For homeowners aiming to control energy costs, reducing household lighting expenses is a worthwhile target. Lighting accounts for 5 percent to 10 percent of total home energy consumption and the average household spends between $100 and $200 a year to pay for it. Today, incandescent bulbs are limited to halogen fixtures, but you have two better options to control energy costs of lighting your home. The best news is, making the change can be as simple as unscrewing a light bulb.

Compact Fluorescent

Known as CFLs, these bulbs are basically mini versions of the long fluorescent tubes regularly seen in stores and in other commercial applications. However, today’s CFLs are available in a range of softer color temperatures so you don’t have to deal with the harsh light associated with fluorescent tubes. A CFL bulb that produces the same amount of illumination as a 60-watt incandescent bulb consumes about 13 watts of electricity. The expected lifespan is 8,000 hours.

Pros Of CFLs

  • Energy consumption is lower than incandescent bulbs.
  • Lower upfront cost than LED lamps.
  • Generates bright light that diffuses evenly in a room.

Cons Of CFLs

  • Requires a few minutes to warm up to full brightness.
  • Unless specifically labeled, most CFLs are incompatible with dimmer switches.
  • Less effective in very cold temperatures.

LEDs

Light-emitting diodes are technically termed “lamps” instead of bulbs. An LED lamp incorporates a diode array that generates light when energized by electricity. The stand-out advantage of LEDs is extremely long life. Most consumer-grade models claim life spans of 25,000+ hours—three times the CFL lifespan. A 10-watt LED bulb produces as much light as a 13-watt CFL.

Pros Of LED Lamps

  • Lowest energy consumption of all options.
  • Longest expected life and reliability.
  • Instant on—zero warm-up to reach full brightness.
  • Many are dimmer-compatible.
  • Not sensitive to cold temperatures.

Cons Of LEDs

  • Present retail cost is two to three times CFL price, though prices are dropping.
  • Light is more directional than CFLs and doesn’t spread as efficiently.

Looking for more ways to control energy costs? In greater Cincinnati, contact the efficiency pros at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.