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A regular light bulb can be installed in a heat lamp, but very little heat will be produced. If you aim is zero heat production, opt for a fluorescent or LED bulb over an incandescent. Make sure the regular bulb has the correct wattage, voltage, and base for the heat lamp socket.
A bathroom heat lamp is there to make your shower or bath more comfortable by generating heat. It is a quick, pocket-friendly, and efficient way to keep your bathroom warm, especially during winter. An added benefit of the heat lamp is that it keeps a check on mold and mildew growth in your bathroom.
So, if a regular bulb is put in a bathroom heat lamp will it still be equally functional? Most importantly, can you put a regular light bulb in a bathroom heat lamp without causing any incident? Read on and I’ll provide you with answers to these questions and what to expect if you do put a regular light bulb in a heat lamp.
Regular Light Bulbs Will Function in Heat Lamps
You can certainly put a regular light bulb in a heat lamp and it will function, but it will not function as a heat bulb, i.e., it will not generate heat.
A heat lamp bulb is designed to produce heat while the light it produces is an added benefit. Some manufacturers may even deliberately limit the light output using filters or reflectors to increase its warming capacity. In comparison, a regular light bulb will just make your bathroom brighter because that is its primary function.
Should You Match the Wattage and Voltage?
While choosing a bulb for your heating lamp, you must pay attention to the voltage, wattage, and base. It is always better to use the correct voltage or higher within the allowed ratio for optimal bulb operation. If you don’t then you will not get the desired result.
Just like the voltage, wattage also affects the overall output of the bulb. Wattage is the amount of energy used by a lamp or a bulb. A lower wattage will compromise the quality of the output while a higher wattage will damage your heating lamp.
And if you choose a bulb with the wrong base then it will not fit in the heating lamp. So it is always better to stick to the correct wattage, voltage, and base while selecting a bulb for your heating lamp.
The Lamp Will Not Produce Comparable Heat
If your end goal is to still have heat in your bathroom, then a regular incandescent bulb will just not do. At around 100W, a regular light bulb will max out, whereas a heat lamp runs to 2kW and beyond.
If you have installed a heat lamp in your bathroom, then obviously you expect it to keep your bathroom comfortably warm and clear condensation from mirrors, walls, and other surfaces. So why should you opt for a normal light bulb that fails to radiate heat?
Of course, your goal may be to eliminate heat production, such as is desirable during the summer months, while still benefiting from the light.
In recent times, high heat-producing light bulbs are hardly manufactured because the trend has shifted toward energy-efficient options, which are now widely available in the market. This may even be your reason for wanting to use a regular bulb in a heat lamp: you can’t find a heat bulb, but you don’t want to replace the light fixture.
Below I have listed a few good options for regular bulbs that can be put in a heat lamp:
- GE Lighting Incandescent Heat Lamp, BR40 Heat Lamp Bulb (amazon link)
- SYLVANIA Brooder Heat Lamp Light Bulb, BR40, 125W (amazon link)
- 2 Pack 250 Watts R40 Red Heat lamp Light Bulbs (amazon link)
- Phillips 416743 Heat Lamp 250-Watt BR40 Clear Flood Light Bulb 4 Pack (amazon link)
- Westinghouse Lighting 0348400, 250 Watt (amazon link)
Fluorescent and LED Bulbs Produce No Heat
A heat lamp is a cost-effective way of keeping your bathroom warm. But, if you do not want to generate heat because of the scorching summer then you can use the heat lamp to light up the bathroom. In that case, your best option is either a fluorescent or LED light.
LED bulbs are generally cool to touch and are energy efficient. That’s why much less energy is transformed into heat, hardly causing an increase in room temperature. If you don’t keep LED bulbs cool then there are chances of failure or reduced light. To prevent this, LED bulbs have heat sinks and cooling fins.
Even fluorescent bulbs don’t produce much heat. They produce light due to the fluorescence method, which means only 30% of the energy is used to create heat. So, if you do not want to use the heating lamp for heating the bathroom, you can use either fluorescent or LED bulbs without getting your bathroom warm.
Some great choices of fluorescent and LED bulbs are listed below:
- GE Lighting 63589 LED Bright Stik 9 (amazon link)
- Philips LED Frosted Flicker-Free A21 Light Bulb (amazon link)
- Fluorescent Light Tube, FML27 4 pin Base Light Bulb (amazon link)
- (8 Pack) Circle 13 Watt (60 Watt) Compact Fluorescent Light (amazon link)
- Exo Terra Repti-Glo 2.0 Compact Fluorescent Full Spectrum Terrarium Lamp (amazon link)
If You Don’t Like Red, Try a White Heat Lamp Bulb
Heat lamp bulbs primarily come in two colors: red and frosted/clear white.
Some people do enjoy the glow of red light and the eerie ambiance that it creates. But some people, like me, don’t want my bathroom to look like a scene from a Hitchcock film! So, I go for the white frosted light bulb.
Red bulbs and white bulbs are similar when it comes to producing heat. The only difference is that the red bulb is designed to produce less visible light and is preferred in places where both heat and darkness are important.
- Philips LED Frosted Flicker-Free A21 Light Bulb (amazon link)
- SHINESTAR 8-Pack Warm White LED Globe Light Bulbs (amazon link)
- Fengrun Lighting 150 Watt / 250 Watt, Hard Glass (amazon link)
- Philips 415836 Heat Lamp Bulb 250-Watt R40 Red 4 Pack (amazon link)
Can You Put a Heat Bulb in a Regular Bathroom Light?
A head bulb should never be used in regular sockets. Normal light sockets are usually rated at a maximum of 100w. A 2000w heat bulb will most likely melt the lamp casing and could even cause a fire.
However, some fixtures have a maximum wattage rating that indicates the highest wattage you can safely install in that fixture. In such cases, installing a bulb with a higher wattage than that of the fixture has the risk of starting a fire.
Before installing any bulb in any fixture, you must check the wattage for safety as well as to ensure your fixtures don’t get damaged.
Related article: Is Bathroom Underfloor Heating Worth it?
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