CFL vs. LED: Understanding You Home Lighting Options

CFL vs. LED vs. Incandescent Light Bulbs on White BackgroundIf you have been alive the last several years (and we are assuming you have been, since you are reading this), you have probably heard about the push to more energy efficient light bulbs, primarily CFLs. 
But there is also a newer kid on the lighting block: LED bulbs. So what are the differences and why should you care? Read on for answers to these questions and more.

LEDs Are The Most Efficient Home Lighting Option

Ever since Thomas Edison eradicated candles and popularized electric home lighting, the light bulb has remained mostly unchanged. That is, until somewhat recently.
The old incandescent bulbs were very inefficient, converting only 10% of the energy consumed into light (with the remaining 90% turned into heat). Enter the CFL and the LED.
  • CFLs use 3-4 times less energy than incandescent bulbs of the same brightness. 
  • LEDs can be 2-3 times more efficient than CFLs (up to 10 more efficient than incandescent bulbs).

But LEDs Are Also The Most Expensive Option

As a relatively new technology LED bulbs can be substantially more expensive than CFLs to purchase. In our recent searches, 60-watt equivalent (about 800 Lumens) CFLs were retailing for $4-7 per bulb (with discounts when purchased in multi-packs).
For comparison, an LED bulb with the same brightness is currently about $15-30, depending on the type. But before you make your final decision, keep reading.

So Which Is The Real Winner?

Well, it depends. There are pros and cons to both CFLs and LEDs and the right bulb may depend on the situation. Here is a list of considerations to make when purchasing efficient lighting for your Minnesota home.
  • LEDs are the most energy efficient.
  • CFLs cost less than LED’s.
  • LEDs can last much longer than CFLs (50,000 hour average vs. 8,000).
  • LEDs are dimmable, unlike most CFLs.
  • LEDs turn on immediately while CFLs can take some time to “warm up”.
  • CFLs are more susceptible to breaking from being turned on and off rapidly.
  • LEDs emit no heat and are cool to the touch (CFLs are warm).
  • CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, so broken bulbs must be handled with care.
  • LEDs are typically more durable than CFLs.
According to ENERGY STAR, if every home in America replaced just one incandescent bulb with an efficient CFL or LED, we could save $600 million dollars annually and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year (equivalent to removing 800,000 cars).
So do your part. Upgrade the most used lights in your Minnesota home to energy efficient CFL and LED bulbs. Have a lighting or electrical question? Ask our expert.
O’Connor’s Mister Sparky provides electrical services to Hastings, Minnesota and the surrounding areas. The purpose of this blog is to inform and educate. Browse our other articles for more helpful information.

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