Since the invention of the lightbulb until recent years, the incandescent lightbulb was king. Times change, however, and by January next year the new, more energy efficient bulbs will take their place. You may have already noticed that, as of a few years ago, 75-watt bulbs were no longer found on store shelves. 100-watt shelves similarly disappeared in 2015, and the 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs will be the final tier in phasing out these outdated light bulbs.
Although change can be a nuisance, this is one of those times when it will save you enough money to make it worth the hassle. An average home is equipped with 50 light bulbs, and since the new compact fluorescent light bulbs (also known simply as “CFLs”) or light-emitting diode bulbs (“LEDs”) consume as much as 80% less energy than an old 60-watt incandescent light bulb, the cost savings could be as much as $125 per bulb!
LEDs vs. CFLs vs. Halogen bulbs
When looking at price tags alone, there’s no contest when it comes to deciding between LEDs and CFLs. LEDs can cost as much as $60 per bulb; the price tag is still worth it, of course, because it will grant you an overall savings of approximately $170 throughout its lifetime, but it is still a hefty sum for the average homeowner. We can expect to see this price drop – in the next year or so, the price will drop to around $10; you can even find ones for $20 already. Still, the price of LEDs pales in comparison to CFLs, which cost as little as $1.25 each.
Why are CFLs so cheap compared to LEDs? They take longer to reach their maximum level of brightness (approximately half a minute, whereas LEDs take much less), they don’t have as long a lifetime as LEDs, and they usually can’t be dimmed.
If you opt for halogen light bulbs, which are actually a kind of incandescent bulbs, you will be paying twice as much in energy bills as compared to LEDs and CFLs, and their lifespan is quite short compared t the other, eco-friendlier options.
What do all those numbers mean?
When looking at a box with a lightbulb in it, you are likely to see some numbers that may not make sense to you right away. Whether it’s the Kelvin (K) number or the quantity of Lumens, you’re probably a little confused about what’s what. Here are the basics for figuring them out.
Kelvin (K) number
A good rule of thumb is the lower the number, the warmer the color of the light. As a general guideline, between 5000 and 6500K is going to be a bluish light, between 3500 and 4100K is a bright white, 3000K is simply your basic white, and 2700K is a warm yellow color.
The smaller number is the Lumens number, and that is referring to the bulb’s brightness. In this case, 450 and up is approximately the brightness of an incandescent 40-watt bulb, 800 or more is a 60-watt, 1,100 or more is a 75-watt, and 1,600 or more is the brightness of a 100-watt bulb.
Color Rendering Index (CRI)
The CRI spans a range between 0 and 100. For use within your home, you should go with bulbs that have a CRI of 80 or more.