The 2007 Energy Law mandated that manufacturers start making incandescent light bulbs more efficient. Manufacturers have been phasing out various types of incandescent bulbs since 2012. As of the beginning of 2014, 40 and 60 watt incandescent bulbs have been phased out.
“There are changes on the way for light bulbs. For example, incandescent bulbs are being phased out,” said Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks. “If you are not sure what this is going to mean for you, check with your electrician because you might find you have lighting fixtures that will need to be changed.”
The most common alternatives to incandescent light bulbs are CFL’s and LED’s. CFL’s only need one–fifth to one–third the electricity of incandescent to produce the same amount of light and last about ten times as long.
“They start up initially, but takes them a while to warm up,” lighting designer Don Dragoo said. “So, to reach the optimum light output it’s going to take a couple of minutes.”
LED’s are up to 85 percent more efficient than incandescent and 10 percent more efficient than CFL’s.
“A lot of the LED’s require a special type of dimmer,” added Dragoo. “People who are replacing incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs have to be cognizant of the requirements of replacing that dimmer with a specialty dimmer that works in conjunction with the LED’s.”
“When you look at total life of that bulb versus what you paid for that bulb versus what the amount of energy that bulb is using, these are much cheaper,” said the Managing Director of GoodCents, Bob Nuss. “So the tradeoff there is if you want to keep your old incandescent light bulbs you’re going to pay more and change them out more. They are going to create more heat in your home as well.”
Lighting is one of the top energy users in the home so when shopping for light bulbs check how much energy the bulb uses because that will have an impact on your electric bill.
“Look at the mission of the light bulb. What are you using it for? If you’re just trying to get general light out of it, then I go with the bulb that uses the least amount of energy,” Nuss said.
If you’re looking to switch over your light bulbs, but can’t make them work in existing lamps or fixtures, Angie’s List recommends consulting with a licensed electrician or lighting professional.