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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Save Money Lighting Your Home With LED

What's happening, everyone?  Another tropical storm in Baja has pushed some serious weather into San Diego county today and I'm sitting here at 6:35 a.m. listening to thunder and rain.  If there's thunder, there's lightning, and I'm always amazed at how bright a bolt can be.  I have all of my family room lights on (6 total bulbs) and when a bolt strikes, the light coming from outside does away with all the remaining darkness the bulbs couldn't handle.

The bulbs in my home happen to be the topic of today's blog post.  You see, it wasn't until this year, ten years after I moved in, that I started to consider buying something other than the standard incandescent light bulb to replace burned out bulbs.  This means I have been wasting my money for ten years!  As it stands today, I have several bulbs out.  I have some in my bathroom that need replacing, and in the hallways.


One of my floodlights in the hallway is out again!



In the master bath.  I hate globe lights.  Haven't gotten around to changing the fixtures.  Look how sloppy it is...some are white coat incandescent and the others are clear incandescent.

I thought about saving money on my lighting and understood that the other options available would undeniably cost me more upfront.  But what were those options?  I knew about halogens, and compact fluorescent (I actually had one of these bulbs on a lamp and had forgotten about it...can't even recall when I bought it), but was not aware LED were now in stores.  Here is an outstanding brochure/pdf created by Nema.org: Lighting Options for Your Home.

A compact fluorescent bulb in the pic to the left.  The temptation to buy an incandescent light bulb is obvious: they're cheap!  And for the frugal minded individual, the rush you'd get from not paying a lot is hard to subdue.  But subdue you must!  Consider this: the life expectancy of a standard light bulb is between 750-1000 hours.  This is about 6-8 months of life.  How often have you had to replace a light bulb around your home?  For me...it's quite often.

A four pack of 60-watt bulbs will run you about $6.18 or $1.54 per bulb on Amazon (Sylvania; it got 3 stars).  In comparison, at the Home Depot, you can get a four pack for $4.97 or $1.24 per bulb (EcoSmart; it got 2 stars).  As a science major, I have to add that incandescent light bulbs are very inefficient.  Up to 90% of the energy going into the filament of these types of bulbs is lost to the environment as heat.  Only 10% is actual lighting.  A big waste of energy!

Compact Fluorescent Lights

The average cost of a CFL bulb today is about $3.50 and they can last up to 8.5 years!  You'll pay $9.99 at Amazon for a four pack of 60-watt equivalent CFL bulbs by Ecosmart.  Meanwhile, at the HD, you can get them for $7.98 (Phillips 60-watt equivalent Soft White).  CFL bulbs utilize between 9 and 26 watts of actual power compared to your true 60-watt incandescent.  Sure, you can use a 40-watt incandescent bulb, but you'll sacrifice lumens doing it.  Scientifically speaking, a CFL uses less energy to produce the same amount of light as an incandescent!  This is excellent news for your electricity bill.


L.E.D. or Light Emitting Diode bulbs 

I decided to replace my currently busted light bulbs with LED bulbs.  But boy were they expensive.  I had to keep repeating to myself that I would be saving money in the long run in order to go through with the purchases.  Prices have started to come down though.  At Amazon, you can get a 6-pack of 60-watt equivalent soft white LED bulbs by TCP for only $23.99 or $3.99 per bulb.  It's a #1 Best seller with over 1,000 customer reviews and a 4.6 rating.  You'll spend $42.22 for a 6-pack of LED soft white lights by Cree TW at the HD.  I found them cheaper at Walmart!

A single Great Value brand 60-watt equivalent soft white bulb will only cost you $2.44 at Walmart.  That's better than the Amazon deal.  LED bulbs use the least amount of energy, around 10 actual watts, and can last up to 23 years in some cases.  





I bought a single LED Flood Light at Walmart for $10.88 and found I could get them for less per bulb at Amazon (TCP BR30 65-watt equivalent 6 pack for $35.99 or $5.99 per bulb) when I got home.  Drat!  Get the 6-pack LED flood lights at Amazon and the single soft white LED standard lamp bulbs at Walmart!

Here is a table that compares the three types of light bulbs available for consumers:

  

Here's a pic that compares durability:



The prices for LED lights keep dropping.  In a few years, they'll be even cheaper.  What I suggest is that you systematically replace each bulb as they go out.  That's obvious, of course.  Just want to make sure you don't go crazy with this.  Also, buy the packs when it makes more economical sense to do so.  One last tip, if you plan on moving, make sure you don't forget your LED bulbs!  No sense in leaving them for the next person, especially if they have a decade or more of life left in them.

I hope this post has been useful to you.  If you liked it and want to make sure you never miss one like it, make sure you subscribe before you leave.  Thanks for reading!  C-los, out!  

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