As an electrician, I get a lot of questions about the comparison between incandescent, compact fluorescent and LED lighting. In the old days we chose our bulbs by wattage because we were familiar with the light output of a 40 watt, 60 watt and 100 watt bulb. The new technologies in lighting with CFL and LED is a bit confusing if we stick to wattage only. The new way of understanding and comparing light bulbs is now “Lumens” or brightness.

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Here are a few charts that can help you see the difference visually.

The above chart shows on the top line, the Lumens or brightness output.

Line two shows the wattage of the bulbs we are familiar with, 40, 60, 75, 100 watts.
The next three lines show the wattage for Halogen, CFLs and LEDs for each Lumen value.

So a standard 60 watt incandescent bulb puts out 800 Lumens. If you want the same brightness output, but want to go to CFL or LED, you would buy a 14 watt CFL or a 13 watt LED.

Here is another chart that may help.

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Along the bottom of the above chart we have some visuals comparing the average life of the bulb and the average cost of the bulb. You can see that a 37 cent incandescent bulb will last around 750 hours. A 45 dollar LED bulb will last around 20,000 to 50,000 hours. You can find LED bulbs for about half that price now.

Here is another chart that shows the energy savings of the various bulbs.

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3 way and 4 way switch wiring for residential lighting

I get many calls from home owners to either upgrade light switches to a more modern look or add some dimmers to their home’s lighting system.  I do that and all is well.
Some people try to do it themselves to save on the installation cost of an electrician and get frustrated when they change out the switches and they do not work properly.  So, if you are a “do it yourself” type, I suggest you shut off the electrical power at the fuse or breaker box first thing.  Then remove the switches from the electrical boxes but do not remove the wires from the switches.
I have collected a few schematics of 3 and 4 way switch wiring diagrams to help you understand how they function and how they are wired.  Look at these diagrams and then look at your switches until you feel you understand the wiring.  Here are the images.

Then go buy the proper switches and take off one wire at a time and put it in the same position on the new switch.  DO NOT take all the old switches off the wires and then try to figure out what wire goes where.  That is when confusion and frustration arise and then you must call me to clean up the situation, which I am happy to do.  I hope this is helpful to you DIY folks.  If you get in trouble, call me.