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Local Editorials

Saying goodbye to money-burning incandescent light bulbs

Incandescent light bulbs have been around for years, but that will change starting next year. In January, the U.S. government will phase out 100 watt incandescent light bulbs.

Not many fixtures use 100 watts, however, the government is planning on phasing out 75 watt light bulbs in 2014 and 60 Watts in 2015. The government was supposed to phase out 100 watt light bulbs this year, but because of the outcry they decided to push it back until next year.

Once the 100 watt bulbs are out, that is it. Factories have already stopped production months ago. The reasoning behind the move is because the electrical grid has not been updated since the 1980’s.

The U.S. population has grown, and that has caused some issues (ex: rolling blackouts, and brown outs). That left the government with two options: redo the grid, or force consumers to switch to energy saving light bulbs.

The government is only forcing the change for traditional light bulbs. Decorative lights used in ceiling fans or special fixtures will not be effective. Although there will not be incandescent bulbs in the future; there are alternative options. One option is halogen light bulbs.

Halogens will look like the traditional incandescent bulb, and will save you money. A 60 watt equivalent uses 43 watts. It will save you money in the long run. The only issue with using halogen light bulbs is the heat. Halogen lights run hot.

Another option is a compact florescent light bulb (CFL). Some people do not like the look of the light bulb, because of the swirl design, and it takes a while to get bright. CFL’s will save you money.

On average a 60 watt light bulb equivalent can save you around $6-7 per bulb a year. CFL’s use around 13 watts verses 60. If you change up the whole house, you can save on average $300-600. There is a trace amount of mercury, but the amount is minutely small.

CFL’s are more cost efficient for long term use. When you leave a room for less than an hour, leave the light on; it will save you money. It takes more energy to start up a CFL. That is why it takes longer for them to brighten up.

The last option are LED lights. LED’s can be pricey, but the price is dropping. Last year, they cost around $35 at the cheapest. Now you can find LED’s for under $20. Although the cost upfront is high, the payout can be worth it. LED’s last anywhere from 20 to 25 years. They are mercury free, and fade out rather than burn out, and they use even less energy then CFL’s. If you have a light fixture that you have to use a ladder for, LED’s may be for you.

When looking for light bulbs be sure to either look at the color temperature or lumens. For the color temperature, there should be a scale on either the back or the front of the box.

A soft light bulb will not be very bright. Most incandescent bulbs are soft white. This explain their yellow-like appearance when they light up.

The next step up is natural light bulbs. This type of light is common for living room and family rooms. The last is daylight bulbs. Daylight bulbs will show colors as they truly are, and are common in the bathroom.

Lumens are a little more tricky. For decent brightness you should stick around 800 lumens for a 60-watt bulb equivalent, 1,100 lumens for a 75-watt and 1,600 lumens for a 100-watt.

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