Finding Outdoor Lights That Are Up to the Job
June 22, 2016
As temperatures get warmer, evenings are the perfect time to spend outdoors. Whether you’re grilling next to the house, having a family dinner on the patio, or relaxing on the porch, reliable outdoor lighting can help extend the time you spend enjoying your outdoor space. Next time you need to replace a light bulb in one of your outdoor fixtures, here are some tips to keep in mind that will help you choose a reliable, hassle-free bulb that you can forget about once it’s screwed in.
Look for a wet or damp rated bulb.
The bulb package should give you this information. If a bulb is wet or damp rated, its label will say “suitable for use in damp locations,” or something similar. Bulbs that are damp rated are perfect for outdoor fixtures that shelter the bulb, such as with lantern- or barn-style fixtures.
Wet rated bulbs are best for fully exposed locations, such as spotlights that are at an angle where they may be susceptible to water.
Look for ENERGY STAR® certified LED bulbs.
LED bulbs are perfect for the outdoors. They light up instantly, so there’s no waiting for the bulb to warm up, and they actually operate more efficiently in cold weather. They also last a long time—up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs—so, if you have a light that’s difficult to reach, you can put in an LED bulb and not worry about it for years.
Look for bulbs with a warm-white light appearance.
Lights with high blue light content (as opposed to warm yellow and white light) can increase glare and are more likely to compromise human vision, especially as our eyes age. Color temperature is measured in Kelvins, which are indicated by a K, so look for bulbs with a light appearance between 2700K and 3000K for outdoor lighting. You can find this information on the lighting facts label on the bulb packaging.
Make sure the bulb you’re purchasing matches the fixture it will be placed in.
Not all fixtures are created the same. Certain bulbs are not compatible with specific fixtures. For example, some bulbs have screw-type bases, while others have pin-type bases. To avoid this issue, take a look at the old bulb before going out to purchase a new one and always check the packaging when buying a new bulb to make sure it will work as desired.
If you're looking for great deals on ENERGY STAR certified LED light bulbs to use in your outdoor fixtures, you can find discounts supported by the sponsors of Mass Save online and at stores throughout Massachusetts.