At the start of 2014, manufacturers of 40 and 60 watt incandescent light bulbs ceased operations in a nationwide bid to support energy-efficient alternatives. As a result, homeowners seeking new bulbs can only purchase LED (light-emitting diode) or other comparable lighting.

“LEDs use about 80% less energy than traditional bulbs and the average homeowner would use about 25 incandescent bulbs before just one LED bulb burned out,” says Lou Manfredini, Ace Home Expert. “Though the upfront cost might be more than you are used to paying, LEDs save money over time on both replacement and energy costs.”

Manfredini suggests that homeowners upgrade lighting fixtures in all areas of their home. He recommends following these guidelines:

– Upgrade your bulbs in phases. Replace hard to reach bulbs first – like those in vaulted ceilings – along with the bulbs you use the most. It could be decades before you have to borrow your neighbor’s ladder to change a light bulb again and you’ll see the most immediate energy savings by swapping out the fixtures that are turned on for the longest period of time each day.

– Choose the right light. Be sure to consider the fixture when choosing the proper LED bulb. Omni-directional lighting provides the widest range of light distribution and is the best choice for any main fixtures like vanities, pendants, table lamps, ceiling lights and chandeliers. Non-omni-directional bulbs are best for areas like closets or stairwells where you want a spotlight effect.

– Decide on a soft or bright light. LED bulbs are extremely efficient and will be a part of your home decor for 15-30 years, so you want to create the right ambiance. For rooms that are used primarily for entertaining or relaxing, warm bulbs are a great choice. Their amber tint will give off a cozy, soft white light. Bulbs resembling daylight are perfect for crafting or reading rooms, as they make whites brighter and help if you are concentrating on details. When in doubt, 800 lumens is a good, all-purpose brightness level for most spaces.

– Get the best look and longest life from your LED light bulbs. Be sure to get dimmable or 3-way bulbs for fixtures and lamps on these types of switches. And, if you have traditional dimmer switches, you’ll need to update to a universal dimmer switch. The upgrade is usually quick and easy will regulate the currents to the electronic circuits in a LED bulb so it won’t flicker, num or burn out permanently.