Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How much money can I save by switching to halogen light bulbs?

Halogen light bulbs save energy and dollars.
Halogen light bulbs save energy and dollars.

With all of the lighting choices available to us, it's easy to get confused over which option to choose. We all want a light bulb that illuminates our home, produces light that's a pleasing color and, hopefully, is affordable. Fortunately, with all of the buzz surrounding green building, lighting manufacturers are focused on creating products that are as efficient as possible. This efficiency translates into less energy being used, resulting in lower utility bills for homeowners.

One of the most popular choices for budget-conscious homeowner is the halogen bulb. While incandescent bulbs can be used on dimmer switches, an important feature for many homeowners, halogen bulbs are smaller and brighter. And fluorescent light bulbs don't synch up to dimmers at all. Halogen bulbs are also up to four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, meaning that you can enjoy the same amount of light at a fraction of the price.

To understand how this is possible, we must first look at how a light bulb works. A typical incandescent bulb contains a tungsten filament. Electricity passes through the filament, heating it to such high temperatures that it glows, providing the light we see when we flip our light switches. Because the filament gets so hot, however, bits of tungsten are constantly falling off as it works. Eventually, the filament is so thin that it breaks, leading to a burned out bulb.

With halogen bulbs, the filament is encased in halogen gases. When the tungsten bits fall off during operation, the halogen gases help return them to the filament. This keeps the filament strong, leading to fewer burnouts and longer-lasting bulbs.

Because of their compact size, bright light output and overall efficiency, halogen bulbs are popular in many applications where good lighting is vital. They're used widely by hospitals to provide powerful lights in operating rooms and inside equipment. They're being used increasingly in the auto industry as well because they allow drivers to see better while driving at night and they don't need to be replaced as often.

In the home, switching to halogen bulbs may not only produce better lighting results, but may help homeowners save money while doing their part to protect the environment. To learn more about why halogen bulbs are an earth-friendly choice, read on to the next section.