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Energy Saving Light Bulbs – Yes or No?

Updated on July 31, 2016

Choosing the right one

Energy saving light bulbs are becoming more and more popular. The reason is people are getting more conscious about saving the nature and of course spend less money on electricity bills.

There are three main types: halogens, LEDs (Light Emitting Diode) and CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamp). You don’t need to know how they work but you do need to know whether they’re worth your while! We’ll help you answer the question – energy saving light bulbs: yes or no? We’ll do this by taking you through a hypothetical decision making process.

When choosing a bulb for a room you must first know the shape, fitting and brightness required. You can consult different manuals or search through the internet for answers. Another option is to go to the nearest hardware store and ask the clerk about the specifics of where you're going to use the light bulb. "In what type of room it is (bathroom, bedroom), moist conditions, windows or not, is it outside?" every piece of information is very important to make the right choice.

Know this already? Great, then you’re ready to start deciding what energy saving light bulb is right for you. We’ll decide from halogens, LEDs, CFLs or the hugely popular and non-energy saving incandescent light bulb.

1. Halogens

Halogens emit a pure white light that are perfect for reading as they’re known to reduce eye strain. Furthermore, they have a long life and in most cases will still be functional twice as long as an incandescent.

On the other hand if left on for a long period of time halogen bulbs will begin to heat up and become hazardous if kept on for long enough. Be careful when leaving stuff around the light bulb. Once, I left an empty cardboard box near a halogen light bulb and it had burn marks in the morning. If used properly it’s important to note that the shell in which the inner bulb is encased is extremely resistant.

While they are perfect for reading you should know they should not be left completely exposed. They give off a strong glare – solve this issue by directing them or partially covering them.

2. LEDs

Very modern, top of the light bulb industry and extremely efficient. Compared to incandescent bulbs they are superbly energy efficient, they can be up to 80% cheaper to run. In addition, unlike halogens and incandescent bulbs they don’t waste energy on heat and therefore don’t get hot. They're perfect for a place where you need the light to be on most of the day. And if this isn't enough for you, well, there are some new models (shown on the picture) which you can control via your smartphone. How cool is that? I can't really say if they're suitable for an ordinary family but if you want to spoil yourself and get one of those, you can surely brag about it to any guest that visits your home.

So, where's the catch? Well, the price. LEDs can be extremely expensive especially when you go up to 100W. Also, while their main disadvantage is their cost, their light is not as good as other light bulbs and in some cases will fail in high temperature. I personally have tried them in my living room but I find the light very weak and cold for my taste (like in a hospital).


Wi-fi LED Light Bulbs

3. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLS)

CFLs like LEDs are much more energy efficient than the average light bulb and save roughly 75% more energy. They’re readily available and relatively cheap. This type of light bulbs are known for their low brightness compared to the that of the incandescent ones. But have no fear, modern models have already achieved similar if not the same brightness. You'll just have to pay a bit more for them.

The major downside of CFLs is the time it takes them to turn on, with some taking approximately three minutes to reach optimum brightness (cheap models mostly). This could be a huge turn off for people who have a busy life and don't want to wait for their light bulb to turn on for ages. Also, CFLs contain an average of 5 miligrams of mercury which means you can't just dispose of them in the trash can. They have to be recycled.


4. Good old incandescent light bulbs

Finally, the incandescent bulb is non-energy saving but is used in the vast majority of households in the world. It was inventented by Thomas Edison in 1879 and is still very much used nowadays. Compared to the above mentioned ones they work fantastically well in small areas and they’re cheap to buy. They turn on fast and have very warm light. I personally like them a lot because of the cozy atmosphere they create in a room.

What’s wrong with them then? For one, they don't last very long. If humidity is high in the area they can burn out every few weeks. I really don't recommend them for a bathroom or a moist cellar, because "cheap" can quickly "become" expensive. Also, it’s not advisable to use them in large areas. They waste roughly 90% of energy (especially when you use the very bright one above 100W).

Conclusion

So to answer the question we posed at the beginning of this article: you should say ‘yes’ to energy saving light bulbs. The guarantee of further refinements of the technology in the future means that the cost of LEDs for example will be reduced, you’ll save more energy and the run of the mill, average incandescent light bulb will begin to be phased out. In short, these light bulbs will pay you back – when the cost of electricity, the bulb itself and how often it’s used is taken into account almost all energy savers are more cost-effective than non-energy savers. Yes, they’ll take a little more time to turn on but they’re still worth it. So what’re you waiting for? Get shopping today!

Which ligh bulbs do you prefer using in your home?

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