MINNEAPOLIS - That $1.50 six pack of bulbs used to be a pretty simple purchase, but when the price of a six pack reaches nearly $50, you might start to wonder, what's the bright idea?
Simply put, light bulbs have gone green. Typically, the more energy efficient the bulb, the more you pay and with so many different bulbs now available, there's a lot to sort through before you choose the right one.
First off, that $1.50 six pack is the one we all use. It's called an incandescent bulb and it's being phased out.
"They phased out the 100 watts last year, currently they're phasing out the 75 watts and in 2014 their phasing out the 60 and 40," explained Home Depot's Cody Wilkens.
While you can still find incandescent bulbs on store shelves, they're just not energy efficient enough and are no longer being made.
The incandescent replacement is the halogen bulb, which is about 30 percent more efficient. A four pack of halogens usually runs about $4. A buck a bulb and they might last a year or two and compared to the incandescent there's just a nominal amount of savings on that electrical bill.
For savings on that electrical bill, you'll find CFL's or compact fluorescent bulbs use about 75 percent less energy. The cost for a four pack can run anywhere from $3 to $7 and a CFL can save you $60-$100 dollars on your electrical costs over the lifetime of the bulb.
That's because the bulbs last about 5-10 times longer than an incandescent. Despite their energy efficiency, CFL's do contain a small amount of mercury and should be recycled.
The most energy efficient bulb on the market right now is an LED.
"It is a big upfront cost," explained Southern Lights' Ryan Zurn. "But when you take into account the energy savings, it adds up and becomes a huge deal."
While prices run the gamut, anywhere from $15 per bulb to triple that, there are several things to consider. The upfront cost may be a lot for a bulb, but you can save hundreds on that electrical bill.
"LED's will typically run you about 150 dollars in savings per bulb," said Wilkens.
Other LED bulbs can save you even more, $200 or even up to $400 per bulb. In part, because the bulbs last up to 10 times longer than an incandescent and they use 90 percent less energy.
"Pretty much once you change you shouldn't have to do it in a long, long time," explained Zurn.
"It's 10 to 15 years and it will be good."
LEDs can especially come in handy in tall foyers or lights hung from tall ceilings. A replacement every decade or two some might say is well alone worth the price.
"If you really take a look at the facts and put them on paper, it's definitely a savings in the long run," said Zurn.
Whether it's LED, CFL or halogen, the choices are many, the prices follow and more than ever a little research beforehand can prevent a headache in the aisle.
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