(WZZM) - If you've tried to purchase 100 or 75 watt incandescent light bulbs lately, you might have noticed they're hard to find. That's because the government is getting rid of them.
According to Cindy Wells of Home Depot, the government isn't stopping there. "Probably in due time, they're going to keep phasing them out."
There are three main alternatives, and the first to come out was halogen.
"This one is used a lot for flood lights, your canned lights and any of your small spectrum lights," said Wells. You'll pay a little more, usually at-least $1.50 per bulb and the savings are decent - they use 28% less energy to run. They'll also last a little longer than traditional incandescent. However, if you're really looking to see a drop in your power bills, you'll want to switch to one of the other two options.
"I would point them to the CFLs. It doesn't hit so hard in your pocketbook right off the bat, yet you're going to start saving energy and saving on your electric bill. The payback time is about three to six months," said Wells.
CFLs or Compact Fluorescents are 75% more efficient than incandescent bulbs, last ten times longer and the price is close to the price of halogens. In fact, sometimes you can get them cheaper, even less than $1 per bulb. Wells says there used to be two main complaints with CFLs but not anymore.
"They started out looking like this and a lot of people were turned off by them and then they came out with some that look more like a regular lightbulb. And inside, it still has a curly-cue but it's encapsulated by a regular looking lightbulb so they did get nicer looking. They do have a very small amount of mercury in them. A lot of people were concerned about that, but you get more mercury in a can of tuna fish than you do in the lightbulbs," according to Wells. If you go with CFLs, you should dispose of them properly, at the store in which you purchased them.
Lastly, the one that hurts the most, will also help you the most. LEDs cost anywhere from $9 to $45 per bulb, but offer 85% energy savings over incandescent bulbs. That equates to nearly $150 savings per bulb, according to Wells. They can last more than twenty years. If you've tried LEDs in the past and didn't like the light they put off, Wells says those have improved drastically and there are many different options. Wells says they're also great for hard-to-reach spots, since you don't have to worry about changing them often.
"In essence, you could buy one right now for an infant's bedroom and by the time he goes to college, you will replace it then. By the time their kids go to college, they're going to save so much money, they're going to be able to afford college."