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Energy Efficient Light Bulbs for the New Year

Posted by: Javier Vilchis | 12/20/2018 at 03:58 PM

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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