Did you know roughly 1/4 of your electricity bill is used specifically for lighting? With recent changes in lighting technology, we now have the ability to control the costs of our electricity consumption more effectively. Choosing the right light bulbs for your home or business may be confusing with all the different options we have today, so we’ve listed the three most common types in hopes to shed some light on the issue.
Incandescent bulbs, the oldest and most common bulbs on the market, are relatively inefficient compared to other bulbs. They work by connecting an electric current that travels through a wire filament, heating up the filament until it illuminates. Unfortunately, up to 90% of the actual energy it consumes produces heat. The cost of each bulb is the lowest compared to other bulb types, but their lifespan is also the shortest, as they only last up to 2 years (based off 3 hours of use / day). With the passing of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, manufacturers are working to produce more efficient incandescent bulbs that produce up to 25% less energy.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
Distinctive by their bold designs, Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are the most energy and cost effective bulb type on the market today. An electric current is driven through a tube containing argon, and a small amount of mercury vapor that triggers the actual illumination. CFLs use up to 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, cutting overall electricity costs significantly without producing excess heat. Their lifespan can be pushed up to 9 years, and technically pay for themselves after just 9 months of use, costing less than half as incandesces bulbs for the same amount of light.
Note: research has shown that CFL’s work best when left on for long periods of time, but lose efficiency when turned on and off regularly. Because of this, it may be best not to use CFL light bulbs in areas like closets where the lights are usually just flipped on then off.
Light Emitting Diodes (LED)
Making an appearance in electronics starting in 1962, Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs), are rapidly taking the lighting industry by storm with its highly effective technology. By connecting a diode to an electrical current, electrodes are triggered within the diode, forcing them to release photons, which we see as light. The up-front costs of LEDs are higher compared to other bulb-types, but ultimately they last up to 25% longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Manufacturing has increased drastically in recent years, and companies are expected to offer more affordability in the near future. By reducing energy consumption by up to 80%, LEDs pave a direct path to lower electricity bills.