People sometimes have trouble making small sacrifices now that will reward them handsomely later.
Save yourself some trouble and start buying LED light bulbs.
You've probably seen LED flashlights, the LED "flash" on phone cameras and LED indicator lights on electronics. But LED bulbs, for use in the lamps and light sockets of your home, have been slow to arrive, mainly because of their high price. Their electronics and heat-management features have made them much, much more expensive than other kinds of bulbs.
That's a pity, because LED bulbs are a gigantic improvement over incandescent bulbs and even the compact fluorescents, or CFLs, that the world spent several years telling us to buy.
LEDs last about 25 times as long as incandescents and three times as long as CFLs; we're talking maybe 25,000 hours of light. Install one today, and you may not own your house, or even live, long enough to see it burn out. (Actually, LED bulbs generally don't burn out at all; they just get dimmer.)
You know how hot incandescent bulbs become. That's because they convert only 5% to 10% of your electricity into light; they waste the rest as heat. LED bulbs are far more efficient. They convert 60% of their electricity into light, so they consume far less electricity. You pay less. You pollute less.
But wait, there's more: LED bulbs also turn on to full brightness instantly. They're dimmable. The light color is wonderful; you can choose whiter or warmer bulbs. They're rugged, too. It's hard to break an LED bulb, but if the worst should come to pass, a special coating prevents flying shards.
Yet despite all of these advantages, few people install LED lights. They never get farther than: "$30 for a light bulb? That's nuts!" Never mind that they will save about $200 in replacement bulbs and electricity over 25 years. (More, if your electric company offers LED-lighting rebates.)
Surely there's some price, though, where that math isn't so off-putting. What if each bulb were only $15? Or $10?
Well, guess what? We're there. LED bulbs now cost less than $10.
David Pogue is the New York Times tech columnist. He can be reached at davidpogue.com or @Pogue on Twitter. See full columns at fresnobee.com/pogue.