Light bulb changes for 2014

Published On: Jan 11 2014 09:31:35 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 13 2014 05:40:00 AM EST

Say goodbye to your old light bulbs. The 2007 Energy Law has mandated that manufacturers must start making incandescent light bulbs at least 27 percent more efficient by 2014. In 2012, manufacturers started phasing out 100-watt incandescent bulbs, followed by 75-watt bulbs in in 2013 and 40 and 60-watt bulbs in 2014.

Angie’s List asked highly rated lighting professionals for advice on available options.

Alternatives to Incandescent Light Bulbs:

Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs): CFLs were designed specifically to replace incandescent bulbs. Most fit into the same size light socket as their incandescent counterparts. They contain two essential components: a curved tube lighting tube and compact electronic ballast.

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs): LEDs are the most recent contender in the lighting market. These compact bulbs have been used for years in Christmas decorations and children's toys, but they're becoming popular for whole-home lighting as well.

When you choose lighting for your home, you have several factors to consider:

  1. Lighting mission? What are you using the bulb for? What kind of light are you trying to create? Do you want it to dim? Do you want a 3-way bulb? Not every bulb will work in all lamps/fixtures.
  2. Cost: You’ll pay more than incandescent bulbs, but they will last longer and not produce as much heat.
  3. Amount of energy: Check how much energy the bulb uses because that will have an impact on your electric bill.
  4. Durability: How long will the lights you choose last? A year? Two? Five?
  5. Appearance: Different types of bulbs produce different colors and temperatures of light, which can significantly alter the tone of a living room or kitchen.

Waste not, watt not:
With incandescent bulbs, a watt was a reasonable unit of measure to compare the intensity of light. So you knew that 100-watt bulbs were brightest, followed by 75-watt, then 60-watt bulbs, and so on. But a watt is a unit of power, not brightness. Those incandescent bulbs convert only about 5% of the energy they use into light.
Lumens are a better measure of brightness. A lumen is unit of measure for light perceived by your eye. So while an LED bulb may only emit 10 watts of energy, it can glow up to 44 percent brighter than a 60-watt incandescent bulb.

If you're looking to switch over to LEDs but can't make them work in existing sockets, it may be worth hiring an electrician to update your wiring and fixtures.