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Energy Efficient Light Bulbs for the New Year

Posted by: Anna | 12/23/2014 at 11:33 AM


Energy Efficient Light Bulbs for the New Year

Buying light bulbs used to be easy. Now, consumers are faced with an array of choices, disposal questions and price points. So let us shed a little light on the subject.

  • Talking Terms – We’re used to talking about light bulbs in terms of watts, but that’s actually a measure of how much electricity they use and which fixture they fit, not how bright they are. The amount of light a bulb produces is measured in lumens. That’s important to know as we review the differences between bulbs.
  • Lights Fantastic, and Not – There are basically four kinds of light bulbs out there:
    1. Incandescent: The standard light we all know.  A 60-watt bulb retails for about 40 cents, gives about 860 lumens of light, lasts less than a year and costs about $75.00-$80.00 to operate over a ten-year period.
    2. Halogen Incandescent: Less bright (about 750 lumens for a 60 watt bulb). Lasts less than one year, retails for $1.49, costs about $65.00 to $70.00 to operate over ten years, but uses only 43 watts.
    3. CFL: Retails for $2.99, produces 850 lumens for 14 watts, lasts 9 years, costs about $.160 to $2.00 to operate over ten years.
    4. LED: Retails for $12.97, produces 800 lumens, lasts for 23 years, uses 9.5 watts and costs about $1.15 to $1.20 to operate over ten years.
  • *(Costs and lifetimes based on roughly 3 hours a day at approximately 11 cents per kWh.)
  • Get a Star – Always buy Energy Star-rated light bulbs. Bulbs that don’t meet Energy Star standards will not last as long or be as energy-efficient.
  • Please Dispose of Properly – Although the levels of mercury in CFLs are greatly reduced these days, they should be recycled. Many retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot offer this service.
  • Make Matches – While CFL and LEDs are more efficient, they are designed to fit in existing sockets. A bulb rated for 60 watts should not be used in a 45-watt fixture, even though it will draw fewer than 60 watts.
  • Cold Fact – CFLs don’t work well in cold temperatures. So use LEDS for outdoor lighting in cold climates.

So which bulb is right for you? These tips can help you make a decision and get your new year off to a brilliant start. For more information, check out this extensive list of light bulb FAQs.


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