Let there be light… and let there be options.
Between 2012 and 2014, new government energy standards stopped the production of incandescent, Thomas Edison-style, light bulbs due to their poor energy efficiency, which hurt the environment and wasted consumer money. Retailers are still permitted to sell off old incandescent light-bulbs, and many are still used in homes.
In fact, some people are so passionate about incandescent lights that they created an online petition to bring them back.
If you are still using incandescent light-bulbs in your home, this is the time to upgrade and save plenty of money.
Three major successors to the incandescent light-bulb are all vying for your attention. They are: Compact Fluorescent light-bulbs (CFL’s), Halogen light-bulbs, and Light Emitting Diodes (LED’s).
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
CFL’s produce light by heating argon gas and mercury vapor contained within a glass tube. Head and shoulders better than incandescent light bulbs, CFL’s use 75% less energy and have a long lifespan, lasting for around 8,000 hours of use. This compares favorably to the 1,200 hours you can expect from an incandescent light. CFL’s are only slightly more expensive than the incandescent light-bulbs they are made to replace.
There are some downsides to CFL’s, unfortunately. The biggest of which is the presence of the mercury vapor, which is an ever present danger, as it gets released in your home if the bulb ever breaks. The Mercury also means you have to be more careful when disposing of spent CFL’s. Furthermore, they don’t work with dimmers and are slow to reach their full brightness which makes them less desired in homes.
- Energy efficient
- Relatively inexpensive
- Larry King lifespan
- Mercury is highly toxic
- Incompatible with dimmers
- Slow to reach full brightness
Halogen Light Bulbs
Halogen light-bulbs, similar to CFL’s, function by heating a gas trapped in a glass tube to produce light. Halogen light bulbs, as the name implies, heat Halogen gasses instead of Argon. Halogen lights are only rated 25% more efficient than a traditional incandescent light-bulb but have several other advantages. Firstly, they are safer because mercury is not present, whatsoever. In contrast to CFL’s, they instantly reach their full brightness and work with a dimmer. Finally, the quality of light they produce is said to be very pleasant and most akin to that of the incandescent light-bulb.
While the energy savings isn’t as robust as either of their major competitors, Halogen light bulbs are also hurt by their poor lifespan that is significantly less than both CFL’s and LED’s. Their price is far cheaper than the expensive LED option, and is similar to CFL’s.
- Pleasant light quality
- No toxic mercury
- Relatively Inexpensive
- Short lifespan
- Only minor increase in energy efficiency compared to incandescent lights
Light Emitting Diodes
LED’s work by merging positively and negatively charged subatomic particles in a diode; the extra energy of the molecular combination produces visible light.
In many ways, LED’s are the defacto leader of the pack. They are even more efficient than the highly-efficient CFL’s but contain no dangerous mercury. Their life span is reported at a staggering 50,000 hours of use, and they brighten instantly and most work with dimmers. They are clearly the numerical victor here.
All of those advantages, however, come at a steep price, costing between five and ten times more than a CFL or Halogen light. It is reasonable to pay between five and fifteen dollars for a single bulb while they can go for as much as thirty dollars. Overtime, the reduced energy cost and long life can recover the initial price.
- The most energy efficient
- Practically immortal lifespan
- No toxic Mercury
- Compatible with dimmers
Whichever option you choose, there are advantages and disadvantages.
Contact Us to talk about your lighting and your electrical needs.