When shopping for light bulbs, you may come across the phrase “not suitable for household room illumination” on certain products. This can be confusing and may leave you wondering if these bulbs are safe to use in your home.

Here, we explain what this phrase means and why it is important to pay attention to it when purchasing light bulbs.

Understanding the Phrase

The phrase “not suitable for household room illumination” is typically found on specialist light bulbs. This phrase is used to indicate that the light bulb is not intended for use in traditional household lighting fixtures.

Instead, these bulbs are designed for use in specialised lighting applications, such as industrial lighting, decorative coloured lighting or traffic lighting.

These light bulbs have been manufactured in a way which makes them suitable for the purpose in which they intended to be used.

For example, ‘rough service’ or ‘tough lamps’ are very durable and resistant to damage from vibrations and shocks, while coloured decorative lamps have a coloured glaze making them suitable for festoons and signage.

What is the Legislation Behind This

Commission Regulation (EC) No 244/2009 Article 3.2 states:

“Starting from 1 September 2009:

For special purpose lamps, the following information shall be clearly and prominently indicated on their packaging and in all forms of product information accompanying the lamp when it is placed on the market:

(a) their intended purpose; and

(b) that they are not suitable for household room illumination.

The technical documentation file drawn up for the purposes of conformity assessment pursuant to Article 8 of Directive 2005/32/EC shall list the technical parameters (if any) that make the lamp design specific for the special purpose indicated on the packaging.”

What this means, is that any special purpose light bulb must have this warning on it’s packaging. The scope for a ‘special purpose’ light bulb is also outlined in the same regulation and outlines light bulbs that are ‘designed essentially for other types of applications (such as traffic signals, terrarium lighting, or household appliances)’ are classed as special purpose.

It is worth noting that just because a product displays this warning, it does not necessarily mean that the light bulb cannot be used for lighting in a home, it just means it’s intended design was not for this purpose.

We would advise you purchase a light bulb that is designed specifically for the purpose you intend to use it.

Finding the Right Bulbs for Your Home

When shopping for light bulbs, it is important to read the product descriptions carefully and look for the phrase “not suitable for household illumination” so you can easily identify if this light bulb is perfect for you.

Other useful information displayed on the packaging you may want to take note of is it’s Energy Label, which has undergone a reform since 2021.

If you are unsure about a specific bulb, you can always contact our expert team for the best advice on buying light bulbs for your needs.

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