Tips for buying the new style lightbulbs.

We are now basing the purchase of light bulbs on lumens that the lights provide not in the watts that they use. Lumens are a measure of brightness. The more lumens the brighter the light, the less lumens  the dimmer the light.

According to the US Department of Energy the brightness, or lumen levels, of the lights in your home may vary widely, so here’s a rule of thumb:

  • To replace a 100 watt (W) incandescent bulb, look for a bulb that gives you about 1600 lumens. If you want something dimmer, go for less lumens; if you prefer brighter light, look for more lumens.
  • Replace a 75W bulb with an energy-saving bulb that gives you about 1100 lumens
  • Replace a 60W bulb with an energy-saving bulb that gives you about 800 lumens
  • Replace a 40W bulb with an energy-saving bulb that gives you about 450 lumens.

What Should I Look For On The Package? The Lighting Facts Label

To help consumers better understand the switch from watts to lumens, the Federal Trade Commission requires a new product label for light bulbs. It helps people buy the light bulbs that are right for them.

The EPA website contains a free app to help you figure out which light bulb can replace your current incandescent bulbs.   It is easy to use and you can create and save a shopping list of bulbs that you use in your home.  I hope you find it as helpful as I did!

Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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Confused about the new styles of light bulbs?

Has anyone else been confused when trying to figure out the best light bulb to replace the old standard incandescent bulb? There are cfl’s and led’s and halogen lights. Which one should I choose???

All three of these choices are more energy efficient than the traditional bulbs that we have been using. These are some of the choices of lights currently available courtesy of the Department of Energy .

Energy Saving incandescent or halogen bulbs have a capsule inside that holds gas around a filament to increase bulb efficiency. This bulb is about 25% more efficient and can last up to three times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. They are available in a wide range of shapes and colors, and can be used with dimmers.

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are simply curly versions of the long tube fluorescent lights you may already have in a kitchen or garage. Because they use less electricity than traditional incandescents, typical CFLs can pay for themselves in less than nine months, and then start saving you money each month. An ENERGY STAR-qualified CFL uses about one-fourth the energy and lasts ten times longer than a comparable incandescent bulb that puts out the same amount of light.

CFL bulbs are available in a range of light colors, including warm (white to yellow) tones that were not as available when first introduced. Some are encased in a cover to further diffuse the light and provide a similar shape to the bulbs you are replacing. If you are looking for a dimmable bulb, check the package to make sure you purchase a CFL with that feature.

Fluorescent bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, and they should always be recycled at the end of their lifespan. Many retailers recycle CFLs for free. See EPA’s website for more information.

CFL’s work best if they are left on for at least 15 minutes each time they are turned on.  If they are turned on and off more frequently they will not meet their life expectancy.

The light emitting diode (LED) are a type of solid-state lighting — semiconductors that convert electricity into light. Although once known mainly for indicator and traffic lights, LEDs in white light, general illumination applications are one of today’s most energy-efficient and rapidly-developing technologies ENERGY STAR-qualified LEDs use only 20%–25% of the energy and last up to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs they replace.

LED bulbs are currently available in many products such as replacements for 40W, 60W, and 75W traditional incandescent, reflector bulbs often used in recessed fixtures, and small track lights. While LEDs are more expensive at this early stage, they still save money because they last a long time and have very low energy use. As with other electronics, prices are expected to come down as more products enter the market.

Next time we will talk about how to choose the right bulb for your fixture. We will also show you the new labels that help you determine which bulbs will compare to the light your current bulbs are giving you. Look for a fun new app that we will share with you!

Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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