Buying the correct lightbulbs - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Buying the correct lightbulbs

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – When I bought this bulb on clearance, I didn't pay much attention to the packaging, and even though I got a good deal on the price, it was a total waste of money. The color is completely wrong and makes my house look like a UFO. 

Compact fluorescent lights use about one fourth the wattage of an incandescent. So if you're used to a 40-watt bulb, you'll now look for 10 watt CFL. You have to pay attention to color temperature.  

"You got the cool white, you got your bright white and you've got your daylight," said Steve Turner with Home Depot Lighting Specialist. 

And also soft white, which is similar to your old bulbs. 

"They come in green packages," he said. 

The color temperature is rated using the Kelvin scale. 2700 is the number to look for when trying to replace incandescent.  

For rooms that need more light -- like kitchens or bathrooms -- look for a temperature near 4000 Kelvins. 

Certain fixtures shorten the lifespan. Lights with a dimmer switch can kill a CFL. Look for the word "dimmable" on the packaging. CFLs are not recommended in lights you turn on and off a lot...or anything that vibrates, like ceiling fans. The rattling can cause electronics in the bulb to fail.    

CFL's can be used outdoors, but they should only go in enclosed fixtures because the mercury needs to heat up. When CFL's are a bad idea...turn to LED's.  

"The LEDs last longer than the CFLs, they're good for like 20 or 30 years," Turner said. 

But they are more expensive. LED's contain no mercury, they warm up instantly and are unaffected by being switched on and off frequently. They're also less likely to break.  

The Home Depot is offering free lighting workshops every Saturday at 10 am throughout the month of January. They'll explain the phase out and what you need to look for when purchasing new lights. 

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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