What do you know about energy-saving light bulbs? In addition to the fact that they save electricity, of course. Today, such lamps are quite popular, they are much more economical than incandescent lamps and are competitive with LED lamps. Let’s consider the technical characteristics of energy-saving lamps to understand what criteria to pay attention to when buying.
External characteristics and principle of operation
In terms of size, such bulbs are slightly larger than ordinary incandescent bulbs. Energy-saving ones give much more light, the level of which can be adjusted to a greater extent using the color of the material from which the chandelier, sconce or any other lighting device is made, since the color temperature range is quite small.
Most often, spiral-shaped bulbs are found, but there are also U-shaped ones. If we consider the first case, then the walls of the spiral are covered from the inside with phosphor, and they are soldered at the ends of the tube.
The principle of operation of an energy-saving lamp corresponds to the principle of operation of the currently popular fluorescent light bulb. It consists of a special bulb and an adjusting element. The main difference between these devices is that the energy-saving lamp has an electronic and built-in ballast.
It is not uncommon to find indignation about the negative impact of these lamps on vision in the spaces of the Internet. Mainly we are talking about ultraviolet radiation, which comes from such a lamp. When a high voltage is detected on the ESL, a glow discharge in mercury vapor begins to act inside the bulb. It is mercury atoms that emit UV light. However, its high damage is debatable.
Marking of energy-saving light bulbs
What is lamp marking? These are the numbers and letters that are indicated on the plinth and which are extremely difficult to understand if you are not sufficiently educated in this field. We will teach you how to decipher ESL markings.
So, to begin with, let’s decipher the letters:
- L – luminescent;
- B – pronounced white color;
- TV – warm white;
- D – daytime chroma;
- C – with improved color rendering;
- E – with improved environmental friendliness.
This is the so-called domestic marking. The international marking is deciphered as follows:
- the first number in the code is the color rendering index (we will talk about what it is a little later);
- the next two numbers are the color temperature. It can be from 27 to 65, the higher the number, the colder the color of the bulb.
Characteristics of energy-saving lamps – choose wisely
When you look at the packaging of a light bulb, no matter how much information is indicated there, but without knowing what all these parameters mean, it is almost impossible to make the right choice. And not at all because there are many low-quality products on the market, but because the lamp needs to be selected according to the characteristics of the room where it will be used.
Perhaps, one of the most important and significant parameters. The greater the power, the brighter the light of the lamp. However, do not forget that the amount of consumed electricity also tends to increase.
- Color temperature
It is worth distinguishing this term from the same power. If the previous parameter provided only the brightness of the lighting, then the color temperature is an indicator of the shade of the lamp that we see. This parameter is measured in Kelvin. The higher the indicator, the colder the color. The maximum color temperature in ESL is 5000 K, the minimum is 2700 K. If you are looking for a light bulb for an ordinary room or living room, it is better to choose a device with average numbers, approximately 3500 K. But for the office, in order to create a business working atmosphere, ESL is used with a color temperature, close to 5000 BC
- Light flux
This parameter is measured in lumens. This indicator indicates the “dispersion” of light. That is, how much light the bulb emits. The disadvantage of ESL is that over time, this indicator rapidly decreases and the lighting in the room becomes dimmer.
- Light output
The same indicator indicates how efficiently and productively the light bulb will work. And to be more precise, the luminous efficiency shows how much light the device produces for each Watt of energy consumed. Based on this parameter, you will be able to calculate whether it is really so profitable to buy ESL.
At the same time, it should be remembered that high radiation power is not a guarantee of bright lighting, because there can be a different ratio of ordinary and ultraviolet light, and the latter is not perceived by the human eye. To calculate the light output, you need to divide the power by the spectral composition of the lamp.
- Illumination level
A parameter that includes many other indicators. The level of illumination depends on the power of the ESL, the distance of the light bulb to the illuminated surface, as well as the specular properties of this surface. In addition to the above, there are a number of other factors that affect the level of illumination, all of which should undoubtedly be taken into account. The level of illumination itself is measured in lux. In fact, this parameter is the ratio between the power of 1 km and the illuminated surface, the area of which is 1 sq m. The level of illumination of 200 lux is considered normal.
- Color rendering index
The same mysterious term mentioned above. In fact, this is a relative value. The color rendering index is a parameter that indicates how correctly and naturally the colors of all illuminated objects are transmitted. The color rendering index largely depends on the light flux, the illumination spectrum. Ideally, this parameter is equal to 100 Ra. However, it is quite common to find ESL models in which this parameter is reduced by almost half. It is better to abandon such devices. Lighting comfortable for human vision has a color rendering index of 80 to 100 Ra.
- The diameter of the bulb
There are ESLs of various sizes. The diameter of the bulbs is 7, 9, 12 and 17 mm. The size of the light bulb should be chosen taking into account the size of the lamp and the interior of the room, also do not forget that the level of illumination of the room depends to some extent on this.
In terms of shape, such bulbs can be spiral or U-shaped. Spiral can consume from 3 to 85 watts. U-shaped ones have 3, 4 and 6 arcs. Judging from the outside, spiral bulbs seem a little smaller, but in fact, the brightness and saturation of light from them is similar. Appearance is not a factor in any way affecting the functionality of the device. But prices for spiral ESLs are slightly higher, as their production technology is more complex.
- Base type
In ESL, there are also different types of plinths. They are:
- bulb – are tube lamps with a rotating base;
- Edison socket – ESL with a threaded connection system to the power supply, such a socket is considered standard;
- contact – ESL, which are connected to the cartridge with the help of special plugs, through which contact is established with both the high-voltage and low-voltage networks;
- extremely rare, but still there are soffit, pin and focus plinths.
Term of service
The manufacturer determines the service life by the number of hours the lamp must work. In practice, many have been convinced more than once that the number indicated on the package must be reduced by at least a quarter in order to get the real indicator. However, no matter how many rumors go around that the service life of ESLs is often overestimated, they still work several times longer than ordinary incandescent lamps.
It’s no secret that there is mercury inside the ESL bulb. It is this substance that provides energy savings to a greater extent. However, the words about the huge harm of mercury contained in light bulbs clearly exaggerate the real situation. The essence of ESL work is the burning of mercury vapor. VAPORS, not concentrated mercury itself. One lamp contains no more than 3.5 mg of mercury. Of course, you yourself are able to judge the effect of such a quantity of this substance on the human body, but for comparison, 1 meter of thermometer contains from 1200 to 1950 mg of mercury. There is a difference, isn’t there?
It turns out that for the manufacture of one thermometer we will need about 900 ESL of mercury. Of course, we cannot rule out the fact that there are also unscrupulous manufacturers who do not control the amount of mercury in the light bulb, where the norm of this substance is exceeded. However, if we talk about high-quality ESL, then you can use it without fear of being inspired by mercury.
It’s up to you to buy an incandescent lamp for the fourth time in a year or buy an energy-efficient one and forget about it. However, if you are still inclined to the second option, approach the choice of device with maximum care.