What’s Trending? New Choices for Light Bulbs

Now that 2014 is here, we are beginning to see the full effects of the 2007 legislation that has required light bulbs to be more energy efficient than their incandescent ancestors. Manufacturers are no longer able to produce incandescent light bulbs of 40 watts or higher in most of your common bulb shapes, so it has left homeowners searching for answers.

A Quick Overview: The amount of energy that a light bulb uses is measured in watts and the legislation that has been put in effect has forced manufacturers to use more energy efficient technology. For example, a 60 watt incandescent bulb has now been replaced with a 43 watt halogen, a 14 watt CFL, or a 9.5 watt LED. Even though these are lower wattage options, they are designed to produce the same amount of light (or Lumens) as a traditional incandescent. Below, we have highlighted some of the common uses of each alternative bulb and what you can expect in terms of life expectancy and energy savings with each type.

Halogen bulbs offers the most clear and warm light of the new alternatives. The savings are the least with this option but for those looking for the closest alternative to incandescent lights, these will be your ticket! Halogen bulbs offer instant light and are a great option for being turned on and off frequently. There life expectancy is about 0.9 years under normal use (the same as incandescent bulbs) but their cost is very inexpensive, so it will not break the bank. Great option for exterior lights and recessed lights throughout the home. A 60 watt equivalent halogen bulb has an estimated yearly energy cost of $5.18 (28% savings over incandescent bulbs). Advantages: warm light, many size/shape options, closest substitute to incandescent bulbs, instant on, frequent use does not effect longevity, great for indoor or outdoor use.

CFL bulbs have been around since the late 1990’s but over that time, more and more options have been made available and the color of the light has been perfected. You will have a hard time distinguishing the difference between incandescent bulbs and CFL bulbs when it comes to their temperature (or color of their light). If you are looking for a warmer light, be sure to grab those that are marked soft or warm white. Those with a daylight tone, will be a little bit bluer than traditional. CFL bulbs cost a little more upfront (about $3-4 dollars per bulb), but the savings will be noticed over the life of the bulb, which are expected to last about 9 years! Because CFL bulbs are not meant to be turned on and off frequently, it will be best to put these in areas that you typically leave on for a half hour or more at a time; this will ensure the longest life out of each bulb. A 60 watt equivalent CFL bulb has an estimated yearly energy cost of $1.69 (76% savings over incandescent bulbs). Advantages: 9 year life expectancy, soft white or daylight options, very energy efficient, widely available, great for all types of indoor and most outdoor conditions, very affordable.

LED bulbs are the most energy efficient and longest lasting replacement for incandescent lights! LED bulbs are expected to last 15-25 years and for this reason are great for hard-to-reach fixtures indoors or out. They will light up instantly and are typically dimmable down to 20% of their output. Most individuals feel that these have a blue-tint to their light, since LED Christmas lights had long been this way, but today’s technology offers LED bulbs for inside the house that are a soft white tone and will blend well with other lights that you have installed. Their life expectancy is not effected by frequent or quick use, so installing LED bulbs in high traffic areas is recommended. The only limitation to LED is that certain sizes and shapes have yet to reach the retail shelf, but as they grow in popularity they will be available soon! A 60 watt equivalent LED bulb has an estimated yearly energy cost of $1.14 (85% savings over incandescent bulbs). Advantages: 20 year life expectancy, longevity not compromised by quick or frequent on/off use, soft white color, great for indoor or outdoor use, cool burning, the most energy efficient option.

Be sure to stop in to our Housewares Department if you have any questions. Our knowledgeable sales clerks are here to make this transition easier for you. If you would like to read more about each option, here are a couple great links to more information.

FAQ’s published by the NPR staff on LED and CFL bulbs

NPR’s Guide to Changing Light Bulbs

Rollier's Hardware

Phone: 412-561-0922

Email: info@rolliers.com 

Address: 600 Washington Road
Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228

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