    Get yourself a screw in LED bulb That's rated at a hundred Watts. It puts off the same light as a hundred watt bulb but it only uses about 25 watts. So it won't heat up the socket. You can also do the same thing with the screw in fluorescent bulbs if it says 100 Watts worth of light you'll still get the light but it will use way less than a hundred Watts. That's the advantage to using those LED and those fluorescent bulbs they put out the same amount of light and they don't use as much power they won't heat up the socket.

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  • 8 months ago

    Watts only describes how much electricity a bulb uses. It really doesn't say much about the brightness of the bulb. For that, you need to check how many lumens the bulb is said to put out. That isn't usually on the bulb but is often on the package, though it's sometimes not given at all. A higher number of lumens means more light.

    If your fixture can only take a bulb of up to 60 watts but you can't find an incandescent bulb that gives enough light, consider an LED bulb. A 17 watt LED is equivalent in light output to a 100 watt incandescent and will probably give twice as much light as a bright 60W incandescent. They cost more to buy, but are much cheaper to operate and last a long long time.

    The other thing to consider is the 'colour temperature' the bulb gives. That is expressed in Kelvin units. The higher the Kelvin rating, the cooler or whiter the light is. A standard incandescent bulb is around 2700 to 3000K, fairly warm or yellow. If you go up to 5000K, that's a very white light, almost blue. For general room lighting the warmer colours are more pleasing. For task lighting, for seeing detail, a whiter light might be more what's wanted.

  • 8 months ago

    100 watt equivalent LED uses only 19 watts, will not overheat your lamp

  • 8 months ago

    The 60 watts is based on incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs may indicate a 60 watt equivalent but actually use less than 10 watts and are OK. Look at the packaging of an LED bulb for the actual watts used.

  • Mark
    Lv 7
    8 months ago

    LEDs and "compact fluorescent" bulbs last quite a bit longer than incandensencent, and they use less energy and are cool.

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