Light bulbs made simple

 While there are plenty of news stories and opinions about new light bulb standards and equivalencies, many people are still unsure about what to buy. Following Q&A will help you. 

Q: What it is the best replacement for incandescent light bulbs? 

A: The only bulb that no longer meets basic efficiency requirements is the 100-watt traditional incandescent. A 100-watt bulb is now required to use no more than 72 watts of electricity. Good replacement choices for your traditional incandescent bulbs are LEDs (light-emitting diodes), CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) and halogen incandescent bulbs. 

Q: Which light bulbs are most energy-efficient and cost-efficient? 

A: LEDs are most energy efficient. A single Energy Star-qualified LED light bulb can last up to 25,000 hours and use 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb.

Keep in mind that while a traditional incandescent costs only about 50 cents to buy, it costs more than $7 per year to operate. While an LED bulb might cost $20, it should last about 10 years.

Another good choice is Energy Star-qualified CFLs. These bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last eight to 10 times longer.