Author Archive for Ian

What’s the best way to dispose of your light bulbs?

Due to their extra life expectancy, environmental benefits, ability to save energy and the fact that they are now dropping considerably in price, it’s no surprise that more and more people are deciding to replace their more conventional light bulbs with LED lamps.

And although we may like to think we are being more ‘green’ by using LED bulbs, ironically, replacing existing lighting for a more cost efficient and eco-friendly option can actually create something of an environmental headache in itself.

Such as, what to do with those old light bulbs?

So whatever your reason for choosing to convert to LEDs you will need to know just what you can recycle, what you can’t and where you need to go.

Here’s a look at the options available when it comes to disposing of your old light bulbs.

Incandescent Bulbs

Once the most common light bulbs for home use these bulbs are made with a thin metal filament that is illuminated by electricity. The bulbs are usually a vacuum or filled with an inert gas. While they may be popular, incandescent bulbs are not energy efficient as all the energy put into these bulbs is transferred into heat, rather than light. Unfortunately, most cities do not accept incandescent light bulbs at their recycling facilities and since they don’t contain any toxic materials, you are advised to simply throw your burnt-out bulbs into the rubbish bin. However, you may want to put the bulbs into their original packaging or wrap them in newspaper before throwing them away, so the glass won’t shatter and hurt someone.

Halogen Bulbs

Basically, halogen lights are just another variation of incandescent bulbs. Like incandescent bulbs, they are lit by a filament, which is in a tube with halogen gas. Though slightly more efficient than standard incandescent bulbs, the savings aren’t huge by any means. Like incandescent bulbs, there aren’t many recycling opportunities for halogen bulbs. But as they don’t tend to contain any toxic materials, they can also be disposed of in a regular rubbish bin. 

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)

Due to their relatively affordable price and the huge amount of energy they save these bulbs have become extremely popular in recent years. Due to the fact they produce very little heat as almost all of the energy is put directly into the light output these bulbs are usually used in place of incandescent. But the drawback is that they tend to contain a small amount of mercury, which is actually a toxin, and means that particular care needs to be taken when disposing of them. Your local recycling centre will usually have a designated area for this type of light bulb and some large retailers, such as Tesco, also offer recycling points where these bulbs can be safely disposed of. Find your nearest recycling centre by clicking here.

Fluorescent Tubes

These are basically compact versions of CFL bulbs, meaning that tubular fluorescent bulbs also contain small amounts of mercury, and need to be disposed of in the same manner as a CFL bulb. So you’re best off taking them to your local recycling facility.

LED Bulbs

As these bulbs are made without a filament, they consume very little power and have a much longer life span than incandescent bulbs or CFL lights. Also, they don’t produce as much heat as an incandescent bulb, and unlike CFLs, they don’t use any dangerous chemicals.  So they can be disposed of in the same way as incandescent or halogen bulbs. But it’s worth remembering that most LED lights are made with materials that are recyclable, so it’s worth checking the package that your bulb came in or even your local recycling facility to see if you can recycle them as there is a good chance you can throw your LED bulb in the recycling once it’s used up – which may be some years in the future due to their incredibly long lifespan.

5 Things They’d Rather You Didn’t Know About LEDs

LED bulbs are fast becoming one of the most popular forms of lighting for homes and businesses alike.

A combination of a long life expectancy, great energy efficiency and falling prices have seen something of a boom time for the product over recent years.

But if you’re still not sure about LEDs or haven’t heard all of the fact, this might not purely be a coincidence as there are still those people in the industry who would rather you didn’t know all the facts.

From electricians to High Street wholesalers, here are a few of the facts that SOME people would rather you didn’t know.

1. Easy to Fit

Despite popular belief to the contrary and what most electricians would like you to think, most LED fixtures and fittings are quite easy to install. The majority of LED bulbs can be used in existing fittings and using them at home is as simple as putting the LED bulb directly into a fitting - giving old lamps, lights and other spots a modern, money saving feel with the minimum of fuss and without the need for a professional help.

2. Value for Money

Yes, some time ago replacing your halogen lights with LEDs was an expensive decision even if you were assured a many years worth of lighting from your new bulbs. But recently the price of LED lamps and fittings has decreased massively, meaning there is not a huge difference between the two. And considering the life-span of an LED bulb is significantly longer than any other on the market – you’re actually making a saving in the long run. So don’t be tempted by shopkeepers offering “cheap” promotions.

3. Many Options Available

One criticism aimed at LED bulbs was always that they didn’t offer the same range of options as more traditional lighting. And many experts and electrical specialists will overlook things like what colour temperature you like, what lighting mood you want to create, or the directional qualities you want the beam of light, not to mention the brightness – things that traditional bulbs all offer. But these are all options that LED lamps can now boast as they look to rival halogen or incandescent lighting.

4. Last Longer

One thing some manufacturers would rather you didn’t know is just how long LED bulbs can last. Many LED lamps are expected to last up to 50,000 hours. This is approximately 50 times longer than a typical incandescent bulb, 20 times longer than a halogen lamp, and 10 times longer than a typical compact fluorescent lamp. Obviously this is great news for the consumer, but not so great for suppliers of traditional bulbs and lamps.

5. Buy Bulbs Easily Online

Buying LED bulbs and products direct from a supplier will usually guarantee you the best price possible, without the added mark-up added on by electricians or High Street stores. A simple web search will now throw-up a whole host of online suppliers who are tripping over themselves to offer the cheapest prices available in an attempt to undercut their competitors – all good news for the consumer.

Tesco’s ONE MILLION LED Christmas TV ad

Tesco has unveiled its 2014 Christmas campaign, “every little helps make Christmas”, featuring one of its flagship stores being illuminated by ONE MILLION LED bulbs.

The commercial shows customers and staff getting ready to celebrate the festive season by decorating Christmas trees and shopping for Christmas dinner, with Tesco staff helping them “every step of the way.”

But it’s the light show that really steals the show with what can only be described as the most spectacular lights show since the London 2012 Olympics.

In fact, it was the team behind the Olympic Games that transformed Tesco’s Wigan store into a festive delight with LED lights covering the 78m long, 7.2m high screen in front of the shop.

Amazingly the light spectacular was inspired by a Tesco customer, after she expressed her disappointment that the Tesco logo above her local store wasn’t decorated in a green Christmas party hat last year.

“I was taken aback when Tesco first approached me, said Claire Hannah. “I couldn’t believe my tweet had been noticed. It’s amazing!”

Blue LED inventor wins physics Nobel prize

A trio of scientists in Japan and the US creditied for for the invention of blue light emitting diodes (LEDs) has been awarded The 2014 Nobel Prize for physics.

The blue LEDs developed by Professors Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura helped produce bright, energy-efficient white light sources.

 Making the announcement, representatives of the Nobel Foundation emphasised the usefulness of the invention, adding that the Nobel Prizes were established to recognise developments that delivered “the greatest benefit to mankind”.

“These uses are what would make Alfred Nobel very happy,” said Prof Olle Inganas, a member of the prize committee from Linkoping University.

The committee chair, Prof Per Delsing, from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, emphasised the winners’ dedication.

“What’s fascinating is that a lot of big companies really tried to do this and they failed,” he said. “But these guys persisted and they tried and tried again - and eventually they actually succeeded.”

Psychedelic LEDs to be used in Corsair keyboards and mice

This summer, Corsair will introduce their range of RGB-branded Vengeance Series K70 and K95 keyboards featuring “Psychedelic LED lighting.”

On both keyboards, the Cherry MX RGB switches will allow for a choice of 16.8 million backlighting colours, not to mention animations.

The K70 RGB will hit the market in late July with a £100 asking price, that’s about £30 more than the current model. The K95 RGB will follow in late August priced at around £10 more than the existing, single-colour version.

Corsair is also prepping the M65 RGB, a version of its eight-button, 8,200-DPI gaming mouse with a similarly extensive choice of backlighting colours. The jazzy hues will come not from Cherry MX switches, but from strategically placed LEDs built into the mouse.

Either way, according to the manufacturer  you’ll be able to grab the M65 RGB mouse in late August for a little more reasonable price of around £40.