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Comparing Home Lighting Options: Incandescent vs. CFL vs. LED

Traditional incandescent light bulbs are being gradually phased out and replaced by more energy efficient alternatives, namely CFLs and LEDs. 

Traditional incandescent light bulbs are being gradually phased out and replaced by more energy efficient alternatives, namely CFLs and LEDs. 

By upgrading your home’s lighting, you can save money and help the environment. 
 
Here, we break down the biggest differences between CFL’s, LEDs and incandescent lights and their applications for your Sarasota area home.

Incandescent

Since Thomas Edison made electrical lighting popular and viable in 1880 with his longer lasting filament, most homes have been lit using incandescent light bulbs. Incandescent bulbs work by heating a filament surrounded by inert gasses. However, these bulbs are highly inefficient, only converting 10% of the energy consumed into light and releasing the other 90% as heat.

  • Cost: Very low initial cost
  • Lifespan: shortest lifespan - 1,200 hours, average
  • Efficiency: Very inefficient. Release 90% of energy consumed as heat.

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)

CFLs were introduced to the home lighting market as a more energy efficient alternative to traditional incandescent lights. Compact fluorescent light bulbs can be identified by their spiral construction. In a CFL, an electric current is passed through a tube filled with argon gas and a small amount of mercury vapor, causing a phosphor coating to react by emitting visible light.

  • Cost: Slightly more expensive than incandescent
  • Lifespan: much longer lifespan - 8,000 hours, average
  • Efficiency: Uses 3-4 times less energy than incandescent lights
  • Other notes: Care must be taken when a bulb breaks, as CFL’s contain a small amount of mercury

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

The newest home lighting solution on the market is Light Emitting Diodes. LEDs have been around for a while but until recently had not made a successful transition to more powerful applications, such as home lighting. LED lamps, or bulbs, used as replacements for incandescent lights are made up of many smaller LEDs. 

  • Cost: Much more expensive, a single bulb can cost $30+
  • Lifespan: Longest lifespan - 50,000 hours, average
  • Efficiency: 2-3 times more efficient than CFLs and up to 10 times more efficient than incandescent lights
  • Other notes: Unlike CFLs and incandescent lights, LEDS do not emit a large amount of heat. They are also much more durable than their counterparts but may not be right for all applications

Energy Today is a division of Cool Today and Plumbing Today. We have been providing trusted, professional heating, cooling,plumbing and electrical services to the Sarasota area since 1963. 
 
For more information on home lighting, or any other electrical services, contact Energy Today online or call 800-226-2636.