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Rare Earth Elements and Lighting: What You Need to Know

by Chris Weber 8 July, 2011 10:01

If you’ve watched the news recently, you may have heard the controversy surrounding China’s export restrictions on a number of resources, including rare earth elements. What may not be fully clear is how this affects you as a consumer of electronics, and lighting products in particular. We’ve put this together as a quick overview to let you know what’s happening, and what to expect going forward.

First, let’s look at what rare earth elements are, and what they’re used for: Rare earth element is the common name for a set of 17 chemical elements. They are critical in the production and operation of a wide range of consumer electronics, and are also used in the phosphors that create light in a number of different light bulb types, including fluorescent, LED, and mercury vapor.

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Retrofit Kits- The Future is Retro

by Eric Cole 24 June, 2011 10:28

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If you’re still using T12 bulbs to light your business, you’re not alone. However, you may be in for a surprise: The magnetic ballasts used to light many of these bulbs are being phased out and many manufacturers have already discontinued their production, meaning that you’ll need to upgrade sooner rather than later.

The technology that lit the first T12 bulbs over 70 years ago remains basically unchanged today, and there are many ways to light your space more efficiently. T8 and T5 systems can give you similar or even better light output and quality of light, all while saving you a substantial amount in energy costs.

There’s probably a good reason that you’ve stuck with your T12’s. Perhaps the lighting scheme you’re using works well and you’ve never needed or wanted to change your fixtures. Maybe you’ve been concerned about the cost of buying new fixtures, or the disruption to business that would result from installing them. One option is to simply replace the ballast and the bulbs, but while you’re already pulling the fixtures apart, it’s worth considering taking one more step that can really help you save on energy costs.

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An Intro to Induction

by Eric Cole 6 June, 2011 05:41

Lately, a great deal of the discussion around improving general lighting has been focused on LED. This focus is certainly not unwarranted, but it may have come at the expense of a few alternative options that may be better suited for certain applications. One of those options is induction lighting. If you’re lighting a commercial or industrial space and looking for a “set it and forget it” way to save energy, induction is definitely worth considering.

How Induction Works-

Functionally, induction works in a very similar manner to a typical fluorescent bulb. The primary difference is that induction sources do not use electrodes to ignite the lamp. Instead, fluorescent induction bulbs have a large electromagnet, which is usually wrapped around one segment of the bulb. This serves as an induction coil. There is also a pellet of amalgam (composed of solid mercury) inside of the bulb. The induction coil produces a strong magnetic field which travels through the glass and excites the mercury atoms in the amalgam. The mercury atoms emit UV light, which is converted to visible light by the phosphor coating inside of the tube.

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CEO's Take: What the EcoPinion Survey Says About Us, and the Future of Lighting

by Mike Connors 26 May, 2011 05:39

Mike Connors joined the Bulbs.com team in 2000, and was selected as Chief Executive Officer in 2009. Prior to becoming CEO, he spent several years serving as VP of Sales.

The March 2011 EcoPinion survey entitled “Lighting the Path Forward for Greater Energy Efficiency” offers interesting if not insightful commentary regarding the acceptance and usage of energy efficient lighting products by U.S. households.

It’s important to note that at first glance one might believe that a survey conducted by an organization named “Ecoalign” would be slanted in some way toward favorable opinions of energy efficient or green products because the respondents were predominantly environmentalists – This is not the case. The methodology used for the survey used a statistically significant sampling size of respondents who were targeted according to gender, age, census region and ethnicity. The sample was drawn from Survey Sampling International’s SurveySpot online consumer panel, an organization that is highly regarded as a sample provider in the market research industry.

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LED: The Accidental Bug Light

by Bryan Trainor 20 May, 2011 05:19

As the weather gets nicer, people flock to their porches and yards. Unfortunately, so do bugs. If you’re looking to reduce the bugs around your outdoor lights but don’t like the look of yellow bug lights, LED might just be the perfect solution.

Traditional bug lights tend to be identifiable by their yellow color. The reason for this is that traditional bulbs emit light across a wide spectrum, including ultraviolet (UV) light. This light is invisible to humans but is highly attractive to insects. The yellow coating of a bug light is designed to filter out most of this ultraviolet light; they’re not designed to repel insects but to simply be less attractive to them.

In addition to the other benefits LED bulbs offer, most LEDs emit light in a very narrow spectrum and do not emit UV light, and are therefore not attractive to bugs. Many bulbs in our LED lineup are also damp location rated, so they’re ideal for outdoor use as long as they’re not directly exposed to the weather or completely enclosed.

If you want to save energy, increase life, and reduce bugs in your outdoor spaces, LED might just be the right light for you.

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General | Tips and Tricks

A Tale of Two Bulbs: The Importance of Quality in LED Lighting

by Christina Crow-Dufault 14 April, 2011 06:27

When shopping around for LED bulbs, it doesn’t take long to run into huge variances in price, wattage, and guarantees. Lots of people ask about the differences between them. The fact is, while the number of high-quality and high performance LED products is increasing every day, there are quite a few products out there that just aren’t built to perform or to last. 

In terms of technology, an LED bulb shares a lot more in common with a consumer electronics device than it does with a typical filament based light bulb. You wouldn’t have the same expectations of a $30 camera as you would a $300 camera, and that’s a good mindset to have when looking for an LED bulb as well. There are a number of components that are critical to a viable LED lighting product, and any bulb is only as good as its weakest link.

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Interview with Greg Henderson, Roxbury Motel Co-Owner

by Bryan Trainor 20 January, 2011 07:00

Gregory Henderson is co-owner of the Roxbury Motel, located in the Catskill Mountain town of Roxbury, NY. He and his partner Joe Massa's unique approach to contemporary lodging has been featured in a number of publications including New York Magazine, National Geographic Traveler, and Madame, and the Roxbury was called one of the "Grooviest Motels in the U.S." by Daryn Kagen of CNN Live Today.

We asked Greg to sit down with us to discuss the Roxbury Motel, and the role lighting plays in the lodging experience.

Chris Robarge conducted the interview, and is a certified Lighting Specialist and web marketer at Bulbs.com.

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Cooler Than Ever- Halogen IR Bulbs Use Less Energy, Last Longer, Generate Less Heat

by Chris Weber 3 December, 2010 10:15

CFLs and LEDs have generated a lot of attention over the last few years, but they're still not the best fit for every socket. There are some applications, such as those using dimmers, timers, and photo sensors, where halogen bulbs are still the best choice. If you're looking for increased efficiency from these sockets, look no further than halogen infrared.

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Quartz Halogen - Handle With Care!

by Bryan Trainor 18 October, 2010 09:52

Chris Robarge is a web marketer for Bulbs.com, he previously managed the Customer Service department.

 

When I used to work in the Customer Service department here at Bulbs.com, an issue that would come up time and again was customers who were finding that their quartz halogen replacement bulbs did not last as long as they were supposed to. As it turns out, there is a common cause and an easy solution.

 

A common cause of early failure for quartz halogen bulbs is surface contamination, and the most likely source of contamination comes from touching the glass portion of the bulb with bare skin. Even clean skin will leave behind oils. This contamination causes a hot spot when the bulb is operated, which can result in cracks or bubbles that will allow halogen gas to leak out, resulting in early failure.

 

The easiest way to avoid contaminating a quartz halogen bulb is to never touch it with bare skin. Handle the bulb using a rubber glove if possible, a sandwich bag will work if a glove isn't available. If you do touch the bulb accidentally, it's best to clean it thoroughly with rubbing alcohol, as water alone will not remove all of the oils.

 

I hope this simple tip will help you keep your quartz halogen bulbs burning bright. If you've installed your bulb properly and you're still experiencing early failure, get in touch with a Bulbs.com Lighting Specialists by calling 888-455-2800 or emailing customerservice@bulbs.com. There may be a better bulb for the job, and we'll help you find it!

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Tips and Tricks

LED – Is It Right For You?

by Eric Cole 23 September, 2010 05:18

Eric Cole is Bulbs.com's Category Manager for LED lighting products.

 

I know that many of our customers are trying to educate themselves about LED technology. In a sense, most of us in the industry are doing the same thing. LED technology has been around for some time and we at Bulbs.com have been following its progress very closely, but what LED is going to look like as a widespread, effective, and reliable everyday lighting solution is still evolving.  Here are some thoughts on what to look for, and what to look out for, when considering a transition to LEDs.

Let’s look at the benefits

LEDs are most well known for their extremely long life and energy efficiency. LED useful life is based on the number of operating hours until the LED is emitting 70% of its initial light output.  Top quality LEDs in well-designed fixtures are expected to have a useful life of 30,000 to 50,000 hours, significantly higher than the 1,000 hours for a typical incandescent bulb and 8,000 to 10,000 hours for a comparable CFL. LEDs usually don’t “burn out” like incandescent bulbs do.  Instead, they get progressively dimmer over time. This can be helpful in critical lighting areas. They also tend to use less than one-sixth as much energy as their incandescent or halogen counterparts, and 2-3 times less than most CFLs. More...

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