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Send Halogen Lamps Packing

Safer, more efficient alternatives are available

During the hottest month of the summer, it’s time to throw out one of the biggest heat producers—and fire hazards—lurking in your family room: the halogen floor lamp.

These torchiere-style lamps initially gained popularity because they are inexpensive and stylish. But their 300-watt bulbs consume an enormous amount of energy and burn extremely hot—around 1,000 degrees—making them an instant fire hazard if cloth or paper comes into contact with them. 

Operating these lamps also can send your energy bill soaring—much higher than their pricier but more efficient counterparts will. It costs nearly twice as much annually to operate a $20 halogen floor lamp than other kinds of lamps.

The smart alternative is a safe, efficient and equally stylish compact fluorescent floor lamp. Choose an Energy Star-qualified model to reap the biggest savings. Though they start at about $40, they can save you more than $130 in energy costs over the life of the lamp.

When you send your halogen lamp packing, however, don’t send it off with your college-bound kid. Many college dormitories have banned the lamps because of the fire hazard they pose.