With the current phase out of incandescent light bulbs rapidly approaching, what are the alternative replacement bulbs on the market? Well let’s start with a little history and see where we are today.
Over a century ago, Thomas Edison created the first light bulb. This was great news for the modern world that was being developed at the time even though the lamps did not last very long and were complete energy hogs. The incandescent lamp was evolved year after year until in the early 90’s Phillips developed a lamp that could last up to 60k hours, or about 2.5 years. The cost of the lamp is low compared to the energy costs the lamp incurs over its lifetime.
Today, with the phase out of the old standard incandescent light bulbs, newer and more efficient lighting technology is being produced. Compact fluorescent and LED lamps are becoming the standard option when replacing the out of date incandescent lamps. Both CFL and LED lamps last longer, provide the same illumination, and consume much less power. There are variances between the two technologies, so let’s see which one will work best for your application.
CFL - Compact Fluorescent Lamps
CFL lamps are a twisted version of your typical fluorescent lamps. They include their own ballast integrated into the lamp and can screw into standard sockets making replacement painless. CFL lamps also use one third to one fifth the energy of an incandescent lamp, last ten times longer, and can provide the same color light. Even though the lamps cost a little more than the old style lamps, the payback is almost immediate.
LED - Light Emitting Diode Lamps
LED lamps are the newest technology and use solid state lighting and are now being configured with the same bases as incandescent and CFL lamps for easy change out. LED lamps use a fraction of energy and produce the same light output as CFL lamps. They also last longer, provide the same color light along with different colors of light for mood / decorative lighting, and use even less energy. The costs are high with LED lamps, but the costs are coming down and the efficiency and options are increasing every day.
Compact fluorescent lamps are a great alternative for people making the initial switch. There are a wide variety of options available from small candelabra lamps to large flood lamps. LEDs last longer than compact fluorescents and do not produce the heat associated with other lamps. They are also mercury free and more efficient. Whichever option you choose, remember the initial cost will be overcome by the savings in energy bills over the life of the lamp and you will be doing your part in helping conserve energy and switch to a green option.