What are the different types of light bulb available and which are the most energy efficient?

Consider changing your bulbs rather than your light fittings, as an easy way to improve your lighting and possibly reduce your bills.

You should always make sure any new bulbs you buy are compatible with your current fitting and are not likely to overload your electrics. If you fit a bulb with high wattage and your light fitting isn't compatible, it could end up costing you money.

Traditional GLS tungsten filament bulbs have now been phased out, as they are not energy efficient. Halogen bulbs, although slightly more energy efficient, were also phased out a few years ago. 

There are now three main types of energy saving bulbs available:

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) These are the most energy efficient and long-lasting lights. However, they may be slightly more expensive than other bulbs and only certain LED bulbs work in light fittings with a dimmer switch, so always check the packaging.

Compact fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) These were the most common energy saving bulbs (before LEDs), but are less popular, as they can take awhile to reach full light after being switched on. These bulbs also tend not to dim well and may flicker as they dim. Some CFL bulbs also work poorly in cold temperatures. 

‘Linear’ fluorescent bulbs Modern fluorescent bulbs have come a long way and don't flicker like they used to, they also work with appropriate dimmer switches. Although they are not as energy efficient as the other two bulbs, they are still up to seven times more energy efficient and can last up to eight times longer, than the traditional filament bulbs that have been phased out.

Old style linear fluorescent bulbs are gradually being phased out (September 2023) and compact fluorescent bulbs (although low energy bulbs) may stop being produced in the future. You can still use them, but they will become less available.

LEDs (although they could cost more at the outset) are usually most peoples first choice, as they are more energy efficient (saving you money on your bills) and last five times longer than the old traditional style bulbs.

Further information on lighting and how to improve the lighting in your home can be found on the Thomas Pocklington Trust website.

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