For lots of folks, lightbulbs are lightbulbs. When one is bust, you go to the store, grab a bulb, and head on home. But taking the time to get to know the differences between lightbulbs can slash your power bill and make your home more energy-efficient. We’re here to help y’all choose the best bulb for your home lighting so you can make this easy electrical upgrade yourself!


The OG – Incandescent Bulbs

An incandescent bulb on a white background

The most traditional, the incandescent bulb!

When you think lightbulb, this is probably what you picture as this bulb has been the mainstay for home lighting for quite some time. The iconic wire-thingy in the middle of the glass bulb is a simple filament that is heated by passing electricity across it. This produces light. This bulb gives off a warm, cozy light and is dimmable, making it pretty appealing.

Here’s the thing y’all, this bulb takes a lot of energy and heat. So, regularly replacing an incandescent lightbulb can’t be avoided. Here are a few more facts for you to consider about this bulb:

  • The lifespan of an incandescent bulb is around 1200 hours.
  • Incandescent bulbs produce a large amount of ultraviolet (UV) and infra-red (IR) radiation. This can damage the material on your upholstery and affect colors.
  • The thin glass they’re made of can break quite easily.

The Curvaceous – CFL Bulbs

a CFL bulb on a white background

The swirly CFL bulb!

CFLs or “compact fluorescent bulbs” are the bulbs that have the unmistakable swirled bulb shape. These work differently than the incandescent bulbs in that they drive an electric current through a tube containing argon and mercury vapor, instead of running an electric current through a wire filament. The CFL bulb creates ultraviolet light first, which quickly translates into visible light.

There are quite a few things going for this bulb. They are quiet to run, last longer than incandescent bulbs, and are only a dollar cheaper per bulb. We don’t want you to make any hasty decisions though, so here are a few more facts you should know:

  • The lifespan of a CFL bulb is around 8000 hours.
  • CFL bulbs can take a few moments to warm up and reach full brightness. Because of its process to create light, you won’t get a lot of light as soon as you flip your switch.
  • A CFL bulb contains a small amount of mercury inside it. While not extremely dangerous, there is a risk of potential exposure if the bulb is to break. This also makes the bulb a little more complicated to dispose of (don’t just chuck this in the trash).

The Green Machine – LED bulbs

An LED bulb on a white background

An energy-saving LED bulb!

LEDs or “light-emitting diodes” used to be most commonly found in electronic displays, but we’re living in the future now y’all! LED bulbs work by bringing together currents with a positive and negative charge to create energy that’s released as light. Just like the incandescent bulb, LED lights are instantaneous and can be dimmed.

Unlike the incandescent bulb, this light is way more energy-efficient and last a lot longer. These bulbs are also commonly used for “smart” applications, so they can be hooked up to apps on your phone to be able to change brightness and even color. Here are a few more things for you to consider about these bulbs:

  • The lifespan of an LED bulb is anywhere from 20000 to 50000 hours.
  • LED bulbs can save up to 80% of energy compared to incandescent bulbs.
  • LED bulbs are more expensive than incandescent or CFL bulbs, but only by a few dollars.

Choosing the Right Bulb for an Electrical Upgrade

The big question for you now is which bulb do you choose? There’re a few factors to consider to make your electrical upgrade just right for you.

  • Brightness and color: Not all bulbs are created equal. Some give off a warmer light, some a whiter light, and some you can change the color to fit your mood! Depending on what you like, you should take that into account when picking your bulb.
  • Cost and lifespan: LEDs and CFLs seem expensive, but in the long run they’re actually more cost-effective. If you want a lightbulb that will last and last so you don’t have to worry about it, LED bulbs will be your new best friend.
  • Shape and light fittings: The shape of the bulb will determine the direction of light emitted, so keep that in mind when picking out a bulb. Also, different bulbs require different fittings. Depending on your existing fittings, you will need to choose a bulb that will fit.


Speck is Always Here to Shine a Light on Electrical Issues

An electrical upgrade may seem small, but it can impact you in a major way, like saving you thousands of dollars over the years. Speck Family Electric will always be here to shine a light on electrical issues so you can get home electrical tips from us and fix it yourself, or call us in to fix them for you!

We’re always here to help our beloved Tennessee homeowners. We service those in Sparta, Chattanooga, Cookeville, Crossville, Gallatin, Lebanon, McMinnville, Mount Juliet, Murfreesboro, and Smithville.