Consumer attitudes vary toward CFL bulbs

American consumers may finally be seeing the light.

For the first time in four years, a majority of Americans are familiar with CFL bulbs even though many still plan to find ways around Congressional legislation banning incandescent light bulbs beginning in 2012.

Last month, the fourth annual SYLVANIA Socket Survey found that 55 percent of Americans are aware of the new law, which prevents the sale of 100-watt incandescent bulbs beginning next year.

Although 87 percent of respondents still use incandescent bulbs in their homes, 56 percent of Americans said they were eager to use CFL and LED bulbs because they will help them to achieve more energy-efficient homes. In the last year, 62 percent of consumers said they had explored alternate lighting options and installed a bulb with CFL or LED technology in order to help with their energy costs.

Although consumers are warming up to CFL bulbs, 33 percent of respondents worry about the extended phase-out process, with many citing the higher up-front costs of CFL bulbs and the preference toward incandescent bulbs as the reasons for their hesitation. The same percentage of respondents said they planned to continue using incandescent bulbs with different wattages until they are no longer permitted to do so. An additional 13 percent of respondents plan to stock up on 100-watt incandescent bulbs in advance of the deadline in order to continue using them into 2012 and beyond.

On average, CFL bulbs last 10 times longer than their incandescent predecessors, which could allow consumers save significant sums of money each year in energy costs. An experienced home inspection service could help homeowners identify additional ways to slash energy costs, many of which can be easily achieved.