Winter is just around the corner, meaning another season of serene snowfalls, holidays with loved ones, evenings spent getting cozy by the fireplace, and of course – expensive energy bills. While there are plenty of tips you can use to save on heating costs this winter, one of the most cost-effective things you can do to reduce your energy bill at home is to replace your older, inefficient light bulbs with modern equivalents. Use this guide to home lighting choices and how they affect your energy bill, and start saving one bulb at a time!
If you haven’t changed your light bulbs in a long time, chances are you’re still using incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are the traditional choice, and they haven’t changed much since their introduction more than 100 years ago. Though these bulbs are cheaper than modern equivalents, they are far less efficient, giving off up to 90% of the energy they use as heat. That lost energy is money that you’re currently throwing away if you haven’t yet upgraded.
Halogen light bulbs are similar to incandescents, but they have a capsule inside that holds gas around a filament, which increases operating temperature, efficiency and lifespan. Halogen bulbs give off a crisp, bright, white light that doesn’t fade over time, which is why they’re used for most automobile headlights.
Compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) are initially more expensive than standard incandescent light bulbs, but will save you money on energy costs in the long run. CFLs use about 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs according to ENERGY STAR®, and last up to 10 times longer, meaning you can reduce waste because you won’t need to replace your bulbs as frequently. Typically, within 9 months you can save enough money from using a CFL to cover the cost of its purchase, at which point you’ll start saving money each month.
LEDs, or light-emitting diodes are commonly used as indicator lights for electronics, but are now being incorporated into bulbs and fixtures for general lighting applications. LED lighting can be more efficient, durable, and longer lasting than CFL, and the bulbs don’t contain harmful heavy metals that are dangerous to people and to the environment.
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