Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQs about LightBulbs Direct

How are you able to offer such low prices?

LightBulbs Direct uses a “direct only”, low overhead business model. We have no retail premises and by using direct marketing and on-line ordering we keep our overheads as low as possible so that we can pass these savings on to our customers.

Which brands do you sell?

We only choose the top brands for all our products. These include household names such as Osram, Crompton, GE, Philips, Sylvania and Bell that we know, from personal experience, provide top quality, reliable and high performance lamps. We have specifically chosen not to sell “un-branded” lamps which although cheaper often turn out to be lower quality, short life (even as little as 2 weeks!!) and hence poor value for money.

General FAQs

What is the difference between a “lamp” and a “bulb”?

These terms are often interchangeable but “lamp” is really the generic term since this covers all sorts of lighting technology. See our glossary for further details of this and many other terms.

I have been told that you should not touch the outside of a halogen capsule. Is this true? If so, why is this?

Tungsten halogen bulbs, tubes and capsules are made of quartz rather than ordinary glass so that they can operate at a much higher temperature. If the quartz envelope is contaminated with oils from your skin it tends to develop a hot spot in this area that can reduce the lifetime of the bulb dramatically. To prevent this, tungsten halogen lamps should be wrapped in tissue when you install them, removing the tissue once the lamp is firmly seated. If the capsule does get contaminated you can remove fingerprints with a tissue moistened with a solvent such as alcohol or methylated spirits.

FAQs about compact fluorescent bulbs

Do they flicker when you turn them on?

Yes, they do, but unlike early energy saver lamps a few years ago, the latest designs generally include electronic rapid start circuitry to make the lamp light in less than 1 second with virtually no flickering.

Don’t they give a rather harsh light?

Some older designs had quite a high “colour temperature” (see glossary) which may be perceived as “colder” but many energy saving lamps now use a “warm white” coating to make the light very similar to a normal incandescent bulb.

Do they take time to “warm up”?

The latest compact fluorescent lamps “warm up” very much faster than older designs, typically reaching 95% of their full light output in under a minute.

They are always too long and stick out above my lampshade!

Again, with the latest designs, this need not happen. Many compact fluorescents are now so small that they are virtually the same size, or even smaller, than ordinary bulbs. If the bulb is visible, you can choose from one of the designs that uses a decorative outer bulb to cover the fluorescent tubes.

Do compact fluorescents get hot?

Compact fluorescents give out far less heat than normal incandescent bulbs, this makes them ideal for use with lampshades made of delicate materials that can be damaged by heat. All lamps do however give off some heat and should not be used in a totally enclosed light fitting unless there is some way for the heat to escape.

Are “Energy Saver” and “Long Life” bulbs the same thing?

Yes and no! Compact fluorescent lamps do generally have much longer life than ordinary incandescent bulbs but there are also many other types of “long life” bulb, most of which do not also save energy. Generally a normal incandescent bulb will have a rated life of around 1000hrs whereas compact fluorescent energy saving bulbs have a rated life of between 3,000 and 15,000 hours.