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Comparison of lighting technologies

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See luminous efficacy for an efficiency chart comparing various technologies.
 
Incandescent lamps (light bulbs) create light by running electricity through a resistive filament, thereby heating the filament to a very high temperature so that it glows and produces visible light. A broad range of visible frequencies are naturally produced, yielding a pleasing warm yellow or white color quality. Incandescent light however, is highly inefficient, as over 98% of the energy input is emitted as heat.A 100 watt 120 VAC light bulbs produces about 1,700 lumens, about 17 lumens per watt. Incandescent lamps are relatively inexpensive to produce. The typical lifespan of a mains incandescent lamp is around 1,000 hours they work well with dimmers. Most existing light fixtures are designed for the size and shape of these traditional bulbs.
 
Fluorescent lamps (light bulbs) work by passing electricity through mercury vapor, which in turn produces ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet light is then absorbed by a phosphor coating inside the lamp, causing it to glow, or fluoresce. While the heat generated by fluorescent lamps is much less than its incandescent counterpart, energy is still lost in generating the ultraviolet light and converting this light into visible light. If the lamp breaks exposure to mercury can occur. Linear fluorescent lamps are typically five to six times the cost of incandescent lamps, but have life spans around 10,000 and 20,000 hours. Lifetime varies from 1,200 hours to 20,000 hours for compact fluorescent lamps.