– Ben Martens

Cost of a Light Bulb

Back in 2007 I wrote about the cost of running various things from a Christmas tree to an Xbox360. Maybe I’m a cheap skate, but I’m always amazed at the cost of the simple light bulb. Now that we have a bigger house, I’ve been looking for bulbs to replace to save money. It can make a big difference!

Take for example, your basic 60W old-school incandescent light bulb. If you left that on 24 hours a day, every day for a year, that would cost $52! That’s just ONE bulb. I had 100W equivalent exterior CFL bulbs that go on with my fancy timer every night, and I figured out that if I replaced them with 60W equivalent bulbs, I’d save about $20/year and it was plenty bright enough.

Or let’s say you have a living room with 3 100W incandescent bulbs that you use an average of 3 hours per day. If you replace them with 3 100W equivalent CFL bulbs, you’ll save $25/year.

I know it’s not really that much money, but you do that here and there a couple times and you’ve just paid for a Netflix subscription.

Generally you can run about 4 CFL bulbs for the cost of one incandescent bulbs. In a few years, the cost of LED bulbs will come down enough that we’ll all be buying those instead of CFL. You can run about 10 LED bulbs for the coast of one incandescent bulb, and LED bulbs don’t have the warm up time that CFL bulbs do. They’re still pricey but they last longer. You’ll want to do your math before you switch to LED.

By the way, if you’re at all interested in this stuff, you should pick up a Kill-a-Watt. I still find myself plugging various things into it and seeing how much power they use.