Energy Saving Light Bulbs - Which Save the Most on Our Bills?

Do you know that lighting up your home is about 11% of all the electricity you use? Do you know that switching to energy efficient light bulbs can decrease your energy costs with at least $50 per year, if you give up 15 traditional light bulbs? The energy saving light bulbs are not only a great green step forward, but also a good money saver. The more energy efficient are your light bulbs, the bigger the savings. Here is a comparison of the major types of energy saving light bulbs used at home, the pros and cons.
Incandescent bulbs - What has changed after 130 years?
These are the traditional light bulbs that we use for the last 130 years. We are so much used to them that we hardly pay attention to how often we have to replace them. The life of one incandescent bulb is between 700 - 1000 hours. Their major drawback is that 90% of the energy is produced as heat instead of light. That's why they get so hot once they are switched on.
Finally, beginning 2012 the Energy Independence and Security Act will come into effect and will require the light bulbs in use to be 25 - 30% more efficient than the current incandescent light bulbs. We will use the so called halogen incandescents, which will last 3 times longer than the traditional ones.
Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)
They are the same as fluorescent lights but smaller and with a warmer light. CFLs live longer than the incandescent bulbs - between 7500 and 10000 hours. A 14 Watts CFL is equivalent to 60 Watts incandescent bulb. There are also dimmer switch CFLs. If you want to match the warm white light of the incandescent bulbs, choose CFLs with K (Kelvin) number between 2700 - 3000.
CFLs are more expensive than incandescent bulbs, but they use 75% less energy and will pay for themselves in about 9 months. After that you start saving!
Apart from being energy saving light bulbs, CFLs have some disadvantages:

the small amount of mercury (toxic metal) in the lamp is considered as health thread if the bulb gets broken; Note: Always recycle your CFLs!
CFLs need 1 - 3 minutes of warming up till they reach their full light power, so this makes them a good choice for rooms where lights are left switched on more than 15 minutes;
if CFLs are switched on and off very often they lose much of their lifespan;
CFLs are sensitive to high and low temperatures as well as dampness.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) - The Most Energy Saving Light Bulbs for Your Home
LEDs have stopped to be used as pen lights only and are now considered as the most energy saving light bulbs to lighten up our homes. The 60 Watts incandescent bulb is equivalent to 6 Watts LED. Their lifespan is 50000 hours. They are mercury-free and very solid.
The initial cost of LEDs is higher than the one of CFLs, but these bulbs require 75 - 80% less energy, so they will pay back the investment you have made. Moreover, LED technology evolves very quickly, which makes the price of LEDs continuously drop.
How to Conserve Energy - Final Tips:

make sure you replace your conventional holiday light strings with LEDs to save energy and money;
look at the label of the energy saving light bulbs before shopping. 1600 lumens is equivalent to a 100-watt incandescent bulb. The higher the number of lumens, the brighter the light is.
find energy star appliance rebates in your state.

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