Incandescent Bulb

Incandescent Lighting

Most household illumination, (around 85% to be exact) comes from incandescent lights, though it is the least energy efficient.

They operate by heating a thin filament wire with an electric current until it glows. The hot filament is covered by a glass bulb which protects the filament from oxidation in the air.

They light up instantly, providing a warm light and excellent color rendition. You can also dim them. However, incandescent lamps have a low efficacy compared to other lighting options (10–17 lumens per watt) and a short average operating life (750–2500 hours).

Since the technology involved in producing incandescent bulbs is nothing new, they are very inexpensive to purchase. However it is important to note that because of their inefficiency (most of the energy produced is wasted as heat and not as light), they’re more expensive to operate and maintain than newer lighting types such as CFL and LEDs.


There are three common types of incandescent light bulbs:

  • Standard incandescent

  • Energy-saving or halogen

  • Reflector


Known as the screw-in "A"-type light bulb, standard incandescent bulbs are the most common -- and most inefficient -- light source available. These bulbs produce light from a tiny coil of tungsten wire that glows when it is heated by an electrical current.

Larger wattage incandescent bulbs have a higher efficacy than smaller wattage bulbs. However, a larger wattage bulb may not be the most energy- or cost-effective option, depending on how much light you need.

"Long-life" bulbs, with thicker filaments, are a variation of these A-type bulbs. Although these bulbs last longer than their counterparts, they are less energy efficient.



Halogen lamps -- a type of incandescent lighting with a capsule that holds gas around the filaments -- are more energy efficient than standard incandescent bulbs. They also provide excellent color rendition.

Halogens are a little more expensive than incandescents, but are less expensive to operate because of their higher efficacy. They are commonly used in reflectors such as indoor and outdoor flood lighting, indoor recessed and track fixtures, and floor and desk lamps.

Some halogen bulbs are dimmable, as indicated on the package, and are compatible with timers and other lighting controls.


Reflector bulbs (Type R) spread and direct light over specific areas. They are used mainly for floodlighting, spotlighting, and downlighting.

There are two types of reflector lamps:

  • Parabolic aluminized reflector lamps (Type PAR) are used for a number of applications, including outdoor floodlighting.

  • Ellipsoidal reflector lamps (Type ER) focus light beams about 2 inches in front of its enclosure, projecting light down from recessed fixtures. Ellipsoidal reflectors are twice as energy efficient as parabolic reflectors for recessed fixtures. 

Street Application Every Day Applications

When considering incandescent lighting it is important to remember its main features:

  • Inexpensive.

  • Easy to find.

  • Ballast-less.

  • Great color rendition.

But what does that all mean for the end user? For the homeowner?

It is simple: lighting has moved a lot and made some dramatic changes throughout the years. Though many of the newer lights have been invented to be more energy efficient, but the materials required in their manufacturing increases their costs. Some lamps, such as mercury vapor and fluorescents have mercury in them which could expose one to potentially harmful mercury if the lights are broken. Incandescent lamps do not use mercury and they are the cheapest bulbs which can be purchased. The initial costs of incandescent is just pennies per piece, unlike other lamps which might cost several dollars per bulb.

Jademar Corporation not only carries, but is more than willing to help you choose the correct form of lighting for your home or business. If incandescent is the one for you: Jademar Corporation can help!


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