ButSwitch to Which? – this EASY primer helped me considerably on the Pros/ Cons and cost $$$ of the new light bulbs.  Hallelujah! you do NOT have to live with those icky light bulb colors any more!!!   AND, if you happen to own beautiful silk lampshades – these new bulbs will extend its life!    Hard finding the right bulb? Go to:  www.bulborama.com or www.lightingandbulbsunlimited.com for the best advice!

This info from May 2011 Traditional Home Magazine article “Switch to Which?” and “Green Light, Go!” Mar 24, 2012 The Wall Street Journal and updates from Charlotte Observer, 2.16.13, “Making the switch”.

Ready or not, it’s time to make the switch.  Beginning in 2012 the industry will start phasing out incandescent bulbs.  They will start with the 100-watt bulb, and each year another wattage will be eliminated.

The low-down on the bulbs:  CFLs take a while to reach their full brightness and don’t dim reliably, and many consumers complain that the light quality isn’t as kind to eyes (or faces) as the good old incandescent.  But new advances are coming fast and furious.  CFLs now work with new dimmer switches and are being made to fit recessed light fixtures with dimming systems.  There are “soft white,” “cool white,” and “daylight” CFLs that minic the light quality of incandescent bulbs. One of the longer lasting, more efficient bulbs can save up to $40 in electric cost over its lifetime!! (That pays for itself!)


Best to Use 

Long-lasting and low-wattage, LEDs are versatile, don’t run hot, and are great for illuminating artwork or work spaces (think kitchens).  LEDs cost more but last longer and have greater potential for use inside the home than even CFLs, say experts.  Plus, they’re mercury-free, making them the greenest choice. Best Brands: for Recessed CansSylvania Ultra Professional Series LED.  For Lamps The Phillips L Prize LED (appears yellow but glows pure white).


Here is where the “rubber meets the road”! LED bulbs can last up to 45,000 hours or more than 20 years, depending on use.  That means it could last as long as from the birth of your child to when they go to college!!  The equivalent of a 40-watt bulb costs approx $30.


Best to Use

CFLs can replace incandescent bulbs in most household fixtures, including lamps, ceiling, and recessed lights.  Each uses approximately 75 percent less energy, throws off less heat, and last 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.  CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury so handle with care and dispose at a designated recycling facility. (www.search.earth911.com for listings)

Best Brand: GE Reveal Spiral CFL (cast some of the most pleasing light of any CFL on the market)


CFLs should last a minimum of 10,000 hours but cost two to three times that of an incandescent. They use 2/3 less energy than incandescents.  Aprox cost: $1.50 – $3.50


Best to Use

Halogen lights are an older, more familiar illumination source but are being outshone by newer technologies.  Halogen bulbs last three times as long as incandescents but throw off a lot of heat.  They are largely used in outdoor floodlights and small spotlights, such as under cabinets.  Halogen lights last up to 3,000 hours. Best Brand: The GE Energy Efficient Reveal Clear Halogen (it is best used for creating a warm ambiance.)


A compact 40-watt halogen bulb will cost approx $5 – and up to $40 for a floodlight.


Manufacturers are combining technologies to address the slow brightening problem of CFLs.  GE’s new Reveal hybrid bulb is both CFL and halogen for combining energy savings and instant light! Best Brand: GE Reveal Hybrid CFL (has a halogen bulb that turns off once the CFL has warmed up.)


  • *Decorative bulbs – Candelabra-base LED and Halogen bulbs create glittering effects in chandeliers.
  • *Save Money –  choose bulbs that give you more lumens per watt, even if they cost more.
  • *Setting the Mood – makers Lutron and Leviton are introducing dimmer switches that work better with CFLs and LED bulbs. **If one of these new bulbs “blows” in your fixture, look for another brand. That means it is not compatible. This “weirdness” will ultimately works itself out in the industry.


Brightness – The amount of light a bulb emits, expressed in lumens

Energy Costs – The average cost to run a bulb for one year

Life – The average life of a bulb, expressed in years

Light Appearance – How warm (yellowish white) or cool (bluish white) the light appears

Energy Used – The amount of electrical power the bulb uses, expressed in watts

Mercury – The bulb contains a small amount of mercury.  Recycling is recommended.

(CFL labels only)          Go online to www.epa.gov/cfl for information.

From the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (lightbulboptions.com)


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