The Lumen Express

As the days continue to get shorter and the amount of sunlight we receive dwindles, it’s got me to thinking that maybe I should install some “daylight” bulbs in the house.

Daylight bulbs, for those who don’t know, are light bulbs that simulate the full color spectrum that the sun puts out. These bulbs are supposed to help with those of us who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a depressive state brought on by the lack of sunlight.

As I understand it, there is a color temperature you should look for. Direct sunlight has 10,000K. Not sure what the K stands for but it represents the color temperature. They say a lightbulb of 5,000K or higher is a full spectrum bulb and simulates sunlight.

But good luck trying to find one of these bulbs. At least one that also is bright enough to do you any good.

I love to read. I need a table lap that uses an incandescent bulb of 100watts or more. This is the equivalent of 1700 lumens. I really love the 3-way bulbs that go up to 150 watts or more, because it really lights up the page and reduces eyes strain.

I went shopping the other day for light bulbs with those numbers in mind: 5000K and 1700 lumens.

Um. No. That combination doesn’t seem to even exist. The max lumens for Most CFLs and LED lights, it would appear, is around 700 lumens. Half what I want. And if I’m trying to also require it to have at least the 5000K, forget it. The 5000K bulbs that I found are even dimmer, less than 500 lumens.

There was an LED light with 5000K and 950 lumens, but it cost $21. Not quite bright enough and far too expensive.

Also, when dealing with CFLs, the glass spiral is often so large it won’t even fit into the standard lamp harp. Or if you have a lampshade that slides over a standard sized bulb, a CFL is totally useless.

I’ve been using CFLs for years now. I’m not adverse to them. In our basement, there are 6 wall sconces that the previous owners had 100watt bulbs in. The basement didn’t need any external heat source because of those lights! I put in 100 watt equivalent CFLs which I think are 15watt, but much dimmer. Still, I’m only using 90 watts compared to 600 watts. And I have them in other parts of the house, too.

But I want LIGHT in my front room. I want to be able to read and in winter I want something that can chase away the winter blues.

I’m having a difficult time doing that and being energy efficient.

I think I’ll just start stocking up in 100-150 watt incandescent lights so I have a lifetime supply when the ban goes into effect next year. (Or if you’re really lucky, find the 50/200/250w bulbs, that’s 3,335 to 3,955 freaking lumens!)

And as a public service, I will pass on all the information I compiled on “sunlight” bulbs I found on various websites. Enjoy.

Look for a color temperature of 5000k or higher.

There is a Color Rendering Index (CRI) that you can try to look for. The information I found suggested a CRI of 90 or more. Daylight and incandescent bulbs have a 100 CRI.

Neodymium bulbs have a coating on the bulb that filters out the depressing yellow light, which helps a little but they don’t have a color temperature of 5000k or higher, so there’s that trade off. They might help some people but not others.

In my notes I have “10,000 lux equals 1000 foot candles” but I have no idea why I wrote that down.

As far as lumens vs. lux, lux is the intensity of the light whereas lumen is the amount of light. One lux equals one lumen per square meter. Yeah. I’m getting a headache, too.

For some reason I always think of Monty Python when I hear lumen.

“Stand and deliver! Give me all your lumens.”

“What? Lumens?”

“Yes. Come on. Come on.”

“What do you mean, lumens?”

“Oh, don’t try to play for time.”

“I’m not. You mean the measurement of light, that lumen?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Well we haven’t got any lumens. Honestly.”

“Look, my friends. I happen to know this is the Lumen Express.”

And so on.



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