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      Blog Posts — near infrared bulbs and lamps

      What Can I Use to Operate My TheraBulb

      TheraBulb lab-certified incandescent and LED near infrared bulbs

      At TheraBulb, we are frequently asked about lamps and fixtures to operate our bulbs. Customers who’ve purchased one of our incandescent bulbs find that its wattage is higher than a household lamp is designed power. Others ask if it’s possible to use a TheraBulb as a replacement bulb in a heat lamp they already own or if it can be used in a mounted light fixture. In this blog post, we’ll explain what makes a bulb and lamp / light fixture compatible, what sorts of lamps can be used to operate TheraBulbs, and what you need to know about using a TheraBulb in a mounted light fixture.

      Lamp and Bulb Compatibility

      When selecting a lamp to operate a TheraBulb near infrared bulb such as our 150W, 250W, and 300W incandescent bulbs or our 5W LED bulb, there are three factors to consider: socket type, bulb dimensions, and wattage ratings.

      Socket Type

      There are a wide range of bulb bases, including screw, pin, wedge, and bayonet bases. Each of these is designed to fit into a specific type of socket. The most common and most familiar to consumers is the E26/E27 screw base. This is the type of base found in household lightbulbs and is also the type of base on all TheraBulbs. Therefore, a socket that a standard household lightbulb can screw into is compatible with a TheraBulb.

      Bulb Dimensions

      TheraBulb incandescent bulbs are sized according to industry standards for shape and size. Our incandescent bulbs are type R/BR and our LED bulb is type PAR. If you are trying to determine if a lamp/fixture is compatible with a TheraBulb, one helpful resource is the manufacturer's literature or web site, which may list compatible bulbs using standard bulb size and shape names, such as those below.  

      TheraBulb offers bulbs in standard R/BR and PAR shaps

      If you are using a TheraBulb to replace an existing heat lamp bulb or near infrared / red light bulb, measure the existing bulb and compare those dimensions to those in the table above to confirm that the TheraBulb will fit in your lamp or fixture. 

      Voltage and Wattage

      In addition to making sure that the base is compatible with the socket type and the bulb size is compatible with the lamp or fixture, you’ll need to make sure that the lamp / fixture is rated for the appropriate voltage and wattage.

      Voltage

      Voltage refers to the force of electrical energy in a given system. In the countries comprising North America and Central America, electrical systems voltage is 110V-127V. Products that are marked 120V are designed for use in these countries. Electrical systems in Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, and South American operate on 220V-240V. Products that are marked 240V are designed for use in these countries.

      TheraBulb offers 120V bulbs in 150W, 250W, and 300W sizes. We offer 240V bulbs in 150W and 300W sizes. We also offer a 5W LED bulb that is universal voltage, meaning it can be used in 110V-240V electrical systems.

      The voltage of the lamp/fixture should match the voltage of the bulb you are going to operate in it. Since countries with 110V-127V electrical systems sell 120V products almost exclusively and the same is true for countries with 220V-240V electrical systems, it is unlikely that you will encounter a lamp or fixture that is not designed for the voltage in your country. However, using a 120V bulb in a country with 240V electrical systems will cause the bulb to burn out prematurely and may cause damage to the lamp or fixture. Using a 240V bulb in a country with 120V electrical systems will result in it delivering 50% of the brightness, heat, and near infrared / red light it is designed to. If you are not sure what the voltage standard is in your country, refer to this guide.

      Wattage

      Wattage refers to the amount of electricity that an electrical product, such as a light bulb, consumes. The wattage rating of a lamp/fixture should be at least as high as that of the bulb you’re seeking to operate in it. For example, a lamp rated for 250W can be used to operate TheraBulb’s 5W LED, 150W, and 250W. It cannot be used to operate a 300W bulb.

      Wattage ratings are typically stamped on the lamp cord, stamped onto the side of the socket, or are on a sticker affixed to the lamp or fixture. Exceeding the wattage rating on a lamp or fixture can shorten the life of the bulb, damage the bulb, or damage the lamp/fixture. 

      Lamp Options

      The maximum wattage rating of most household lamps is 100W. Because this is below the wattage of all but the TheraBulb 5W LED bulb, you will need a lamp with a higher wattage rating. The marketplace offers several options including clamp lamps, DIY options, sauna panels, and more.

      Clamp Lamps

      The most widely available high wattage lamp is a clamp lamp, which is comprised of a socket, reflector, clamp, and, on some models, a bulb guard.

      TheraBulb Hanging Clamp Lamp

      TheraBulb offers its own clamp lamp, the hanging clamp lamp, which is compatible with TheraBulb’s 150W and 300W bulbs. It features a recessed socket and stay-cool reflector. It is universal voltage, meaning it can be used in countries with 110V-240V electrical systems. The TheraBulb clamp lamp does not, however, support its own weight and is instead designed to hang from the surface to which it has been clamped.  For more detail on the features and use of the lamp, watch this video, presented by TheraBulb CEO Tom Watson.

      TheraBulb Hanging Clamp Lamp Features and Use Video

      Brooder Clamp Lights

      An additional, widely available option for operating high wattage bulbs such as TheraBulb is a brooder clamp light or brooder clamp lamp. The clamp is used to affix the lamp to a surface such as a railing, chair back, edge of a shelf, etc. Inexpensive and widely available, brooder clamp lamps can be purchased at hardware stores, home improvement stores, farm supply stores, and general merchandise retailers such as Amazon.com.

      Freestanding Options

      While widely available and inexpensive, clamp lights / lamps are not freestanding. If you prefer one that is, there are several options, including salon lamps, lighting kits, and DIY assemblies.

      Salon Lamps

      Single and multi-head lamps are sold through a variety of salon suppliers. These lamps feature a wheeled base, are height-adjustable and allow the head or heads to be tilted to direct the angle of the light as desired. Such lamps are sold complete with a bulb or bulbs. The bulbs are typically a non-standard size and have a neck that is longer than standard bulb. The longer neck allows the bulb to extend into a recessed socket. Customers seeking to replace a burned out bulb in a salon lamp can use a TheraBulb as a replacement bulb, but may need a socket extender. This inexpensive device allows the bulb to get far enough into the socket to make the connection needed to operate the bulb. Socket extenders are sold at hardware stores and online from sources such as 1000 bulbs.com.

      Photographer’s Light Kit

      Photography suppliers offer freestanding, height adjustable equipment designed to operate high wattage lights. These are also ideal for operating a red light / near infrared bulb, such as a TheraBulb. A light kit will include a socket, reflector, and stand.

      DIY Freestanding Lamp

      It is also possible to create your own height-adjustable freestanding lamp by affixing a brooder clamp light to a microphone stand.

      Light Fixtures

      Another frequent topic of questions is the use of a mounted light fixture to operate a TheraBulb. There are light fixtures specifically designed to operate infrared / red light / heat lamp bulbs. These fixtures are manufactured to withstand the high (518°F—589°F) heat produced by the bulbs and to vent it safely rather than allowing it to build up inside the ceiling. These fixtures require installation by a qualified electrician. Operating infrared / red light / heat lamp bulbs in a light fixture not designed for this type of bulb is neither safe nor recommended.

      Because many people use a bathroom to create a DIY sauna, they may consider installing a fixture in the bathroom to operate their TheraBulb. Because of the presence of water and steam in the bathroom, installing such a fixture presents the risk of a heated bulb shattering upon coming into contact with the steam. In fact the National Electric Code provides specific guidance regarding light fixtures in a bathroom:

      “NEC 2008, 410.10 Luminaires in Specific Locations.
      (D) Bathtub and Shower Areas. No parts of cord-connected luminaires, chain-, cable-, or cord-suspended luminaires, lighting track, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans shall be located within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold. This zone is all encompassing and includes the space directly over the tub or shower stall. Luminaires located within the actual outside dimension of the bathtub or shower to a height of 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower threshold shall be marked for damp locations, or marked for wet locations where subject to shower spray.”

      If you want to install a light fixture in your bathroom to operate your TheraBulb, we recommend consulting with a qualified electrician. He or she can assist you in selecting an appropriate fixture and installing it correctly.

      Saunas and Sauna Panels

      There are a wide range of portable saunas and sauna panels designed for home use in North/Central America and Africa/Asia/Europe/Oceania/South America. Those that use incandescent bulbs are typically sold with the bulbs. TheraBulbs can be used as replacement bulbs in home saunas so long as they are designed to operate bulbs with an E26/E27 base (you can verify this by screwing a regular household light bulb into the sauna while it is turned off) and are rated for wattage that is equal to or higher than the wattage of the bulb.

      Conclusion

      If you have questions about lamps and light fixtures that were not addressed in this article, please contact us at support@therabulb.com.