So I just bought my first home and it was about time. I purchased a home that was built in the early 60’s and it shows. The structure of the home is fantastic. However, the efficiency of the home has room for improvement. The first thing I noticed is the amount of lights around the house. There were so many bulbs and they were all incandescent. This is the classic style of bulb we all grew up with (unless you were born after 2000). The actual definition of incandescent is: emitting light as a result of being heated. That right there is a loss of energy in the form of heat. In the winter you might not be complaining as much, but in the summer you are only hurting your bills more.
So what do you do? Well, there are two options: Compact Florescent Lights (CFL) or Light Emitting Diode (LED). I am sure you have heard of both by now. They are certainly not new technologies, but LED is just now becoming affordable and practical to use in the home.
I am going to briefly compare the two options. I am not going to talk about incandescent any longer. It’s only purpose is wasting your money via electric bill.
CFL is a great option at this point in time. These bulbs have become extremely affordable, with no real drawbacks. They are not as efficient as LED, but they are obviously better than that bulb we no longer speak of. CFL bulbs also last a really long time. The only real drawback I have read about is that they may have issues with flickering or fluctuating power sources.
LED’s are the choice for me. Their only real drawback is the initial cost. They are dramatically going down in price, but still more expensive than the alternative. Something else I have noticed is that they can flicker with AC interference. The only time I have noticed this is when I have a space heater and lamp connected to the same breaker. I am guessing any power hungry alternating current device will cause this effect. This also could be a result of my home not having adequate wiring to the standards of today. 80% of my outlets do not have a ground plug.
So really you have the option of spending more upfront and slowing saving over time or spending less and paying more in the end. The LED’s are supposed to outlast the CFL’s by several years. Some LED’s are rated to last over a decade (maybe more). I didn’t bother buying anything at that quality because they are more expensive and by the time they burn out, I imagine the technology will be even further advanced. We may have a whole new type of bulb in 2030.
I spend just over 300 dollars on LED bulbs. The research I did said that I should be saving roughly 30 dollars a month with LED bulbs (there are calculators online to estimate these savings). So in a matter of ten months they will have paid for themselves and the 5 or so years after will all be savings.
When I first bought them all at once, the clerk commented “this is the price of a round trip to Florida!” While that is true during some parts of the year, I will be saving as much as 360 dollars a year by making this switch. After 5 years (minimum guaranteed lifespan of LED bulbs) I will have saved $1800 dollars.
So you decide, whats the best option for your home?
Keep in mind, there are bulbs that are not worth replacing. If you have a bulb in your fridge that is only one for 2 minutes a day, you will not see the savings. If you want to make the switch to LED, replace the bulbs that are on the most.