Choosing Energy Saving Light Bulbs

Energy saving lamps

Energy saving lamps will save you money because they cost less to run and need to be replaced less frequently than ordinary light bulbs.

They work in the same way that a fluorescent tube works. An electric current is passed through the gas filled glass bulb which causes the coating inside to glow brightly and fluoresce. Because these bulbs don’t contain an electric filament they stay cool when lit, unlike tungsten bulbs where the filament can reach 2000ºC. Because energy is used to generate light, rather than heat, they are up to 80% cheaper to run.

Although the initial cost for the bulb is more expensive, these bulbs save money in the long run especially when used in areas of the home where the lights will be left on for long periods, such as hallways and landings.

Temperatures below zero can adversely affect the bulbs performance so steer clear of using them in the colder parts of your home.

Do energy saving bulbs take longer to light up?

A common complaint is that energy saving light bulbs do not light up instantaneously and the light is sometimes dimmer. The slight delay in lighting up is because the coating inside the tube takes a short while to start fluorescing or glowing and reach full brightness - unlike a tungsten bulb where the filament lights up the moment it’s switched on. These bulbs are being constantly developed and the ‘lag’ is getting less and less noticeable in newer bulbs.

Choosing the right energy saving bulb

Low energy lamps are available with a traditional bulb shape or a mini-tube shape where the bulb is made up of one or more mini tubes.-Both bulb styles operate in the same way and use the same amount of energy, it’s just a matter of taste which one you prefer the look of.

Recycling energy saving lamps

Although the amount of mercury in a low energy bulb could fit on the tip of a ballpoint pen, because of its hazardous nature, used low-energy bulbs need to be recycled rather than put in the bin. At Ryness, we are please to recycle any of your old light bulbs. Click here for details.

What wattage?

The higher the wattage the more light the bulb will produce and the more power it consumes. Wattage is not a measure of brightness because different bulb types are more or less efficient in converting electrical power into light, however, if you have two bulbs that are the same shape, style and brand and one has a higher wattage than the other, then it will be brighter.

When replacing standard tungsten bulbs with low energy bulbs, the following chart will help you to select the correct wattage bulb.

Know your wattage
Energysaver = Standard
9w 40w
11 & 12w 60w
18 & 20w 100w
25w 125w
30w 150w


Doesn't switching lights on and off use more energy than leaving them running?
In normal household use, switching a low energy bulb on and off shouldn’t shorten its life, however leaving it on for a stabilising period of 10-15 minutes will help it last as long as possible. Traditional light bulbs should be switched off every time you leave a room unoccupied as in the UK £140 million a year is wasted by leaving lights on unnecessarily.

Do traditional bulbs give a better quality of light?
For technical reasons, the glass used in the manufacture of household energy saving light bulbs has to be opaque, not transparent like that used in many traditional bulbs. It’s therefore not a fair comparison to compare the light emitted from an opaque bulb with that of a clear bulb. When like for like are compared you won’t see a difference in brightness.

Can I use a low energy bulb with a dimmer switch?
Sometimes. Most energy saving bulbs aren't fully compatible with dimmer switch circuits and fitting one will cause the bulb to flicker continuously. Ryness stock a good range of dimmable energy saving light bulbs.

Are traditional tungsten bulbs being banned?
There is a government proposal for a voluntary phasing out of the traditional light bulb between now and 2011 to give retailers time to develop replacement products.

Energy efficient lighting
As energy efficient light bulbs are available in a huge range of different sizes, wattages and styles, any light fitting, once fitted with these bulbs, can be deemed energy efficient. Some lighting ranges come complete with energy saving lamps fitted as standard.

Ryness tips

'Some mini-tube bulbs are a little longer than ordinary energy efficient lamps and may look unsightly if they are visible either above or below a shade. If this is the case a more traditional shaped low energy bulb may look more attractive.’