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Which Light Bulb Should You Buy?

It’s no secret, conserving energy on a global level is the key to reduced dependency on fossil fuels and preserving this magnificent world. In response to increased pressure to reduce energy consumption, companies have and continue to create energy-efficient light bulbs in addition to traditional incandescents such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), halogen incandescents and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

What’s the Problem with Traditional Light Bulbs?

Growing up, only one light bulb was on store racks, the standard incandescent. We used them everywhere—above the garage door, in the bathroom, and kitchen, in lamps and in the yard.

The problems with incandescent light bulbs are that they emit a lot of heat, guzzle down energy like a hungry adolescent boy and last a few hours longer than a candle. Sure they’re cheap, for good reason, they need continual replacement.

If you’re resistant to change and refuse to let go of incandescent light bulbs, The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 phased out incandescent light bulbs January 1, 2014 in favor of the options listed below. Bet you didn’t know that, huh?

What are CFLs?

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) contain a filament and small amount of mercury. Previous fluorescent designs were long cylinder-like, often used in soffits to light restrooms and kitchens. Today’s designs look like a scoop of vanilla ice cream atop a cone.

Two types of CFLs exist, ENERGY STAR and non-ENERGY STAR. Using a typical day of three hours, the ENERGY STAR CFLs will last 10,000 hours or 9 years. The non-ENERGY STAR CFL will last 6,000 hours.

Heat is still emitted similar to standard light bulbs, but the energy used is much lower. To be classified a CFL, they must provide three times more light per watt than a standard light bulb.

What are Halogen Incandescents?

Halogen incandescent light bulbs are traditional light bulbs but made more efficiently. Without going into detail about the elements of a light bulb, Halogens as there commonly called, produce a small of hydrogen gas inside the glass. These light bulbs work best when showcasing artwork or displays, as they brings out the colors better than other light bulbs.

What are LEDs?

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) light up when electricity passes through the diodes. LED light bulbs used diodes as a replacement to incandescent filaments, fluorescent mercury and Halogen hydrogen gas. LEDs are ubber-efficient lasting up to 100,000 hours and using less wattage.

LEDs change as quickly as technology does so what you pay for one now may cost 10-20% cheaper months later. It’s similar to buying a computer, in which the latest and greatest is advertised one month and replaced with a newer version months later.

If you stomach the initial cost of purchasing LEDs, the long-term payoff is well worth it. I plumped down the money to buy LED Christmas lights and instantly realized the benefit. I can attach several strands of lights into one outlet and not experience my breaker tripping.