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More incandescents phased out in favor of energy efficient bulbs

Published On: Dec 28 2012 04:14:02 PM MST   Updated On: Dec 28 2012 06:44:22 PM MST

The days of buying incandescent light bulbs are nearly over.

And with all the different kinds of energy efficient replacements on the market, things can get pretty confusing.

We went to Owenhouse Ace Hardware on West Main in Bozeman, where one customer was looking at bulbs, not sure what to pick.

"So many choices, so many possible wrong decisions to make" he said.

This year the government phased out 100-watt bulbs. Starting January, it'll be 75- and the year after, 60. 

Ace Hardware owner Larry Bowman said it's been tough for people to make the switch, simply because they aren't sure which bulb to buy.

"We still have a mix of the old bulbs and the new bulbs, and people are not as familiar with the new bulbs" he said.

He went over different kinds with us. Compact fluorescents, or CFL's, emit different kinds of light- so consumers can keep the soft glow of incandescents, or shine a whiter light.

But the bulbs do take time to warm up, meaning they aren't as bright when you first turn them on.

However, Bowman said with the phase out of incandescents, halogens will be the new go-to light bulb.

They don't cost as much as CFL's, he said, but still have save energy. They also don't take time to warm up, so when the switch is flipped, they're on at full power.

Customer Dana Doney told us she's slowly making the switch.

"We've been gradually making the transition" Doney said. "It's been okay, except for the little increase in time getting the light up to full light. But it's a worthwhile thing."

The new lights measure in lumens, rather than wattages. But for anyone who doesn't know the conversions, Bowman said the product boxes show customers what's equivalent to 75-watt bulbs, so they know which one to buy.

"75 watt replacement, use only 53 watts" he said, pointing to a halogen light box.

Come January 1st, manufacturers aren't allowed to produce 75-watt bulbs. Bowman said those companies usually have enough inventory to last a year before the shelves go empty.