Bright Idea: Keep Incandescent Light Bulbs Turned Off

For years, we’ve been phasing out the incandescent light bulb. Legislation passed in 2007 with bipartisan support set us on a path to get many to ditch the incandescent and move on to more energy efficient options. Over the past decade, more restrictions have been placed on this inefficient lighting source to make supply scarce and set the price high. And for good reason: unlike LEDs or CFLs, incandescent light bulbs use 90% of its energy to generate heat and only 10% toward  actually lighting your home. But a new decision to reverse these restrictions will bring incandescent light bulbs back on the market at an attractive price for many. Don’t get fooled into making the wrong purchasing decision. 

Incandescent light bulbs are cheap for a reason. The upfront costs are low because the long-term hit on your wallet is much more severe. Because CFLs and LEDs last longer and use energy more efficiently, you save a great deal of money over the course of a single bulb’s lifespan. Incandescent bulbs are simply a worse product. “The typical incandescent bulb lasts about 1,000 hours, while a 15-watt CFL bulb lasts 10,000 hours and a 12-watt LED bulb lasts 25,000 hours. In other words, incandescents last about a year while CFLs can last 10 years and LEDs up to 25,” Jolie Lee writes in USA Today. By switching back to incandescents, you will accumulate more trash, need to replace your bulbs often, and rack up higher electricity bills. 

As Noah Horowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council told CNN, the change “could cost the average US household more than $100 per year, adding $14 billion to Americans’ annual energy bills as of 2025, and require at least 25 power plants’ worth of extra electricity annually.”

It’s true that not all energy efficient options are equally effective. Over time, we’ve seen more of our customers move to LEDs as their preferred lighting option. LED light bulbs are a no-brainer.  They are cheaper to operate and they last nearly two and a half times longer than CFLs.  As demand continues to rise and prices continue to fall, more and more homes will switch to LEDs.  With a mix of government regulations, market forces, and scientific innovations, we have yet again created a better, more energy efficient light that will power homes of billions for years to come. Still, both remain superior to incandescent bulbs. 

LEDs also offer a lighting advantage over CFLs and incandescents. The warm color of incandescents have often added to its appeal. But with a robust variety of color temperatures now available as LED options, you can purchase you preferred lighting choice without sacrificing cost or efficiency. 

That leaves no real argument left for keeping incandescent light bulbs in your home. When more energy is used, more energy needs to be generated. With so many consumers still dependent on fossil fuels to provide the most power to their homes, this is bad news for our health and our efforts to combat climate change. Keeping efficient light bulbs in your home helps you be part of the solution and not contributing to the problem.

About Brock Benefiel

Brock Benefiel is the director of marketing at Hero Power. You can follow him on Twitter @brockbenefiel.

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