Replacing incandescent bulbs with CFL (Compact Flourescent Light) or LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs can make a big difference in energy consumption. CFL or LED bulbs use 75 to 80 percent less watts than corresponding incandescent bulbs, according to DTE Energy.
Plus, using CFL's or LED's, decreases the frequency of bulb replacement. LED bulbs can last 15-20 years. CFL's can last five years.
Now that the price of LED bulbs is cheaper, it is more cost effective to make the switch. The Home Depot is selling 2 packs of LED (12 watt) 60 watt equivalent bulbs for $4.97. The website has a guide for lighting choices, www.homedepot.com.
Lowes, Menards, Meijer, Target and Walmart also offer low prices on LED bulbs and membership clubs like Sam's Club and Costco have bulk deals on bulbs.
The average household has 30 light fixtures. So replacing that many bulbs, would cost around $75 using the previously mentioned LED 2-pack. The savings in light bulb replacement over 15 years would be approximately $150.
The average usage cost savings would be $173 per year x 15 years equals $2,595. Usage cost, based on 3 hours per day, is $7.23 per year for an incandescent bulb, while an LED bulb is $1.45 per year, according to DTE Energy.
CFL bulbs are cheaper than LED bulbs, but they don't last as long and don't work well with dimmers. CFL's are close to be being as efficient as LED's.
CFL's have a tiny amount of mercury – 4 milligrams – within the glass tubing. All fluorescent lights have mercury. In comparison, there are 1 to 3 grams of mercury in a home thermometer. These items should not be thrown into trash. The Home Depot, Lowe’s and other participating retailers have CFL recycling bins available to consumers, or visit search.earth911.com for how to recycle anything.
As LED light bulbs become cheaper and as more shades of brightness become available: it makes increasingly more sense to switch to LED lighting.