Even as a NAILD certified Lighting Specialist 1, lighting can be confusing. There are so many considerations to keep in mind when choosing the appropriate lighting for a room. This became evident when my husband and I were at a restaurant this week and I was introduced to the wife of someone my husband knew. When she found out we were in the lighting business she had a question for me. They are in the process of remodeling their kitchen and is wanting to create a light fixture out of old metal egg baskets. She was curious as to the best light source to use.
The pros and cons of the incandescent: this is what you might consider the typical light bulb. Using this bulb you have total bulb illumination, so some of the light will be going thru the basket and creating a shadow on the ceiling. If you want to use a shade inside the basket to prevent this you need to be aware that 90% of the energy in this light source is given off as heat, so it will need to be an appropriate material. This light source has the shortest life of the others and therefore you will need to get the ladder out to change this more often. A plus for this light source is that if you want to use a dimmer it will work well.
CFL’s or Compact Fluorescent Lights – these are the curly q's. This is my least favorite light source for use inside a home, as it has a warm up and cool down time, which means that when you turn them on they are not bright immediately and are not dark immediately when turned off. A major consideration for where you use this lamp. It also would cast shadows on the ceiling and does not dim successfully. This light source is best when it is left on for several hours at a time as frequent on and offs will shorten the life. This light source contains mercury so you need to be careful if it breaks as well as with the disposal of this lamp.
LED’s- this light source is changing almost daily. You can get this lamp with the diodes projected in the direction you are wanting so it won’t cast a shadow on the ceiling. In an exposed fixture you will want to consider the “look” of the light, they are now coming out with LED’s that resemble the A19 standard shape of the incandescent. LED’s may not dim successfully with a standard dimmer, and unlike the incandescent when dimmed the light “color” may not change to a warmer hue. The LED is a great source of light to be able to install and leave it, as it has a long life. The LED lamp likes a cooler environment, the light will be brighter and life longer, the life will be shortened substantially if used in an area with excessive heat.
These are just a few of the basic considerations, although important things to think about as you install new or replace existing lighting. Cost for most of us is also a consideration with LED’s being more of an upfront investment although they will save you on replacement costs as well as energy charges. I didn’t have a simple answer for her when she asked, hopefully I did give her some things to consider.