Standard incandescent bulbs are out. Three energy-efficient light bulbs—compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and halogen-gas incandescents—are in, and, if you shop smart, they can provide big savings for your electric bill.
These once-pricey energy-efficient options will pay for themselves pretty quickly. Replacing just 15 standard incandescent bulbs with high-efficiency bulbs can save you approximately $50 per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Better yet, look for ENERGY STAR®-certified bulbs, as they last 10 to 25 times longer than standard incandescents. They use 75% less energy, saving you $40 to $135 over their lifetime.
Shopping for Energy Efficient Bulbs
- Label terms: Brightness (in lumens), life expectancy, estimated yearly energy costs, lamp color temperature (warm or cool light), and wattages are provided on the label of each bulb.
- Output: Get the most bang for your buck with bulbs that offer the brightness you want (measured in lumens) at the lowest wattage.
- Fit: Some energy-efficient bulbs have different shapes than you may be used to. Look at your old bulbs and get new ones that will fit inside the shade, sconce, or glass of your fixtures.
- Color temperature: Consider the function of each light fixture. Is it used for task lighting or overall ambience? The number of Kelvins (K), which measures light color, will help you determine which bulb is appropriate. A higher number (more than 5,000K) emits cool colors reminiscent of daylight, while lower numbers (starting at 2,700K) supply a warm, ambient glow similar to standard incandescents.
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