Over the past few years the use of xenon light sources has become increasingly popular especially in the home. Xenon light bulbs are being used in under cabinet fixtures, cove lighting, cabinet lighting, desk lamps, backlighting, step lights, showcase lighting, book case lighting, and picture lights. Here are eleven frequently asked questions about xenon lighting – and their answers.
Q) What makes certain light fixtures xenon fixtures? A) Xenon gas has been introduced into the glass envelopes of the light bulbs in these fixtures.
Q) Why add xenon gas to the other gases inside the glass envelope of a light bulb? A) The primary reason is that the addition of xenon gas into the glass envelope increases the rated life of the lamp.
Q) What is the rated life of xenon light bulbs? A) Depending on the lamp the rated life of a xenon lamp is somewhere between 8,000 and 20,000 hours.
Q) What does the term, “rated life”, of a light bulb mean? A) The “rated life” of a lamp signifies the time at which 50% of a large quantity of these lamps will have burned out. This means that 50% of these lamps will burn out before the “rated life” and 50% will burn out after the “rated life. The “rated life” does not mean that every one of the lamps will last at least that long.
Q) Is this definition of “rated life” true for all types of light bulbs or just xenon light bulbs? A) Yes, this is the standard definition for the rated life for all lamps.
Q) Do xenon light bulbs operate cooler than halogen light bulbs? A) Yes, they do. Line voltage (120 volts) xenon lamps operate especially cooler than line voltage halogen lamps, which can become extremely hot.
Q) Are xenon light bulbs dimmable? A) Definitely, and dimming a xenon lamp will, of course, increase its average life even more than the rated life.
Q) What kind of dimmer should be used with xenon light bulbs? A) If the low voltage xenon lamp (12 volts or 24 volts) is powered by an electronic transformer, then the dimmer should be one that is designed to control an electronic low voltage transformer. If the low voltage xenon lamp (12 volts or 24 volts) is powered by a magnetic transformer, then the dimmer should be one that is designed to control a magnetic low voltage transformer. If, however, the xenon lamp is line voltage (120 volts), then the dimmer should simply be a line voltage dimmer.
Q) What “kind of light” is given off by xenon light bulbs? A) Xenon lamps have a color temperature that is between ordinary incandescent and halogen. That is, the light from a xenon lamp is cooler in appearance than an incandescent lamp but warmer in appearance than a halogen lamp.
Q) Do I have to be concerned about touching a xenon light bulb with my bare hands? A) Unlike JC halogen lamps, xenon lamps may be handled with bare hands without experiencing premature lamp failure. (Caution: always wait for the xenon lamp to cool down before touching it.)
Q) Can I replace my halogen light bulbs with comparable xenon light bulbs? A) Yes, as long as the xenon lamp has the same wattage rating, the same voltage rating, the same type of base (bipin, wedge, festoon, etc.), and the same shape and size glass envelope as the halogen lamp.