Light Bulb Terminology | Light Bulb Specifications Explained
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Light Bulb Terminology | Light Bulb Specifications Explained

Light Bulb Terminology | Light Bulb Specifications Explained

Selecting light bulbs for your home used to be a relatively easy decision. You would go to the store, find the bulb with the appropriate wattage, and buy it.

Things are much different today. There are now several different types of bulbs to choose from, which we discussed in a previous blog. In our most recent blog, the electricians at Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric discuss important terms and other specifications and features of light bulbs.

Understanding Light Bulb Terminology


While most people think watts measure the amount of light a bulb produces, that is not true.  Watts measure the amount of electricity a bulb uses to produce light. The fewer watts, the lower the electricity bill. Typical incandescent light bulbs found in homes use 40, 60, 75 and 100 watts, with 60-watt bulbs being the standard in most homes.

Meanwhile, an LED (light-emitting diode) bulb that delivers the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb, may only use as little as 10 watts. A CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulb that emits the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent light bulb uses only 13 to 15 watts on average.


The amount of light produced by a bulb is measured in lumens. One lumen equals the amount of light produced by one candle. The more lumens, the brighter the light. The goal, of course, is to produce the most lumens with the fewest watts. A standard 60-watt incandescent bulb produces about 800 lumens. It’s recommended to use about 1,000 to 2,000 lumens for average-sized bedrooms and living rooms and about 3,000 to 4,000 lumens for kitchens and dining rooms.

Light Appearance

Light color is measured on the Kelvin (K) temperature scale. Lower numbers mean more yellow light, while higher numbers mean whiter or bluer light.

  • Warm white light of 2500K to 3000K is appropriate for bedrooms, living rooms or dens.
  • Bright or cool white light of 3500K to 4100K is good for kitchens, work spaces and bathrooms.
  • Daylight is 5000k to 6500K and is optimal for reading.

Watts, lumens, and appearance all will appear on a bulb’s package, along with expected life and estimated yearly energy costs.

Innovative Features

Light bulb technology, like other technology, continues to produce innovative features. A few of them include:

  • Voice-enabled bulbs that turn on and off via voice recognition.
  • Bluetooth bulbs that have Bluetooth speakers to stream music.
  • Bulbs that change colors – up to 16 colors –  to set the appropriate mood.
  • Smartphone-enabled bulbs that allow you to dim lights, turn them on and off in real time, or schedule them to turn on and off at designated times.

Contact Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric for Lighting Services

The electrical professionals at Ravinia Plumbing have proudly served the residents of Chicago’s North Shore and Chicago’s Northwest suburbs for decades. We offer a full range of indoor lighting services, including accent lighting and ambient lighting installation services. We’ve been in business since 1928, and we’ve made a name for ourselves as one of the most trusted and reliable plumbing, sewer, heating and air conditioning, and electrical companies in Chicagoland. Visit Ravinia Plumbing today to learn more, and check out our careers page to view our current openings.

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Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric
575 Bond St,
Lincolnshire, IL 60069
P: (847) 579-5565
F: (847) 831-5694
Hours of operation: Mon.-Fri. 8:00-5:00, Sat. 8:00-1:30
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*Based on research conducted January - December 2021

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