Making the switch to energy-efficient light bulbs

Incandescents are slowing being phased out

ORLANDO, Fla. - As we settle into 2013, it's out with the old, and in with the new-- light bulbs, that is.

Stores are slowly fading out incandescent bulbs, in favor of more energy-efficient ones, like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or LEDs.

Over time, they could save you money, but not without some headaches.

For this story, Local 6 met Bill Potter, a Winter Springs father who upgraded every incandescent bulb in his home to either CFLs or LEDs.

"Our electric bill was ridiculous," says Potter. "It was over $900 a month. So we had to look at a number of things to reduce the electric bill."

Potter says that switching has paid off.

"We definitely have seen an energy savings, between $100 and $150 a month," he said.

And you can save, too, according to the people at Light Bulbs Unlimited in Winter Park. In fact, eventually, you may not have a choice but to switch.

Under new rules from the government -- 100-watt incandescent bulbs can no longer be made in the U.S. This year, 75-watt bulbs will get cut and next year, it'll be 40 and 60-watts.

So, does that mean you have to rush to your local hardware store to stock up?

No so fast, says Avron Satill, the owner of Light Bulbs Unlimited.

"Certainly for the next decade we will have incandescent bulbs," says Satill. "You can still use it, you can still buy it, you can still sell it, but you're just not allowed to manufacture or import it into the United States."

Still, he suggests you switch to more energy-efficient bulbs.

"The average CFL would typically save you about $30 to $40 in power costs over the life of the bulb," says Satill.

The savings for an LED can be double that. But making the change comes with sacrifices. First, is the cost to switch.

Right now, the average price for an incandescent is just 55-cents. A CFL is $3, while an LED is $25.

"It's just a tough one to cost justify," says Satill. "I personally believe that the price will remain very high for at least the next two or three years."

Clean-up can also be an issue when CFLs break because of the mercury inside. In fact, it's so dangerous that there are how-to videos online, showing you the best way to stay safe.

Despite the risk, Satill feels that the reward is worth it -- especially with LEDS, which can last 10 to 15 years.

"If they can afford it, I would always suggest LEDs," says Satill. "Because that's going to give you the most energy efficiency."

He also admits that you don't have to switch your bulbs in every room. If nothing else, he recommends the kitchen -- because that's where you typically have your lights on the most.

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