Choosing a light bulb

Choosing a light bulb is something that people don’t think twice
about. You have a pack of four or six bulbs you bought a year ago
and still haven’t used. So you pick one out and screw it. Pretty
simple. As long as it illuminates the room, who cares how many
watts it is.
But exceeding the wattage for that particular outlet can be a
fire hazard.
Choosing a light bulb is something that people don’t think twice about. You have a pack of four or six bulbs you bought a year ago and still haven’t used. So you pick one out and screw it. Pretty simple. As long as it illuminates the room, who cares how many watts it is.

But exceeding the wattage for that particular outlet can be a fire hazard.

A common misconception is that the amount of watts a light has affects how bright it is. But that is not always the case. A watt is the amount of power required for a bulb, while the light it gives off is measured in lumens.

Home improvement lecturer and writer Owen Whetzel, in his column on the Orchard Supply Hardware Web site www.osh.com, recommends not placing a 100-watt bulb in a 60-watt socket. But he says that a 75-watt bulb in the same socket would be fine. There are devices to check the wattage for a socket, but you should be able to find the requirements on the socket or in the manual.

Generally you want to replace a light bulb with the same type as was previously there.

The least expensive and most common type of bulbs are the incandescent bulbs, which usually range from 15 to 150 watts. Another popular type are fluorescent or compact fluorescent bulbs, which can be more expensive but can last many times longer.

For more information on choosing a bulb, visit homerepair.about.com, www.lowes.com or www.osh.com.

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a weekly series of home improvement tips. Each Wednesday, we’ll break down a home improvement task for you – from the best way to hang a picture to refinishing you kitchen cabinets. If there is anything you would like covered, give us a call at (408) 842-9505 or e-mail [email protected] We’ll try to track down the answer for you. Also, if you have a special home improvement tip or technique that works for you, feel free to share it with others. Let us know what troubles or solutions you may have.

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