Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use only 1/4 of the energy of traditional incandescent bulbs. They will rapidly work to reduce your energy costs, plus they last much, much longer (8,000 hours as opposed to a meager 750-1000 hours). That means you would have to replace a regular bulb 8-10 times before you’ll have to change your CFL! In addition, unlike incandescent bulbs, they don’t throw off heat, which means fans and air conditioners don’t have to work as hard in summer when the lights are on. Their initial cost is slightly higher than incandescent bulbs, but when taking in to consideration how much more often incandescent bulbs need to be replaced, CFLs are actually cheaper.
Overall you can cut your lighting costs by 75% with CFLs! According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting costs represent about 12% of total electricity used in a home. So if you could save 75% off your lighting costs, that’s a 9% savings on your electric bill (75% * 12% = 9%)!
Each CFL will save you around $40 over the life of the bulb, and around $6 in energy costs and another $4 in maintenance annually, according to this calculator. That’s as much as $10/year savings per bulb! If you changed 1/3 of the 30 bulbs in your home (the average according to the DOE), that’s $100 per year savings!
The story gets better with the various environmental subsidies being offered by local governments. Oftentimes you’ll see the bulbs offered with “instant rebates” (another way of saying “SALE!”) which bring the out-of-pocket costs down for you right from the start.
With CFLs coming out in more and more shapes, there’s hardly any excuse left for not replacing all of the bulbs in your house.