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Traditional light bulbs will no longer be available: Lesson in buying new bulbs

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Jan. 1 marked the end of a seven-year effort to outlaw the ordinary light bulb. Light bulb manufacturers will cease making traditional 40 and 60-watt light bulbs. The incandescent 75 and 100-watt light bulbs were phased out at the beginning of 2013. Some specialty incandescents such as three-way bulbs will still be available.

So what are households to use?

The government wants you to use more energy-efficient alternatives. In the place of traditional bulbs that most people have been using will be halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL), LED bulbs and high efficiency incandescents which are just regular incandescents that have the filament wrapped in gas.

These are significantly more expensive than traditional light bulbs, but offer significant energy and costs savings over the long run.

CFLs can save the consumer $100 or more over the lifetime of the bulb. Over the course of the year, a LED will consume about $2 in power under normal circumstances. Some LEDs can cost up to $25, but according to Consumer Reports, the price is worth it in the long run because the bulbs can last a decade and will save the consumer hundreds of dollars.

Expert point out that consumers will save with more efficient bulbs. The high efficiency incandescents cost about $1.50 each, compared to 50 cents or so for the old bulbs. But they last twice as long, and use 28% less power.

With LEDs, the saving are even greater. While a 40-watt LED goes for about $7.50, it uses 85% less energy than a traditional bulb.

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