February 23, 2018
electric lanterns

Using LED Bulbs In Electric Lanterns

Lanterns offer a classically beautiful form of lighting for your home, inside and out. With origins in a time when the framework housed candles, not gas or electric-fueled light, modern electric lanterns allow you to merge traditional design with the convenience, economy, and safety of light bulbs. Now, modern technology has enhanced the selling points of electric lighting with LED bulbs.

While many people equate lanterns with gas fuel, gas lanterns are more costly to operate and can be dangerous to children and pets since they get very hot. They should only be used in well-ventilated areas, which make them better for outdoor locations than inside a house or other enclosed building. Electrically powered lanterns cost much less to operate, especially since they can be put on timers and use dimmers to control the time they come off and on and regulate the amount of light. Light bulbs need periodic replacement when they burn out, but will last a long time when they are used intermittently.

The Rise Of LED Lighting

electric lanterns

In 2007, Congress imposed new standards to make incandescent light greener and more efficient. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) put most light bulbs on a path of timed obsolescence, with 100W, 75W, 60W, and 40W bulbs off the market by 2014. Certain bulbs, including those less than 40W or more than 150W, and specialty bulbs such as candelabra bulbs, appliance lamps, reflector bulbs, “rough service” bulbs, 3-way, colored lamps, and plant lights are exempt from the act. However, bulb manufacturers developed energy-efficient lamps even in categories not covered by the law, including bulbs commonly used in chandeliers and lanterns.

When the 2007 law was passed, there were compact fluorescent (CFL) and halogen bulbs on the market that met the requirements, but the lighting industry saw the future of energy efficient bulbs in LED bulbs. These bulbs were developed in the 1960s, but they only produced dim light in the red frequency of the spectrum; by 1994 blue LEDS, which were brighter, were pioneered in Japan by the Shuji Nakamura of the Nichia Corporation. White LEDS later resulted from using a phosphor coating to convert blue light to red and green so that it appears white. Research in Japan, the U.S,. Korea, and China furthered developments.

In the U.S., the process was boosted after the EISA legislation empowered the Department of Energy to establish the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize Competition to create the “21st Century Lamp” that used just 17% of the energy of an incandescent bulb and offered potential for the future. Research by Philips Lighting and others into solid-state lighting led them to abandon further research into CFL technology in favor of making an LED lamp that was bright in various color ranges. In 2008, NIST announced preliminary standards for LED light sources and for testing solid state lighting, as the Energy Star program was launched to label lighting products that set standards for color, starting time, consistency, and life expectancy.

Upgrading To LED Bulbs For Electric Lanterns And Chandeliers

Although bulbs used in lanterns and chandeliers are not mandated to upgrade, there are good reasons to do so. Bulbs used in these types of fixtures are often inconvenient to reach, as they may hang or be flush mounted or wall mounted in locations that require using a stool or ladder to access them. While changing the bulb might be needed infrequently in some locations, the process might be challenging regardless of how often it was necessary. In chandeliers, which often use multiple bulbs, not all lights burn out at once, which increases the annoyance factor when they randomly burn out. In commercial settings, where even decorative lights may burn for long periods of time, maintenance can be ongoing.

Here are some of the good reasons to change to LED bulbs.

Longer life, reduced operating cost. A 10W LED bulb costs $1.20 a year to operate 3 hours a day, whereas a 60W incandescent bulb costs about six times that amount ($7.20.) When multiplied over the number of bulbs in a chandelier and in other lamps and fixtures in an average home or business, the savings can be significant in energy cost, plus in the labor to change them.

Higher price offset by longer life expectancy. According to a report published in 2016 by CNET, early LED chandelier bulbs were costly, as well as inconsistent in the light they produced .Considering that LED bulbs are generally less expensive now than they were a couple years ago, it is a safe bet that current bulbs appropriate for chandeliers and electric lanterns are an excellent value in 2018 even though the initial purchase price is still higher. A typical incandescent bulb last 1,000 hours, an LED bulb has an average life expectancy of 20,000 hours.

Same appearance with better sustainability. Unlike CFL bulbs, LED counterparts look like incandescent bulbs. In a decorative fixture such a lantern or chandelier where bulbs are visible, you do want a bulb that retains the overall appearance while being more environment-friendly. The light from LED bulbs tends to be whiter, so make sure to go with a Phillips Warm Glow or Ecosmart candelabra bulb if you like a warmer color.

More brightness at lower wattage. The wattage used to categorize the amount of lighting you will get from an incandescent bulb represents energy usage, not brightness. LED bulbs are sold with the intensity of light you will receive in mind as measured in lumens. Packaging for LED bulbs shows equivalency:

  • Replacing a 40W bulb? Look for at least 450 lumens
  • Replacing a 60W bulb? Look for at least 800 lumens
  • Replacing a 75W bulb? Look for at least 1,100 lumens
  • Replacing a 100W bulb? Look for at least 1,600 lumens

Replacing Bulbs

electric lanterns

If you need to replace the bulbs in your electric lantern or candelabra and aren’t ready to move to LED alternatives, Lantern & Scroll offers dependable incandescent bulbs that offer 3,000 light hours in wattages ranging from 15 to 60 (96 lumens) at reasonable prices. If this is the time you want to update to the newer technology, there are plenty of options in the marketplace.