Now that you’ve replaced every bulb in your home with those twisty compact fluorescents, you can relax for a while, right? They last 10 years, so by the time you have to change another bulb, you’ll be ready to replace them with LEDs. Not so fast, says California utility PG&E, which insists that CFLs don’t last nearly as long as claimed. But our brighter brethren at Consumer Reports state that some of them really do, and they’ve got test results to prove it.
If all of the new lightbulbs — CFLs, LEDs and more — have left you wondering whether switching technologies is a bright idea, the government is here to help. Sort of. Starting next year, the Federal Trade Commission plans to mandate new labels for all lightbulbs, modeled after the nutrition labels on most packaged foods. There’s just one problem: If you don’t know what a lumen is, or how it relates to a watt, the labels may not shed much light on the subject.