Most consumers don’t give a tremendous amount of thought to the subject of light bulbs. Most people simply take light bulbs for granted until they burn out. If bulbs had brains, they’d probably be thinking, “That’s right! Remember me? I’ll show you that you really need me!” It’s true, when a bulb burns out in your home you probably spring into action immediately. It’s especially important to keep outdoor lighting shining brightly, because outdoor lights serve as crime deterrents. Besides convenience and security, long-lasting bulbs are preferable because it’s no fun having to climb up a ladder to change a bulb in the ceiling.
Incandescent light bulbs are those common, garden-variety light bulbs that most people reach for when they need to buy replacement bulbs. These bulbs generate light when electricity activates the filament within and causes it to illuminate. The benefits of these bulbs are that they are easy to find and, depending on how they are used, they can last a long time. In fact, one incandescent bulb in a California fire house has lasted 110 years without burning out! The reason is that it has been turned off a scant few times in its century-plus lifespan. Most people turn bulbs on and off to save energy and because they desire darkness. With typical use, incandescent bulbs last an average of 750 to 1,000 hours.
Technically speaking, halogen bulbs are incandescent. But they’re more durable than the standard Thomas Edison-style incandescent bulbs. The difference is that their filaments are made out of the extremely durable metal tungsten. They may last as long as 3,500 hours.
Halogen bulbs’ longevity may sound impressive, but its no match for Xenon. You can reasonably expect them to last up to 20,000 hours. However, you will pay a premium for this durability.
You may not be a huge fan of the green-hued glow that fluorescent bulbs cast on many objects. But you’ll likely appreciate the fact that they often last up to 20,000 hours at a fraction of the cost of the equally long-lasting Xenon bulbs. Why do they last so long? Fluorescent do not have fragile filaments. Instead, they rely on electricity reacting with various gases to create light.
Light-emitting Diodes (LEDs)
Like fluorescent, LEDs don’t have filaments. Instead, they create light via negatively charged semiconductors that generate photons. Relax: you don’t have to understand the technology to benefit from its solid longevity. Typically, you can expect and LED to last as long as 50,000 hours. Before you fall off of your chair in disbelief, here’s the downside. As time goes by, the brightness of the light it generates fades. But, that takes time. By year 5, most LEDs are still generating about 70 percent of their original output.