The house came with incandescent bulbs, and after breaking a CFL in the process of discovering they wouldn't fit in the globes we decided to just put the CFLs we already had in the basement, which is surprisingly well-lit, and just jump straight to LEDs upstairs.
It took a while because they're not cheap, but we're finally there. We got a total of nine 60W equivalents and three 40W.
The bulbs we got were all Utilitech brand. Only Lowe's ever had them, which is a bit inconvenient for us because the nearest two Lowe'ses are each 15 minutes away.
The packaging for the 60W equivalents says each one will cost us $1.63 to run 3 hours a day for a year and will last 22.8 years. Each one costs $20.
These incandescents cost $0.37 each, with an average life of 1000 hours. We'll throw in CFLs in the comparison too. These ones seem to be about $2 each; the website was being confusing about prices.
We pay around 10 cents per kWh:
|Power over lifetime||60 kWh = $6.00||156 kWh = $15.60||337 kWh = $33.70|
Based on that, the single-bulb lifetime cost puts incandescent well in the lead. Except, if the lifetime is anywhere close to accurate on the LED, you'd need nearly 25 incandescents to match it, making the total $159.03.
LED wins over incandescent 3:1.
I suppose you may have noticed that the lifetime cost of a CFL is better than the LED, even if it takes two CFLs to match one LED. I'm ok with that trade-off. I'm willing to pay the extra twenty bucks per LED to avoid the mercury in the two CFLs I'd otherwise need. Plus, for being "compact", the 60W equivalent CFLs I had wouldn't even fit in our bedroom ceiling fixture anyway.
Besides, I'd bet that long before these die on us, there'll be more efficient LEDs for cheaper that would tempt me to move these ones down to the basement and totally get rid of our CFLs.
In addition to energy efficiency and saving money though, I for one really enjoy all my lights putting out the same color temperature, even when dimmed. Before, we had some Reveal, some soft white, some CFL, and some CFLs that warmed up so slowly you'd be half done with your shower before the lights were really on. It's nice to walk through the house and have some consistency!