LIGHTING AND ELECTRICAL
Beacon carries hundreds of light bulbs, including LEDs, CFLs, halogens, fluorescents and incandescents. We also carry a plethora of electrical parts, from outlets to switches to gang boxes, just to name a few. We also carry light fixtures, and through our suppliers, can obtain for you anything from the simplest porcelain pull-chain fixture to fancy pedants, sconces and ceiling fixtures. Scroll down for a handy explanation of different types of bulbs.
You can check out our suppliers' catalogs right here. Please call for price and availability.
It's been about five months since the ban on incandescent light bulbs went into effect. Before you head to the lighting aisle for a replacement (where you might be confused by the variety of options, here's everything you need to know.
Halogens, CFLs, LEDs? What does it all mean?
Halogens look the most like the incandescent bulbs, but they offer the least value. CFLs have been around a while and offer a good value in regards to lumen output and life. And while today's CFLs have solved some of the issues from when they first came out 15 to 20 years ago, there are still some drawbacks. For example, their light makes colors appear dull and unnatural. They also take a while to turn on and do not dim, or dim poorly, with visible flickering. CFL bulbs also contain mercury, which can be dangerous if broken and are difficult to dispose of when they burn out. LEDs offer good light output and longer life, however they still cost more than the CFL options, [though] prices are steadily falling and will continue to do so as the technology improves. Unlike CFLs, the LED bulb is dimmable, allowing you to adjust the light for the mood, and it does not contain mercury.
This Lightbulb Guide Will Tell You the Difference Between CFLs, LEDs & Halogens
Most of us know how the old watt measurements work (and how they look in a particular space), but how is the luminosity of the new bulbs measured? Is there an easy way to convert watts to lumens?
In short, yes. And here's an easy infographic from the FTC to prove it.
Typically, a CFL or LED use about 75 to 80 percent less watts than the corresponding incandescent bulb. Also, most manufacturers disclose on the packaging what the bulb's incandescent equivalent would be, making it even easier to find the right bulb, so you don't have to do any calculations. A good CFL or LED uses 65 to 70+ lumens per watt vs. incandescents, which were around 15 lumens per watt. Which type of bulbs do you want to consider for different parts of the house (i.e. kitchen, bathroom vanity, bedroom, etc.) and why are they a better choice in those areas?.
CFLs come in all shapes and sizes. For example, you can get a CFL globe for the bath vanity, which matches the old incandescent globes in size, looks, and light output. For recessed cans, which you might have in your kitchen or basement, floodlights are available in both CFLs and LEDs. LEDs also come in a variety of shapes -- including chandelier size -- and that selection is growing every day. How long do these new bulbs last compared to the old ones?.
CFLs are usually rated for 8000 to 12000 hours of life versus incandescents, which were in the 750-1000 hours range. Decorative incandescent and floodlights were rated 1500 to 2000 hours, a little longer, but still not up to CFL standards. LEDs are rated even longer -- typically 25,000 hours -- which translates to more than 20 years with average use at about three hours a day.
If you're still confused, you'll find most of what you need to know right on the light bulb label. Here's how to read it...
Table of Electrical Outlets and Adapter Plugs
The main types of electrical plugs that are used around the world are listed below. You can click on the illustration to view a larger picture and a listing of countries where that type of plug is used. Note: the illustrations below are not to scale. Also, the labels (type A, B, etc.) used by my principal source listed below are not any type of standard nomenclature; labels and descriptions used by various vendors may differ.
Electrical Adapter Plug and Electric Converter Information
An adaptor will allow you to plug an appliance designed for one type of outlet into another type of outlet. Despite the fact that more than a dozen different types of plugs are in use, a typical travel adaptor kit usually contains about five adaptors which are capable of dealing with most of the outlets shown here. Adaptors often manage this versatility by bypassing the ground/earth wire.
Is this a good idea? Maybe, but not necessarily. Not all appliances need to be grounded/earthed, and for short-term activities like running a portable computer and recharging batteries, the adaptor's convenience usually outweighs any potential safety concerns that might be caused by not using the ground/earth connection. For appliances that require grounding/earthing, and for long-term hookups, you should obtain an adaptor that allows you to use the ground/earth wire. Grounding adaptors could be more expensive and may be more difficult to find prior to reaching your destination, but should be available locally (at your destination) at hardware or electronics stores.
Remember: an adaptor by itself will not change the electrical voltage. You must be sure that your appliance can handle different voltages (either automatically or through a voltage switch). If it can't, you will need a voltage converter.