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Cut through light bulb confusion

Buying a light bulb was at one time simple, uncomplicated and boring. When you needed one, you bought it. No more. Last year, with the incandescent bulb phaseout in favor of more energy-efficient technologies, figuring out what to replace that old 60-watt bulb with can be a bit puzzling. First, one type of incandescent, the halogen bulb, is still available. They're about 25 to 30 percent more efficient than old versions and last three times as long. While cheaper than CFL or LED bulbs, they save you less over their lifetime, about $2 a bulb. Second, the rating of bulbs has changed from watts to lumens. It makes a lot of sense, because watts are a measure of power, not light. Consider it simply a technology shift — like the sometimes uncomfortable coexistence of inches and centimeters.

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