Consider Your Light Bulb Wattage

March 11, 2011

As a lampshade professional, I see many worn out lampshades every day.  I also see lamp sockets that are charred from heat.  One of the main causes of this deterioration is age of course.  With daily use, we can’t expect fabric shades or electrical sockets to last forever.  But high wattage bulbs are also a factor. 

Consider the wattage of bulbs you are using, depending on your lighting needs.  For reading, a 3-way bulb up to 150 watts should be enough.  Turn it up when you are reading, then turn it down when you are done.  If 150w is not enough, consider a lighter shade or even a second lamp.  The lining of older hardback shades turn yellow, and decreases the light through and below the shade.  A second lamp in the room can not only add light but distribute it more effectively. 

For general lighting, especially the lamp that’s on a timer every day, use a lower wattage (60 or less) to preserve the shade and the socket.  For a lamp that’s used for ambiance or as a nighlight, try even lower wattages.   

Of course new compact flourescent (CFL) bulbs are a step in the right direction, since they are cooler and use less energy.  I like the “soft white” CFLs for most areas of the home.  Their color is warmer and more pleasing for residential use.  Brighter whites can be used in work spaces such as offices and kitchens.

So check your bulbs throughout the house,and consider where and how you use them.  If you need new lampshades, or a new socket in your lamps, come see me.  And don’t forget to bring your lamps!


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