178 Light Bulbs | Old vs CFL vs LED

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams

178 light bulbs can create a large electric bill depending on the kind of bulbs you use. I recently sold the home pictured below that has 178 light bulbs.  It was vacant, I was doing a photo shoot and I kept flipping on light switches.  I wondered how many light bulbs are in this place? 1, 2, 3... 178 bulbs and only 6 are energy saving CFL compact florescent lights (or as my 5 yr old says: ice cream cone bulbs).  I didn't count low voltage yard lights, oven lights, under counter lights, pool lights or bulbs in the attic.

I went outside and looked at the meter.  It was spinning fast enough to make me cringe.

Mark Hitz 178 light bulbs

If I was buying this home what would I do?  What makes sense?  Time to blog.

I don't want to spend my life on a ladder changing light bulbs.  I don't like looking up and seeing a bulb burn out either. 178 light bulbs means there is always 1 burn out if they are the old kind.

Time to go to Lowes and use that 10% Realtor Benefits client coupon.

How long do bulbs last and how much do they cost:

Old incandescent bulbs costs $1 and last 700 to 1,500 hours.

CFL Compact Florescent Light bulbs are getting cheaper - multipacks - $3 each. 8,000 to 10,000 hours (6 to 7 years of average use).  However some CFL bulbs fail within a year.

LED Light Emitting Diode bulbs are still expensive. $20 - $40 each, depending on how many LED's are in the bulb.   LED bulbs last 50,000+ hours which is longer than you will own the home.

First pick the low hanging fruit.   Easiest to reach and most used bulbs in the house.

Install CFL bulbs in all the Bathroom Light Bars starting with the Master...

178 light bulb house master bath

 Now the kitchen ...

178 light bulb house kitchen fixture

 Next are the 9 ceiling fans.  In Texas we use ceiling fans year round. 

178 light bulb house cfl ceiling fan bulbsThe major manufacturers are now making reliable CFL ceiling fan light bulbs. They handle the vibration well and are rated for 6 years.  11 watt bulbs give off the same amount of light as the old 40 watt incandescent.

Since ceiling fans require a step ladder, I want to change all of them at the same time. 

Perhaps I will never have to change a ceiling fan bulb again.   


178 light bulbs florida room fans

178-light-bulbs-cfl-flood-lightNow for the can lights and spot lights

Replace the old 65 watt bulbs with 15 watt CFL bulbs.  Same amount of light but last 6 years and at a fraction of the electricity.



178 light bulbs can lights

Done with the "No Brainer" upgrades. Now it's time to make some  decisions. 

178 light bulbs dining room

I don't use the dining room light often and frankly I like the look of the current chandelier bulbs.  Leave them "as-is".

I am also leaving the garage bulbs unchanged.  In the winter the CFL bulbs need time to warm up and when I'm in the garage I need light.

10 Outside floodlights.  Change to CFL Floods.  I considered LED Floodlights but at $30 each that is $300. 

178 light bulbs outdoor flood lights  

178 light bulbs entry

The entry is the biggest challenge.  The ceiling is vaulted to at least 25 feet. There are 7 can lights that are not accessible by ladder.  When one of those burns out, I will have to hire a handyman with a scaffold and a telescopic pole to change out all the can lights. 

CFL or go with the more expensive LED lights?

CFL bulbs do fail sometimes in a under a year.  Due to the labor cost of the handyman I only want to do this once. 

So I choose 7 LED floodlight bulbs x $30 = $210.   

The chandelier is 18 feet off the ground and has 12 torpedo bulbs. 12 LED  x $30 = $360.  A tall stepladder may reach it. I will replace with $3 CFL bulbs that I can afford when the handlyman is changing out the floods.   


I hope you found this blog about the 178 light bulbs useful as you think about your home's energy efficiency.

Enjoy home ownership ~ Mark Hitz, The Colony TX Realtor serving all far north Dallas suburbs.  





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Vickie Nagy
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate - Palm Springs, CA
Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen

Mark, this post was certainly thought provoking and almost mind-boggling! 178 bulbs in one house?

Sep 06, 2010 11:28 AM #1
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX


I think your photos would be drastically different with CFL bulbs!

They don't photograph well, but there's another benefit, heat they don't produce any where near the heat conventional lights do.

Fanatics miss allot, most of us could best use both. In my over head fans I have two of each wired so that I can control them for the best effect.


Sep 06, 2010 11:40 AM #2
Liz Lockhart
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO - Cape Girardeau, MO
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate

I sold an REO earlier this year that had some minor fire damage in the furnace area. Virtually all of the can lights also had scorched interiors. I was afraid to keep the electricity turned on, thinking that maybe there was some sort of wiring problem.

Upon inspection, no deficiencies were found in the wiring. The can lights all had over-rated bulbs in them, and I couldn't help wondering if someone had intentionally been trying to catch it on fire.

The new owner replaced every light bulb with CFBs.

Sep 06, 2010 01:33 PM #3
Andy Chaudoir
Professional Inspection Services - Georgetown, Texas - Georgetown, TX
Your Home Inspection Connection in Central Texas

Hello Mark - One day soon the "old" technology will no longer be available.  LEDs will come down in price and CFLs will become more reliable over the long term.  Can't wait to see what they come up with next.

Sep 06, 2010 06:56 PM #4
Mark Hitz
Keller Williams - The Colony, TX

Vickie - Glad you enjoyed it. Mark

Sep 07, 2010 01:25 PM #5
Mark Hitz
Keller Williams - The Colony, TX

Hello Bill -  CFL bulbs so have a different light spectrum for photos.  I do agree that changing out the bulbs in bathrooms definely lowers the heat build up.  Thanks for the comments. Mark

Sep 07, 2010 01:28 PM #6
Mark Hitz
Keller Williams - The Colony, TX

Liz -  Most builder grade can lights are not meant to have insulation on top of them and will overheat.  It they are easily accessable from the attic, replacement cans are inexpensive and are insulated.   CFLs do generate very little heat.

Sep 07, 2010 01:32 PM #7
Mark Hitz
Keller Williams - The Colony, TX

Hi Andy - I figure in 5 years CFL will be the norm and LED bulbs will be affordable. 

As far as the future, I would like to have LED lighting running on DC powered by solar shingles.  

Sep 07, 2010 01:36 PM #8
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

According to the Department of Energy, if every American home replaced just one incandescent lightbulb with one Energy Star CFL bulb we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year, save about $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year equivalent to those from about 800,000 cars.

Sep 28, 2015 07:17 AM #9
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