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How do you choose replacement light bulbs?

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Quick Answer

Choose replacement light bulbs based on the maximum wattage a light fixture takes. Choosing a bulb in which the wattage is too high may result in a fire hazard or damage to the fixture, notes Thomas Lighting.

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Full Answer

The wattage of a replacement light bulb is the energy it consumes, not the brightness of the bulb. In order to make choosing a light bulb easier for the consumer, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) passed a law that requires light bulb manufacturers to label the front of a light bulb package with easy to read numbers, specifying a bulb's brightness. This number is listed as "lumens." when choosing a replacement bulb, look at the lumens number rather than a bulb's wattage to purchase an effective and inexpensive replacement.

As of 2011, the back of a light bulb package contains information such as a bulb's mercury content, wattage, life expectancy, energy cost and brightness. There are many different types of bulbs to choose from. They range from Halogen to incandescent and different light fixtures take different types of bulbs. Halogen bulbs burn hotter and brighter than other bulb types and come in 12 volts and 120 watts. incandescent bulbs are the bulbs most people are familiar with. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and lumens and watts vary.

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