What you need to know about the new lightbulb law

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by Meredith Yeomans, @Meredith3TV

azfamily.com

Posted on January 17, 2012 at 9:50 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 19 at 4:52 PM

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Beginning this year, the government flipped the switch with new standards, leaving the decades-old incandescent bulbs in the dark.

One hundred-watt bulbs are being phased out first, followed by the 60 and 40.

Debbie Hernandez is with Home Depot in Glendale, and says all the new energy-efficient options have customers confused.

“Everybody's really in a fog as to what lightbulb is best for what situation,” she said.

The new law gives consumers three main choices for lightbulbs.

The closest to everyday bulb that you're probably used to is a halogen incandescent. They're a little more expensive at $1 each for the basic brand.

“They do last about two-and-a-half times longer than the standard incandescent,” she explained.

Debbie says the next bulb up -- a C.F.L. -- is your best value. At around a $1.50 each, they last 10 times longer and can save you $50 in energy costs over the life of the bulb.

But, here's an idea? Never change a lightbulb again.

Well, at least for the next 25 years by upgrading to light-emitting diode -- or L.E.D. -- bulbs. They can save you up to $150 in energy costs over their lifetime. But be warned, it might burn a hole in your wallet at a cost upwards of $25 a bulb.

The new law isn't bringing changes to just bulbs, there's new lingo to learn too.

Forget watts, lumens are what to look for now.

“The wattage measures the heat that is emitted from the light bulb where lumens measures brightness,” Hernandez said.

1,600 lumens equal 100 watts, plus they don't burn as hot as the old bulbs.

Conversion charts -- and everything else you need to know -- will be listed on new lighting labels, which resemble nutrition facts on food.

It’s a step forward for the energy-conscious, with a bright idea that'll hopefully help save you money in the long run.

All Home Depot stores are holding educational clinics every Saturday in January to try to help consumers decipher everything that's new about lightbulbs. The clinics begin at 10am.

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