The Lights Are On But Nobody’s Home

I walked into Home Depot the other day and went to pick out some light bulbs. I saw the giant wall of all the different types and was intimidated. I am not a complete idiot, I knew that the twisty ones were better than the regular ones and that LED are the best. But beyond that…. nuttin’. So I decided that if I was a little lost by it all, maybe some of you were too. I took it upon myself to do a little research and figure it all out. And because I found it interesting and learned some cool things, I thought I would share it today.
I know, I know. A post on light bulbs is not ubber exciting and I highly doubt this bugger will go viral. But I think it can help and it is somewhat DIY related. Maybe I should have turned it into a rap…… Anyway, here we go.

LightbulbIdea The Lights Are On But Nobodys Home

(source)

A real quick run down…..

INCANDESCENT BULBS: The standard light bulb that you think of when you you of light bulbs. Pro: They are dirt cheap Con: They consume energy about as fast as I consume potato chips and Utah Truffles on a Friday night. And they get really hot to the touch. They also do not have a long life.

FLUORESCENT: These light are really bright and are typically used in work spaces where you need to see well. Pro: They don’t get as hot as a incandescent and they have a longer life. Con: The light is not very flattering. The are long and straight and are not used in lamps or many other light fixtures.

COMPACT FLUORESCENT: The “twisty” ones :) It is just like its name suggests… compact. They took the long straight fluorescent one and twisted them into a shape that is compact and able to be used in more household light fixtures.  Pros: They are 75% more energy efficient than a standard incandescent light bulb and lives up to 9 years longer!!! Cons: Sometimes when you turn on a light they take a sec to turn on. They flicker or slowly get brighter until they are all the way on. Ummm *cough* They are not super attractive. This one is obviously my opinion. But I am not a fan of how they look in light fixtures. BUT I learned during my little research that they now have other looks. We will get to that later in the post :)

LED: The gold standard of light bulbs. They have no filament. They have light emitting diodes. Basically that means they don’t get hot. Okay so there’s a little more to it than that but I figured if you really wanted to know the deets you could google it. Pros: Like I said, they don’t get hot. Which comes in handy if you have little kids and lamps. Or is it only MY kids that touch everything…..? They use the least amount of energy to run out of all the light bulbs. They use 85% less energy than an incandescent light bulb and live 20 years longer. 20 YEARS!!! Dude. They also turn on instantly. They don’t have the flicker problems most Compact Fluorescent bulbs do. Con: They are the best but they also cost the most. But it could be argued than since they save you so much and last so much longer that it SAVES you money. It is an upfront cost you will get back. But it still makes it hard to hand over your card.

I thought That when it came to Compact Fluorescent bulbs that there was only the twisty kind. But I found that they have all sorts of shapes and looks. There are even more than I have pictured here. There are globe, flood, candelabra, oblong, etc. If you look closer you can see the coils on the inside of the ones that look “normal”.

CFL bulbs 1024x1024 The Lights Are On But Nobodys Home

There are lots of options with LED as well. In fact there are more options than the Compact Fluorescent bulbs. I have the one that is yellow. I am not a fan of its look but the company says the reason it is yellow is so it will have a more flattering light. It is meant to mimic the light of the incandescent bulbs.

LED bulbs 1024x1024 The Lights Are On But Nobodys Home

Things to look for when shopping for a light bulb:

*The Lumen count. The bigger the lumen number the brighter the light.

*The type of light (soft light, bright light, daylight, white light, etc) This it a matter of personal preference.

*The life of the bulb

*The energy cost per year

And finally, some fascinating fact about energy efficient bulbs.

Residential lighting uses 12% of a homes energy use. That is more than the refrigerator, dishwasher, and laundry combined.

Energy Star Christmas lights use 65% less energy than traditional incandescent ones.

By replacing your home’s 5 most used lights you could save $75 per year!

(This information is from The Home Depot’s website. They have a TON of information about all things energy efficient.)

TO SUM IT ALL UP…….

Here is my take on the matter. I have replaced the lamps in my front room with LED because of the fact that they do not get hot (kid safety) and they get used the most out of all our lamps. I will eventually replace all the lamps with LED. I have replaced all my other bulbs with the compact fluorescent. I do have two new light fixtures that are clear. I decided to add clear bulbs to those. They are not as energy efficient but since I changed all the other ones, I figured it was alright.

SO what are your thoughts??? Have you made the switch?

The Home Depot partnered with bloggers such as me for their Celebration
of Service Blog Network. As part of this program, I received compensation
for my time (ie. travel, accommodation). They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about
any product mentioned in these posts. The Home Depot believes that consumers
and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their
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  1. Amy says

    Great post Stacy! I found it very informative :) We have the “twisty” bulbs in almost all of our lamps/light fixtures. I didn’t know that LED bulbs were available for everyday use in lights and I had no idea that they last 20 years longer! That’s amazing! I need to show this article to my husband because he is a videographer and he knows all about lights for professional use but I’m not sure if he knows about LED lights for household use. Thanks for researching and sharing this useful info :) Have a great weekend!

  2. says

    We’ve used compact fluorescent, but will probably slowly make the change to LED, but they are so dang expensive. I think I need to take out a loan…

  3. says

    I have a mix of incandescent (in the living room where I like to have the 3-level lights and can’t bear the tone of the compact fluorescent and in our bedroom ceiling fans) and compact fluorescent in the bathrooms (where unflattering light can be helpful) and in exterior lights. Kitchen and hallway lighting is track lighting, which is halogen (I think). I have no idea how those rank on the energy scale, but they do last awhile. Thanks for the post. I didn’t even know about LED household bulbs. I may have to experiment now!

  4. says

    We mostly use CFL’s in our house. I prefer the “soft” glow…most similar to incadescent. I use “daylight” for the bathrooms.
    - We still use incadescent in our bedroom fan lighting, which is dimmable (and CFL dimmable lightbulbs are ridiculously expensive).

    - We still have fluorescent under cabinet lighting in the kitchen…hate, hate, hate! I never turn them on, cause they make that awful buzzing noise like they’re trying to trap a million flies! lol! I’ve actually been researching switching them out to these: Utilitech Hardwired Cabinet LED Light Bar Kit.

  5. Teri says

    Add to the above: There are health concerns with flourescents. The older kind can trigger migraines and epilipsy; the newer ones contain mercury and if they break it is a real problem. You have to evacuate the premises and call a hazmat team. I am not joking.

  6. Delaney says

    I’ve wanted to make the switch…hopefully to a more energy efficient one that mimics the warm light of the incandescent, but since we’re currently renting an apartment, it’s harder for me to want to spend the money for such a short amount of time. When we get a house though… :)

  7. Jenny J says

    I’m with Teri. I think the environmental hazard of the mercury in the cfl’s is an important factor. If you do get the flourescents, make sure you dispose of them properly! (A lot of stores, like Best Buy, have CFL recycling bins)
    In our house, we have incandescents in most of our living areas, but have switched all the closets to CFLs. We don’t like the shine of the CFLs for the living areas, but they’re great for closets, b’c it is such a pain to change closet lights! Our bathrooms are a mix; they have those fixtures with a row of 4 bulbs (not our choice; came with the house) so some of them are CFL and some incandescent. B’c of the new CFL shapes, we have been able to have the same decorative shape with a mixture of bulb types!

  8. says

    I have a lamp that is 100 W max bulb, and the compact fluorescent for on that is similar to a 100 W is 23 watt. So can I get one that is like 150 incandescent so it’s brighter since it will be technically less than 100W still? Or do I have to stick with the one that is the 100 W equivalent?

  9. says

    Thanks for the run down! This is one of those things that I really only think about when it’s time to get lights and then when that time comes, I can’t remember anything about lights! I recently got some new lights for the dining room (a chandelier with lights out during Thanksgiving would not have been very nice). I know for a fact that I got really cheap ones but now that I have this email maybe I will go back and look into more energy efficient bulbs. Our living room ceiling light gets used the most, so maybe I’ll look into that too. I will definitely be bookmarking this page! Thanks again!

  10. says

    I had no idea LEDs were so common for household use now. We’ve totally switched back to incandescent because of the mercury concern. I did have some under-cabinet LEDs years ago, but the light was so blue. I’m glad they have warm white LEDs now. I have some for the Christmas tree and I love that I can leave them on 24/7 without worrying about heat.