Have you purchased light bulbs lately? If not, you’re probably like me and unaware of the changes that have been coming. Before Christmas, I bought brighter bulbs for my exterior garage lights. I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into and how different light bulbs have become.
Beginning January 1, 2014, production of America’s most popular incandescent light bulbs (40 and 60 watt bulbs) has ceased. What does this mean for you and your family? It means energy savings, along with a need to become educated on the new light bulb options.
Traditional incandescent bulbs give off 90% of their energy as heat, which means they’re only 10% efficient. New light bulbs use significantly less energy.
Here’s information on the new bulbs currently available. I hope it will help you purchase the bulbs that are right for you and your family AND save on your electric bill
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs):When you drive by your neighbor’s house, can you tell if they’re working in the garage? A few of my neighbors use fluorescent lights in their garages and they do a nice job of lighting things up.
CFLs for your home are the same as those found in your neighbor’s garage except they’re significantly smaller and made for indoor lighting fixtures. CFLs use just 25% of the energy used by incandescent bulbs. According to U.S. Department of Energy, CFLs can pay for themselves in less than nine months and can last up to ten times longer than a comparable incandescent bulb.
When CFLs initially came to market, people thought they were too bright and the light appeared too industrial. Now, however, they come in warmer colors. Before you buy a CFL bulb, look on the side of the box to see how warm or cool the light will appear. A warm light means that it will have a yellowish glow, which is more like a traditional incandescent light.
The CFLs I recently purchased to light the outside of my home took some getting used to since they don’t appear as warm as incandescent bulbs. They are, however, significantly brighter. My CFLs are equivalent to a 100-watt incandescent bulb but only consume 25 watts of electricity.
While CFLs do save money, there are two downsides:
1. They contain a small amount of mercury. This means you can’t throw them in the garbage; they must be recycled. Many hardware supply stores offer in-store recycling. To find a store near you, visit www.search.earth911.com.
2. They take some time to warm up which means your living room won’t be instantly bright when you turn on the switch.
Light emitting diode (LED): LEDs are significantly more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs; however, they’re 75 percent more efficient and last 25 times longer, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Unlike CFLs, LED bulbs turn on instantly.
I have 12 recessed can lights in my basement. To replace one incandescent bulb with an LED bulb would cost approximately $35 per bulb. That translates to an investment of $420 just to change the lights in my basement. While they’re 75% more efficient, I can’t justify the initial cash outlay. However, as this technology advances, LED prices will decrease. If you purchased a projection TV in the past, you know what I mean.
Halogen light bulbs: These light bulbs probably most resemble traditional incandescent. They light up instantly, can be used on dimmer switches, and come in multiple shapes and sizes. Again, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, these lights are 25% more efficient and last up to three times longer.
So I’ve compared the three different types of bulbs you can buy for your home. I hope you find the information helpful the next time you head down to your local hardware store.
Do you know what lumens means? To learn even more about light bulbs, visit Engergy.GOV.
To learn if your favorite incandescent bulb is extinct click here.
Do you have any information you would like to share? I would love to hear your comments; please share them in the box below.