In my quest for high-efficiency lighting, I came across a new idea for small household lights.
In our bathroom, there are two sconce lights , one on each side of the mirror, in addition to the main lights above the mirror. The side sconce lights are not really necessary for adequate lighting, but they look nice and add some visual charm to the mirror. Therefore I saw them as good candidates for lower-energy substitutes.
The problem with the sconce lights is that there is not much room behind the glass shade. They would only fit a narrow bulb with a candelabra base. We had two teardrop-shaped 15-watt incandescent bulbs in them, but I couldn’t find much else that would fit. The candelabra-base CFLs were too fat to fit.
I started searching around to find out what else might have the same size base. I found out that the candelabra base is also known as the Edison E12 size, and that common incandescent nightlight bulbs use it. I found small 4-watt incandescent nightlight bulbs, and was about to use them when I came across an even better solution.
LED Christmas lights
Another common bulb that uses the E12 base is medium-large Christmas lights, known as C7 size. And it turns out that they are a popular candidate for LED replacements. I found exactly what I was looking for at superbrightleds.com. They had LED C7 Christmas light bulbs in warm white color.
For this use, they were quite inexpensive, less than two dollars each. And superbrightleds.com was very easy to work with. They first shipped me the cool white bulbs by accident, but quickly replaced them with the warm white ones and covered all the shipping costs. Excellent service, especially for a low-cost order.
They actually look better in person than in the picture. I think the digital camera overcompensated for the bright CFLs at the top. It really looks pretty good.
The bottom line? For only a few dollars, the two sconce lights now use not 30 watts, not 8 watts, but less than 1 watt for both. That’s cool.
Update: 10 years later in 2017, there are now a lot of choices available in LED bulbs. The C7 LED Christmas light bulbs have improved over that time as well; brighter and more choices of color temperature (warm versus cool) as well. And the prices have dropped to a tiny fraction of what they were then.
I just replaced the first set of LED bulbs after 10 years because they were a little dim, and the new ones are nice and bright. Still a great solution for these sconce lights. And great for hallway night-lights too!