CFL and LED light bulbs

Home lighting technology has come a long way from Thomas Edison’s heated filament incandescent bulbs. Today, people like you are replacing their inefficient incandescent bulbs with CFL (compact fluorescent light) and LED (light emitting diode) bulbs, and saving hundreds of dollars at the same time.

The incandescent light bulb loses as much as 90% of its energy as waste heat. New technologies have made efficient CFL and LED light bulbs competitive choices for most home lighting needs.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs use an integrated ballast to energize chemical vapors. These vapors then produce ultraviolet light. That ultraviolet light strikes the fluorescent coating inside the bulb’s glass housing, which produces visible light. CFLs have been around for decades, and can now create everything from the warm glow of your favorite reading lamp to clear, bright light perfect for your kitchen or home workshop. CFLs cost as little as $2.00, and can last for 5-8 years.

Light emitting diode bulbs are newer than CFLs, and they promise to last an extremely long time in normal usage. These bulbs create light when energized electrons pass from the negative to the positive charged layer in a semiconductor. Because they draw very little electrical current a 60 watt equivalent bulb may only use 7 watts of electricity! This makes them very inexpensive, and it also makes them suitable for use in antique lamps with ow power draws. LED bulbs can cost as much as $60 for a 60 watt equivalent, but they will last for decades – and the price is dropping every year.

Are CFL and LED light bulbs the right choice for you?

3 tips for home HVAC efficiency

Heating season is projected to be longer for many regions of the United States. A longer heating season means higher heating costs, so it’s important to make sure that your HVAC system is cleaned, fine tuned, and ready to deliver the highest level of comfort as affordably as possible.

If you read our “3 tips for a more comfortable, less expensive home heating season” you’re all ready to go with this latest article in our “3 Tips” series:

Here are 3 quick and easy tips to help make your home more comfortable and less expensive this heating season. We’ve also included 3 Next Steps for when you’re ready for a Do It Yourself project:

  • Check your filters. Your air filters on your heating system or furnace work hard to keep the air your family breathes healthy. Check your furnace and air filters now, and check them again each month. Are they dirty or clogged? Time to replace them!
  • Next step: Are HVAC filters new to you? Check out this great article from our fried Bob Vila on How To Choose the Right Furnace Filter.
  • Open the shades on your southern facing windows and close your second floor air vents to 50% of the first floor. Take advantage of the sun to keep your southern facing rooms warm, and use heat from your first floor to help control second floor temperatures.
  • Next step: Reverse your ceiling fans. Many people forget that their ceiling fans have a switch that controls the direction of the blades. In the winter you can use your ceiling fans to keep your rooms warm: spin the blades clockwise and your fan will force warm air down and throughout the room.
  • Get money for a new, Energy Star rated furnace. If you haven’t already taken advantage of your Federal Tax Credit for Consumer Energy Efficiency you may be eligible for tax credits on everything from heat pumps to water boilers to furnaces.
  • Next step: Check out the Energy Star website [Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency] to find eligible HVAC system components. Then find your local HVAC contractor at the Air Conditioning Contractors of America to help you with the installation and tax credit process.
  • Getting your HVAC system ready for heating season doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. A few simple changes in your daily routine, or an afternoon of do it yourself projects is all you need to make your system ready to go this winter.