Mike's Blog


Still haven't switched from incandescent light bulbs yet????

Ok apparently there are a few of you still dragging your feet about changing to compact florescent light bulbs or LED bulbs from the dinosaur-like incandescent light bulbs. So I wanted to...ahem...shed some light on the issue to help you make the decision to switch.  

There are several variables to consider when buying light bulbs: price, lumens(brightness), watts used(how much energy each bulb consumes), lifespan, etc.

But before you go out looking for bulbs- consider what you want to achieve... Do you want to have the longest lasting bulb? Do you want the cheapest bulb? Do you want the most efficient bulb? Check out the chart below to help with your decision...  

  Incandescent CFL LES
Life Span(hours) 1,500 15,000 50,000
Avg Watts Used 60 13 3.5
Average Price/Bulb $1.35 $7.00 $25.00
50,000 hour expense $45.00 $23.33 $25.00


The incandescent light bulb will soon be a relic of the past. Short term- they are cheap- but as you can see from the above...over time CFLs are much lower in cost. This isn't even taking into consideration the energy savings of CFLs.

LED's absolutely use the lowest amount of electricity of the three types of bulbs. But the light emitted from the bulb is low when compared to the CFL. Another disadvantage of the LED is the light pattern. LED's tend to have a spotlight type of pattern. Lamps fitted with LED's will have a beam of light focused toward the ceiling as opposed to a more spread pattern like incandescents and CFLs.   While CFLs and LEDs obviously offer varying levels of benefits, I still believe CFLs offer the best bang for the buck.

CFLs offer the most light per watt of energy used. They are less expensive both on a per bulb basis and on an extended usage basis. Again this does not take into consideration the energy savings of the LED. When that variable is factored in the LED is likely a more cost effective option. But from the standpoint of the type of light emitted, overall cost and price, I still think CFL's are the way to go. But it depends on what you want.

Mike Hogan

Associate Broker

RE/MAX Commonwealth





Comment balloon 17 commentsMike Hogan • December 30 2009 10:00PM


Thanks for taking the time to post this. I just purchased 12 cfl bulbs today. I believe that in the future (rental listings) will have to be energy efficient to move to to move to the head of the line.



Posted by Steven Schafer, CDPE, SFR, ABR, SRES (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services) about 10 years ago

Yep I agree- all of my rentals come with CFLs. If nothing else- its a great selling point.

Posted by Mike Hogan, MBA (The Hogan Group at Keller Williams Realty) about 10 years ago

CFLs don't give the same quality of light as LED or incandescant... and there are questions beginnging to surface about disposal (they contain mercury). 

I use all three for different purposes.

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) about 10 years ago

Great point about the disposal- in fact I just did a post about the Mercury hazard. Check it out here.

Posted by Mike Hogan, MBA (The Hogan Group at Keller Williams Realty) about 10 years ago

Mike, I use CFL's and once they get to full power they are great. I agree, they are the best way to go. Thanks.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 10 years ago

I just did a follow-up post on recycling your CFLs...check it out here.

Posted by Mike Hogan, MBA (The Hogan Group at Keller Williams Realty) about 10 years ago

Mike, I switched to CFL's 2 years ago.  They now come in a variety of sizes and shapes, not just the curly-cue shown above.  It cost me about $200 to change all the bulbs in my house but they are supposed to be good for 6-7 years.  That's a long time between light bulb changings.  It's a small way to save on energy costs and keeps lots of light bulbs out of land fills.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) about 9 years ago

Are some better than others.  The ones I have used have not lasted long at all. Plus, the color of the light is still not what I would like it to be.  Any suggestions?



Posted by Wendy Fincher-Hughes (Intracoastal Realty Corporation) about 9 years ago

Tammie- Youre- exactly right...CFLs do come in all shapes and sizes. Its easy to now replace your recessed lights, flood lights, candle lights, etc.

Posted by Mike Hogan, MBA (The Hogan Group at Keller Williams Realty) about 9 years ago

Wendy- if they arent lasting long..I would suggest calling the manufacturer. Like any manufacturing process(especially those outsourced to China), there are defects. I've had a few that blinked constantly, didnt last long etc. I just called the manufacturer(the number is on the bulb) and they sent me an entirely new pack.

As for the color- just like incandescents- they are available in daylight, soft white, etc. Try switching the color and see its what you want.

Posted by Mike Hogan, MBA (The Hogan Group at Keller Williams Realty) about 9 years ago

Hi Mike ~ Not to be a naysayer but.... I'm stocking up on the regular light bulbs. Sorry but I can't stand the new ones. Hate the light - what little there is of it. Hate that they take so long to brighten. Hate the noise they make. Hate the moronic shape.  And I have no desire to spend ages trying to find a good bulb with a decent light - it's ridiculous. When I buy a regular bulb I know what I'm getting.  I make sellers take them out - light is so important in selling a place and the new bulbs just don't cut it.  I'll save money - and energy - elsewhere.   



Posted by Elizabeth Bolton, Cambridge MA Realtor (RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA) about 9 years ago

To each is own for sure... Ive never really had a problem with the light or taking time to warm up...though Ive heard plenty of complaints from others.

Posted by Mike Hogan, MBA (The Hogan Group at Keller Williams Realty) about 9 years ago

How many ecobrokers does it take to screw in a CFL lightbulb?  Don't answer that.  I've been seeing a lot of eco-everything lately.  How much is there to learn about saving energy?  With the exception of solar power, isn't saving energy pretty straight forward?

Posted by Alix Pinzon, Lic# 1167761 (Southern California Mortgage Lending) about 9 years ago

Mike Hogan for the FULL disclosure about your light bulb choices. Thanks Mike, thorough and informative.

Posted by Terrylynn Fisher, HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc. (Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com) about 9 years ago

@Aliz- LOl- great question. I know it seems everyone is loaded down with eco stuff. And everyone has a different interpretation of what "eco" means to them. Im not a tree-hugger eco-freak by any means. But there are things we can do to save money and resources...and make our families healthier at the same time. Those are my hot buttons.

It certainly goes further than just changing a few lightbulbs...although it doesnt take a genuis to figure out that using 14 watts to light a room instead of 60 watts can save some serious cash over time.

You would think it's all pretty straight forward...and it is for the most part. It's all common sense stuff that we sometimes need reminders on. Except for a few emerging technologies... all of this "eco" stuff is just things that our grandparents used to do but they didnt call it green.

Check out the EcoBroker Website when you get a chance...read up on sustainable building practices, energy conservation, water conservation, indoor air quality improvement....etc etc etc. You dont have to be "green" to want to save money.

Posted by Mike Hogan, MBA (The Hogan Group at Keller Williams Realty) about 9 years ago

One more point...as a Realtor...Im finding more and more clients asking for green features whether they realize it or not. They're asking about insulation, what low-e windows are, types of heating systems, etc etc etc....they are concerned about conserving energy and money.

As Realtors- it's our job to be educated on these issues so we can be better prepared to answer questions. Thats what being an EcoBroker is all about...its about educating yourself so you can better serve your clients.

Posted by Mike Hogan, MBA (The Hogan Group at Keller Williams Realty) about 9 years ago

Hi Mike,

Thank you for your informative post.  We have been using CFL's for a good while, although we do use both types.  The CFL's do last for a much longer time & they have saved us money.  It took us a while to get use them warming up. 



Posted by Rita Minion (O'Brien Realty) almost 9 years ago