Want to know how to save money on lights in your home? Wondering what the difference is between incandescent light bulbs and florescent bulbs?

We asked the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for the facts on light bulbs.


We know: All About Light Bulbs

What’s the difference between regular incandescent lights and fluorescent lights?

Regular or incandescent light bulbs produce light by passing electricity through a thing filament which becomes hot and glows. They are less energy efficient than fluorescent bulbs because much of the electrical energy is converted to heat instead of light.


Fluorescent bulbs, or lamps, produce light by passing electricity through a gas, causing it to glow. They are more energy efficient than regular light bulbs.

What’s the cost difference?

Regular incandescent lights cost less than fluorescent lights to buy. However, fluorescent lights use less energy and last from 6 to 10 times longer.


IF YOU REPLACE 1/4 OF YOUR LIGHTS IN HIGH-USE AREAS WITH FLUORESCENT LIGHT, YOU CAN SAVE ABOUT 50% ON YOUR LIGHTING ENERGY BILL.

Which fixtures should I buy?

If you look for fixtures with an ENERGY STAR label from the Department of Energy (DOE) you can save both energy and money.


According to the DOE, by using just two ceiling-mounted fixtures and one ENERGY STAR torchiere in high-use areas can save you about $50 per year on your electric bill.


ENERGY STAR fixtures must last 10,000 - 20,000 hours. This means, with regular use (i.e., 3.5 hours per day), you won't need to change the bulb for at least seven years.

How can I save money by changing light bulbs and fixtures?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Use 4-ft fluorescent fixtures with reflective backing for you workroom, garage and laundry areas.
  • Use 4-watt mini-fluorescent or electro-luminescent night lights.
  • Use compact fluorescent bulbs in table and floor lamps, when they will fit.
  • When shopping for new light fixtures, consider buying dedicated compact fluorescent fixtures with built-in ballasts that use pin-based replacement bulbs.
  • If you have torchiere fixtures with halogen lamps, try replacing them with compact fluorescent torchieres. Compact fluorescent torchieres use 60% to 80% less energy and can produce more light (lumens) than the halogen torchieres.


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