MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Getting the right CFL light "color"

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - 75-watt light bulbs will be phased out in 2013, forcing consumers to invest in more environment-friendly light bulbs.

When I bought a bulb on clearance, I didn't pay much attention to the packaging - 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 - but make sure you pay attention to color temperature.

"You got the 'cool white,' you got your 'bright white' and you've got your 'daylight' and also 'soft white,' which is similar to your old bulbs.

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

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

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 CFLs are a bad idea, turn to LEDs. LEDs last longer than CFLs, but they are more expensive.

LEDs also contain no mercury, warm up instantly and are unaffected by being switched on and off frequently. They're also less likely to break.

Congress enacted new rules in 2007. All light bulbs must be at least 25 percent more efficient. 40 and 60 watt bulbs will be phased out in 2014.

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