Want More Efficiency Than CFL’s? Try LED Light Bulbs.

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I have been talking about CFL light bulbs on this site for just about as long as I have been publishing it, about 4.5 years. Every light fixture in my home(s) has had a CFL bulb in them, and my electric bill has rarely been above $35/month at the absolute highest. Those bulbs are a huge reason for my bill being so low, as CFL bulbs use about 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and can lasts up to 10 times longer. They also produce about 75% less heat, so they are safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling. A CFL light bulb rated between 23 and 30 watts of power actually puts out as much light as a 100 watt incandescent bulb, so you can see just how much less energy you use when they are in your home. They are inexpensive, easy to find, and last 8-10 years; what’s not to love? Even the claims about mercury and toxicity are way overblown, so you can feel totally safe using CFL bulbs in your own home. But what if you want to use even less electricity and spend even less on your utility bill?

You may want to check out LED light bulbs.

LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs have been around for quite a while, but have always been the much more expensive option when it came to efficiently lighting your home. I remember when I was sent some LED bulbs to test out a few years back and their retail price was over $65 a pop! No matter how much you care about the environment or your electric bill, that was a lot to spend on a single light bulb. I never would have done it, that’s for sure. But lately I have been hearing whispers that the price of these bulbs have come down quite a bit, and it turns out that the rumors were right – they can now be found in the range of $10 – $40. So when I was contacted by Home Depot to try their EcoSmart LED bulb, I most certainly jumped at the chance. They sent me a 40 watt equivalent LED (which sells for $17.97) to try out at my house, and I have had it in my desk lamp for a few weeks now. It replaced a 40 watt equivalent CFL bulb, and the light from the LED is brighter and more “white” than the CFL. Right away I was sold on the idea of LED lights in my house, because the light (at least from this one) is truly a better quality light than than CFL’s normally produce. And aside from the more reasonable price as of late, that’s not even the best part about new LED lights. They also:

  • Should last over 40 years
  • Are dimmable (most CFL lights are not dimmable)
  • Do not contain any mercury at all
  • Use about 90% less energy than an incandescent bulb

For those of you who won’t buy CFL bulbs because they are “squiggly”, here is what LED bulbs look like:

They look more like the light bulbs everyone is more accustomed to, they save a ton of energy, they reduce utility bills, they last 1/2 of a lifetime, and the price of them is dropping down to much more reasonable levels. The future of lighting is definitely in LED’s, especially since new rules about incandescents start in 2012 with a full ban in 2014, so everyone will have to switch over to more efficient lights by then anyway. If the price of LED’s can be brought down just a little bit more, I would venture that we will soon see the end of CFL bulbs as well. But for now, I recommend you try both CFL and LED lights for your home, compare the lighting for yourselves, and go with whatever works best for you. Since LED bulbs are cheaper today than they were before, though, I will be replacing any CFLs that burn out with these kind of lights.

It’s pretty much a no-brainer.

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Comments

  1. I should note that LEDs have lead to many new applications, all introducing lighting in places that were previously unlit. Often when attached to façades, they are substituting unlit façades, how is that supposed cut power consumption?
    Try comparing the electricity bill of someone using one light bulb in a little room (they could use heat of the bulb as heating in winter) with someone decorating their mansion and garden with lots of leds.

  2. So incadesent lightbulbs that we’ve been using since Thomas Edison will stop production in 2020. I cannot afford CFL’s or LED’s. And I’m 70 so I just need a lightbulb that will work for just a few more years.

  3. I’ve read about some concerns with CFLs and Electro-Magnetic Fields- and it’s worth doing a bit more research on how the EMFs affect your health. The way that CFLs work is to turn on and off as many as 100,000 a second, which saves tons of energy- yay! However, the electronic on/off cycle also works like a magnetic field on your cells- which also use electronic pulses to send messages- and can disrupt the neurological pathways and override/impede the intended messages (like, say, produce more insulin or ramp up the immune system to fight an illness). You end up being ‘tuned in’ to the magnetic field of even just one CFL bulb, or to that of other electronic gadget- and wireless phones, laptops, and wireless internet routers are some of the other top offenders. The research is there to back this up (strong EMFs have even been used by various militaries to sicken enemy troops), though it’s not commonly discussed as health threat.

    All that being said, the drop in price for LED lights makes me quite happy. I have a houseful of CFLs right now, and plan to make the switch to LEDs as quickly as I can afford it- maybe one more each month.

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