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Ask Mr. Tight-Watt: Wattage  Smart Choices Archive

Ask Mr. Tight-Watt: Wattage

Mr. Tight Watt answers your questions.

Ask Mr. Tight-Watt

This month’s answers to questions from our Smart Choices readers are answered by Jean Eels, E Resources Group in Webster City. E Resources Group provides education on the environment and energy and also provides evaluation services.

Q: When an appliance is said to use between 2 to 3 watts or is rated at a flat 60 watts, does that mean per hour, per minute or some other measurement?
Appliance ratings are based on how much wattage is used while it is operating.  Some are averaged over a 24-hour period, such as a refrigerator, which operates a fan, a compressor and fan, a light and so on for an average number of hours per day.  A clock radio alarm may use 2 watts in a 24-hour period and is never off.

Q: If you have a lamp or outlet that is to take a bulb no more than, let’s say, 60 watts … can you place a 100 watt EEB (equivalent to 32 watt) in this socket?
If a lamp is rated at 60 watts, you can put in a lower wattage bulb that puts out the number of lumens (think of light brightness) of an equivalent higher wattage bulb.  Just make sure the actual wattage used by the bulb is less than or equal to the 60 watts recommended for the lamp.  The trick to buying brighter bulbs with lower wattage is to look for the highest number of lumens you can find on the packaging, and keep the actual usage watts at or below the rating of the lamp.

For more information, contact Jean Eells:

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