If you weren’t aware, incandescent lighting is gradually being phased out. As of 2012, the US government passed regulation ceasing the production of 100-watt incandescent bulbs. It was followed shortly by the 75-watt in 2013, the 40-watt in 2014. While you still may be able to find these bulbs in stores for the moment, the regulation means once they’re gone—they’re gone. This in turn leaves us with the question—which replacement bulb is best? Are LED lights worth the hype?

Energy savvy consumers were switching from incandescents long before these regulations went into effect. Originally, most people began switching to compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. This is because Light Emitting Diodes (LED) bulbs were much more expensive and harder to come by. However, LED’s have been gaining popularity with their energy savings, and versatility.

How Do LEDs Compare to CFLs?

One of the more interesting comparisons LEDs have to CFLs has to do with perception. Unlike CFLs, LED lighting doesn’t have the negative association with poor mood lighting and quality (think flickering and non-starting). Many interior designers and homeowners remember how poor the early fluorescent lighting was, and aren’t able to get over the stigma. LEDs put off wonderful light, can be dimmed, and even colored. Their light is strong and consistent.

Ever try to start up a CFL in high humidity or really cold weather? They don’t work well, right? Not so with LEDs. According to most manufacturers, LEDs do extremely well in cold weather (for sure down to 20 degrees). LED lights have already replaced incandescents in refrigerator and freezers all over the US.

Another thing to note: CFLs contains mercury (which is toxic), where LEDs don’t. Also, CFLs generate twice as much carbon dioxide emissions (via the coal utilities burn to create the electricity). So if helping the environment is a purpose for choosing between the two, LEDs have CFLs beat.

In order to accurately compare efficiency between LEDs and CFLs, we need to consider the new Federal Trade Commission light bulb packaging standards, which now stress lumens over wattage, and hours of lifespan.

Here’s an example comparing a generic LED to a generic CFL of similar lumens:

9 Watt LED – 470 Lumens – 25,000 hour lifespan ($7.50 – $9.99)

10 Watt CFL – 520 Lumens – 8,000 hour lifespan ($7.99 – $8.99)

As you can see, while the two are comparable in price, wattage (output), and lumens. However, their lifespan is vastly different. Not long ago, the overall savings between CFL and LED was pretty nominal. However, that gap is closing every year. You decide if the lifespan or the environment is worth a few extra dollars.

LEDs Light the Way

It’s no mystery why so many people view LEDs as the future of lighting. For starters, they’re highly efficient. One LED bulb can use the equivalent wattage of up to eight incandescents and last for an absurdly longer period of time—upward of 50,000 hours of use coming from each. They’re also considered far safer, as they burn much cooler than incandescent bulbs.

With the price coming down as the technology gets better and reaches market saturation, LEDs will beat CFLs, hands down. They’ll replace both indoor and outdoor lighting for homes and commercial properties. Have you made the switch yet?


We’re Here to Help

Baratto Brothers Construction knows lighting deeply impacts a home’s ambiance and energy output. We want our clients to make informed decisions when enhancing their home to fit their needs. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today by filling out our contact form, stopping in to say hello, or by giving us a call at (218) 692-1070. We’ll do all we can to become your Builder for Life.