Switch to LED bulbs, selectively

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You’ve probably heard that you should switch to LED bulbs. “They’ll save you tons of electricity!” goes the conventional wisdom. But how do you know which bulbs to replace, and when? Read on to find out!

One easy, inexpensive way to start saving money on your electricity bill is to replace all of the incandescent light bulbs in your kitchen with LEDs. Yes, even if they’re not burned out.

According to Poplar Network, over its lifetime an LED bulb will save you an average of $239.86 on your energy bills over its incandescent counterpart. Assuming you pay full retail price and have it turned on for three hours a day, it will pay for itself in less than 1.5 years and last a whopping 45.6 years. Statistically speaking, the new bulbs we installed last summer will outlive me!

I’m sure you’re wondering: If LEDs are so great, then why do I suggest replacing only the bulbs in your kitchen? Why not go ahead and all the bulbs in your house? The answer: because we humans spend so much time in our kitchens – more than any other room in the house. In fact, on according to a recent residential study, kitchen lights stay on an average of 4 hours per day – more during winter, less in the summer. On top of that, most kitchen light fixtures require multiple bulbs.

Back when we had incandescents at our house, it seemed like a bulb would burn out in our 5-light fixture about once every 2 months. Sometimes I could swear those bulbs were conspiring against us! After replacing them with LEDs, we never had to change them again the rest of the time we owned that house. The savings in time and frustration alone made the switch worth it for us. On top of that, many LED bulbs come in super cute vintage designs that aren’t possible with incandescents. We have got tons of compliments after installing these bulbs in our kitchen:

Other Rooms

After the kitchen, the most popular room is the living room, clocking in at 3 hours per day. If your living room lights meet or exceed this average, it’s worth it for you to replace those too.

Another really interesting spot is the Great Outdoors. The study shows people leave their porch lights on an average of 4.7 hours a day; driveway lights, 3.4 hours a day. But there’s a huge variation for each – some people use those lights a lot and others, just a bit. At our house, the outside lights are on for perhaps five minutes per day on average – really just when someone has to venture out in the dark. But many people leave theirs on all night. If you’re an all-night-porch-light-leaver-onner, then for the love of God, replace those bulbs with LEDs ASAP!

But that basement closet light you turn on for a few minutes every couple weeks, at best? Let it be. That thing won’t pay for itself ’till our 186th President is sworn into office. 

Save Even More Money

For any light or appliance purchase, the ENERGY STAR rating means it uses less electricity and helps you save more money than a non-ENERGY STAR alternative.

Sales, coupons, and rebates from your utility can cut your upfront costs and decrease the time it takes to reach your break-even point. For example, when I plug our zip code into energystar.gov’s Rebate Finder, I see that two utilities offer discounts or rebates on LED light bulbs or light fixtures. How cool is that??

Renters: Are LED bulb upgrades worth it for you? It depends. If you plan to stay in your current place for 1.5 years or more, or the bulb is in a fixture you’ll take with you to your next abode, then it’s absolutely worth the investment.

Need help finding bulbs?

When in doubt, unscrew the incandescent you want to replace and bring it to your local home improvement or lighting store. They’ll be glad to help you find the right replacement. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Thanks for reading, and for taking the next step to becoming SuperGreener!
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