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CFL vs Incandescent

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Woman holdling light bulbsThe future looks dim for incandescent light bulbs, the world-changing invention introduced by Thomas Edison in 1879. Part of the blame goes to CFL bulbs, also known as compact fluorescent light bulbs. Consumers have turned to CFL bulbs to save money and energy. Supporters say that the new CFLs last longer and can provide users with substantial savings on their electric bills over the lifetime of the bulbs.

Phasing Out Incandescent Bulbs in the U.S.

Soon it may be hard to even buy an incandescent bulb, at least in the United States. An energy bill passed by Congress in December 2007 and signed into law by the president set energy standards that can’t be met by traditional incandescent bulbs.

The new rules were phased in in 2012 and took full effect in 2014. So it is time that consumers get used to CLFs. And consumers have more options now for replacing traditional incandescent bulbs, including advanced incandescent bulbs and cost-effective LED bulbs.

The United States is not alone in taking bold moves to save electricity. In 2007, Australia became the first nation in the world to announce a ban on traditional incandescent bulbs, which took effect in 2010.

CFL Vs Incandescent: What’s the Difference?

If you haven’t made the switch to CFLs, you may think that all bulbs are the same. In fact, CFL and incandescent bulbs are quite different.

How do Incandescent Bulbs Work?

Incandescent bulbs work by conducting an electric current along a filament made of a long, thin piece of tungsten metal. The filament must be heated to temperatures of about 2,300 degrees Celsius to glow and emit a white-hot light. But the process transforms only 5 percent to 10 percent of the electricity used into visible light. The rest is transformed into heat, which can eventually increase the temperature of a room.

How do CFL Bulbs Work?

CFL bulbs, on the other hand, are made of glass tubes filled with gas and a small amount of mercury. The amount is so small that an old-fashioned glass thermometer holds 100 times as much mercury as one CFL bulb. Light is emitted when mercury molecules in a CLF bulb become excited by electricity running between two electrodes at its base. The mercury emits an invisible ultraviolet light that becomes visible when it hits the white coating inside the CFL bulb.

The Benefits (and Drawbacks) of CFL Bulbs

Person holding CFL and Incandescent bulbsThere are definite advantages to using CFL bulbs, and they are continuing to grow in popularity with consumers however many families are still using incandescent. Manufacturers of CFL bulbs promise changes in the near future that should make the bulbs more attractive to buyers. And supporters say that the benefits of CFL bulbs now on the market far outweigh their disadvantages.

Advantages of CFL Bulbs

Let’s take a closer look at why people choose CFL bulbs.

Lightbulb with hundred dollar billCost Savings. Energy Star encourages consumers to think long-term. According to the Energy Star Website, an Energy Star qualified-CFL bulb will pay for itself in six months and save about $30 in electricity over its lifetime.

Energy savings. A CFL bulb uses about 75 percent less energy than a traditional light bulb. Nationwide, a 60 percent to 70 percent decrease in light energy usage would save as much energy annually as the total amount of energy used by all the homes in Texas.

CFL bulb with grassHere’s another statistic: The United States could eliminate greenhouse gas emissions equal to 800,000 cars if each household in the country replaced just one incandescent bulb with a CFL bulb, according to Energy Star. Energy Star is a program of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designed to help consumers save money and protect the environment by using energy-efficient products and practices.

Longevity. CFL bulbs last about 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. It’s not unusual for a CFL bulb to last for five years, and even as long as nine years.

In addition, manufacturers that produce Energy Star-qualified bulbs are required to offer at least a two-year limited warranty. So if your CFL bulb burns out, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement.

Color. Earlier fluorescent bulbs were criticized for their harsh, unnatural and unflattering light tones. Manufacturers offer better options and greater variety today.

Disadvantages of CFL Bulbs

Now, let’s look at some of the drawbacks of CFL bulbs.

CFL bulb in pile of light bulbsUpfront Cost. A standard incandescent bulb costs about 50 cents. A single CFL bulb can cost anywhere from 75 cents to a few dollars. Now imagine replacing every bulb in your house with a CFL, and you can understand why some consumers are unwilling or unable to make the switch. But remember, buying a CFL bulb is an investment, as it will save you money over an incandescent bulb over the long run.

Delay time. Most manufacturers say that it takes a CFL bulb several seconds to reach full brightness after it is switched on. In addition, turning a CFL light bulb on and off repeatedly can shorter its life. It’s best to flip the switch only if you plan for the bulb to remain on for at least 15 minutes.

Mercury concerns. One reason that some people are leery of CFL bulbs is that each one contains about 5 milligrams of mercury, a toxic substance.

But mercury also is emitted into the air by coal-fired power plants that generate electricity. In fact, one 75-watt incandescent bulb will contribute 4.65 more milligrams of mercury into the air over its lifetime through the extra use of electricity than would be released by breaking a single CFL bulb.

Clean up and disposal concerns. A CFL bulb contains about enough mercury to cover the tip of a ballpoint pen. That may not seem like much, but it is enough for you to take the following precautions if you break a bulb.

Precautions to Take if You Break a CFL Bulb

After you’ve picked up the pieces of the bulb, wipe the area with a wet paper towel and place all clean-up materials in an outside trash can. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water when you are done. Then check with your local municipality to find out if broken CFLs can be picked up with your other garbage or if they must be taken to a specified recycling center.

The good news is that CFL bulbs are relatively difficult to break. Still, you may want to put down a drop cloth when you change one.

The mercury in a CFL bulb also means that you should not toss burned-out bulbs in the trash. Many municipalities offer recycling services, as do retailers such as Home Depot, Wal-Mart and IKEA, although not necessarily at all locations.

In the future, you may be able to return CFLs to the place you purchased them and receive a deposit back, much like cans and bottles.

Use limitations. You can’t just screw any CFL bulb into the device you want to use it in and be guaranteed that it will work. Lights with dimmer switches require the use of dimmable CFLs.

Three-way lights require three-way CFL bulbs. So check the bulb’s package to make sure you are buying one that meets your needs.

Choosing the Right CFL

Types of CFL lightbulbsCFL bulbs are relatively expensive so it’s best to read packages carefully, or be willing to make returns. Energy Star is working to persuade manufacturers to agree to standard labeling practices that could reduce confusion. In the meantime, here is some information to help you make the right choices when buying incandescent bulbs.

Wattage. Energy Star provides the following conversion chart for people looking to replace an incandescent bulb with an Energy Star-qualified CFL bulb.

  • 40-watt incandescent = 450 lumens (minimum light output) = 9 to 13 watt CFL
  • 60-watt incandescent = 800 lumens (minimum light output) = 13 to 15 watt CFL
  • 75-watt incandescent = 1,100 lumens (minimum light output) = 18 to 25 watt CFL
  • 100-watt incandescent = 1,600 lumens (minimum light output) = 23 to 30 watt CFL
  • 150-watt incandescent = 2,600 lumens (minimum light output) = 30 to 52 watt CFL

Energy Star-qualified bulbs carry the blue Energy Star label.

Light Colors. Advances in technology give consumers more variety in light colors with CFLs than the sickly, antiseptic fluorescent tones that first gave fluorescents a bad reputation.

Today’s CFLs are available in a variety of mood-setting white light. To find the bulb that’s right for your needs, you’ll need to determine its Kelvin (K) temperature range. Lower Kelvin numbers mean that the light will be yellowish in tone. Bulbs with higher Kelvin numbers will produce whiter or bluer light.

Warm white and soft white lights are within the 2,700 to 3,000 K range. For a brighter white light, look for bulbs marked as 3,500 to 4,100 K. CFL bulbs in cool, white or bright white are good for kitchens or work spaces that need to be well-lit. Blue light that is most like daylight will come from bulbs marked 5,000 to 6,500 K.

Shapes and Styles. Most people are familiar with fluorescent tube and spiral bulbs, but CFLs come in many more shapes. There are covered globes, candles, indoor reflectors, outdoor reflectors, and covered A-shaped bulbs that look like traditional incandescent bulbs. Dimmable and three-way CFLs also are available.

Check out the Energy Star CFL bulb comparison chart, and download the how to choose a CFL PDF file. The document includes information about different types of bulbs and the fixtures in which they work best.

Be Eco-Conscious And Save Money With Your Smart Home

Regardless of the type of light bulb you choose, it is still a waste of energy to have lights on when they are not needed. A cool way to deal with this issue is to add some smart home devices to your life. Imagine if you could turn your lights on and off from your cell phone, no matter how far you are from your home! Here’s a helpful rundown of smart home technology, in case you want to learn more.

Michelle is passionate about living a healthy life. She shops farmers markets, cooks organic, and eats vegetarian. Juicing and smoothies are a part of everyday life in her home. So are recycling, composting, and gardening. I guess you could say Michelle has a green thumb. Even when a plant doesn't make it under her care, she is still dedicated to making the earth a greener place for future generations.
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83 Comments on "CFL vs Incandescent"

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Dave
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Dave
CFL, LED or incandescent. I have a hobby in electronics and such and can boil it down this way. In terms of being “green”, the incandescent wins. While the CFL or LED may seem to win based on a percentage of light vs heat, any saving here is drastically offset when you consider the manufacturing process and disposal of these items. The standard or incandescent light is made up of glass, a metal base and a metal filament. All of these items are easily and safely broken down and recycled. The manufacture of these “standard” lights are also green, as… Read more »
Unresponsive Script
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Unresponsive Script
That all sounds impressive Dave but where are your sources or could you have possibly just made this stuff up? Please stick to your hobby. And maybe the idea was to reduce the electric grid load primarily rather than every other aspects of a green objective? Could you be a classic purveyor of false information? Some points of fact: CFL lumens per watt are about 4X more with CFL than your old nostalgic Easy-Bake-Oven hot bulb. The poisonous and carcinogenic PCB’s were used in the old fashion “magnetic ballasts” for linear fluorescents fixtures up to 1979. It is a dielectric… Read more »
Chris Duvall
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Chris Duvall

Incandescent bulbs produce far more heat than CFLs, do they not? A lot of people don’t think about that when comparing the two “energy-wise”. It’s true, CFL’s use less energy, but do you know what uses the most energy in your home? Your heater. So without all that extra heat coming from incandescent lighting and giving you major internal gains, your heater will be running much more often. So maybe incandescent bulbs during colder months and CFL’s during the warmer?

David Hammond
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David Hammond
Broken fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can release sufficient mercury vapor to cause poisoning. The Maine Department of Environment Protection conducted experimental trials to measure how much mercury was released when fluorescent bulb or CFLs were broken inside moderate sized rooms. They found that the mercury concentration could reach as high as 50,000 ng/m3 and possibly over 100,000 ng/m3 from the breakage of a single CFL. The Maine guideline for ambient air mercury is 300 ng/m3. There is at least one case report in medical journals in which a 23-month-old baby developed acrodynia after being exposed to… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
I remember slowly switching to CFL bulbs several years ago. It was costly at the time, but doing one room at a time made it more affordable. I’m not sure we’ve really saved any money and I don’t care for the way CFL bulbs look. I’m a reader and find that CFL lighting just isn’t as good as incandescent lighting. With that being said, we plan to switch the bulbs in our home once more. No, we’re not going back to incandescent bulbs. However, we are going to invest in LED bulbs. LED bulbs can be quite expensive, but there… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
I’ve tried really hard to like CFL bulbs. We switched all the bulbs in our home, but I’ve not been happy with the results. I’m not sure if we’re saving any money on our electricity bill either, but I know that I don’t like the lighting that these bulbs put off. It’s been something that I’ve been willing to live with though in order to be a bit greener. In fact, it’s one of the simplest things someone can do to start living greener, though it may be a bit expensive. I do like that these bulbs take much longer… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
I had no idea that traditional incandescent bulbs were so bad for the environment. My eyes are opened now to the situation! I liked how the article addressed the mercury issue and made me realize how safe it was, because that was the one issue that surprised me about CFLs. (My first thought was, How could they be better when they contain mercury? But it is true, as the article mentioned, that burning extra coal to generate electricity puts far more mercury into the environment.) I would like to read a little more about the other options, LED and advanced… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
I replaced all of my incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent about two years ago, and my electricity bills have gone down notably during that time. At first, it only seemed like a few dollars per month, but for the number of bulbs I replaced in my house, as time went on there was a notable difference, of about sixty dollars per year or more. Not bad for saving the earth by lowering electricity consumption! By the way, the article was correct to touch on the other advantages these bulbs. People seem to have the mistaken idea that they give off… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials about how GE is making changes to their bulbs so that they are more user-friendly. I love that they are trying to make the lighting from CFL bulbs better. One of my biggest qualms has always been the poor lighting these bulbs give off. I’m glad GE is making this option better for others, but for me, it’s too late. While it may be extremely expensive to do, we plan to switch all the bulbs in our home to LED. With bulbs costing between $10-20 a piece, it will be something that we… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
I started buying CFL bulbs a few years back. I do not mind paying the extra price if they are going to last longer and save me money in the long run. I also like the idea that they are good for the environment. In fact, if it weren’t for that, I may have never made the switch over to CFL bulbs. But now I keep hearing about the dangers of CFL and I feel like we can’t really win. Maybe we need to just go back to burning candles and getting in bed by the time the sun goes… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
I love this article because it’s shown me the light, literally! I am an environmental nut and I say so proudly. I believe we should protect the environment as much as we can. Environmentally, it sounds like the end of the incandescent light bulbs that Thomas Edison invented. He had a wonderful idea, but environmentally, it’s not the best option. However, back in that time, the environment was not always a consideration. CFL bulbs are the future, so let’s travel to the 21st century. Compact fluorescents bulbs are the environmentally safe alternative. They use less electricity and are economically better… Read more »
an environmentally conscious drifter
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an environmentally conscious drifter
What a load off toss. I replaced all my household bulbs to CFL and in the last year my electricity bill has risen, not gone down. And the dimness of these so called wonder bulbs has not helped my sight. I now NEED reading glasses. I have now found a company still selling incandescent bulbs and intend to stock up hundreds of them to last the rest of my lifetime so that I can read again and feel the warmth they also supply. (Did you forget how warm they made you feel?). I wish everyone would realize this greenhouse emission… Read more »
SICK OF THE LIES
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SICK OF THE LIES
These bulbs are not friendly to people or the environment! I’m sick of the lies!!! People should research things a bit farther before trusting what is printed. What is being pushed as a “green” light bulb – a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL). Is the ultimate form of sick irony, what many people don’t know is that fluorescent lights are actually bad for not only people and animals, but the earth itself. Not only are these bulbs filled with the second most toxic element on the planet – mercury (Hg) – but they have been proven to cause health problems… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
I think it is absolutely amazing that Australia has mandated that all electric light bulbs be converted from incandescent bulbs to the more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs by 2010. I had not heard that before and I am curious to look into how the transition went and how it is going for them down under since that happened two years ago. It is such a progressive measure to take as a country and it has to be a pretty expensive undertaking for their citizens no doubt. However, it is these kinds of broad sweeping changes that need to be made… Read more »
an environmentally conscious drifter
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an environmentally conscious drifter
Soooo. Since YOU changed YOUR bulbs in your home to CFL you hope that the government will hurry up in mandating CFL’s. What is funny as an Electrical Engineer, I can tell you some of the cheaper CFL’s use more than YOU think they say. The Power Factor on some of the CFL’s is horrible. The government requires the amps of the ballast and bulb printed next to the tube watts. Example: I am looking at a cheap home depot CFL it says “14 watts .27 amps” .27amps times 120 volts is 32.4 watts with a CRI (color redention index)… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
We switched all the bulbs in our home to CFL bulbs and while we feel better about how it’s helping the environment, I hate the fact that the bulbs don’t put off the same kind of light as the incandescent bulbs I’d grown used to. However, we’re looking into changing our bulbs one more time in order to take advantage of LED bulbs. LED bulbs are extremely expensive. With most high-quality bulbs costing $15-20 per bulb it can be hard for many to justify the expense. However, the energy savings is amazing. In fact, a good-quality LED bulb can save… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
Compact fluorescent light bulbs are a huge part of my son’s developing interest in science. He is a logical thinker and he loves to learn about the process of things and to do experiments. So one month we measured how much electricity we used with old light bulbs. Then, we changed out all the light bulbs and made sure that we kept the electric going for the same amount of time. We did this during a time when the weather was not all that extreme so we did not have to try to account for electricity involving the furnace or… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
The article here really does a good job of laying out the advantages of buying compact fluorescent bulbs versus the traditional incandescent bulbs we have all gotten so used to. The one drawback that compact fluorescent bulbs still struggle with is that they are more expensive to buy in the short term than their old-fashioned counterparts. For this reason, there are still many households that continue to purchase the old incandescent bulbs to “save money” in the short term. This kind of thinking really drives me crazy though. If the price difference between one bulb and another is only a… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
I wonder if anyone has stopped to think about how perfecting the light bulb has created more waste? We switched all our bulbs to CFL bulbs and will soon be switching to LED bulbs. I guess I’ll probably donate the other bulbs because they’re still perfectly usable, they’re just not the perfect bulb. It’s strange to think that we were perfectly fine with incandescent bulbs for decades, but have made two major changes in the course of a few years. Which brings me back to my point. Is it really green to keep trying to be greener? Regardless, going green… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
It seems like people are always buying into the latest fad only to buy into another one a few years down the road. I’m not saying that CFL bulbs are bad. They’re certainly an improvement to incandescent bulbs, but why did we bother when the technology was already there for us to use LED bulbs? For some, it’s about being green, but for many companies, it’s about staying afloat. After all, if you purchase light bulbs that last 10 years instead of 2, that makes it harder for the company to survive. So why not lure you back into the… Read more »
SensicalNugget
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SensicalNugget

OK, here goes, my cousin lives in Nunavut, and she can’t use CFLs in the winter because it gets too cold. So, incandescent a win. Middle finger to the person who wrote this.

Lighthouse
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Lighthouse
Efficient in making bright light using few components and earth minerals.Sustainable in being easily locally made as simple safe generic patent-expired products without needing long transport and without needing recycling. Long lasting up to 20 000 hours (as for mining industry), when major manufacturers don’t control the markets. Incandescents don’t burn coal and they don’t give out CO2 or other emissions. Power plants might and might not. But even if they do, those power plants would mostly be burning the same coal anyway in their base level night output covering the low demand when incandescents are mainly used. 14 referenced… Read more »
Karen
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Karen
The mercury in these is being downplayed. The levels measured in the Maine CFL study show that levels above the workplace limits for acute exposure are possible, even likely . Yes, acute exposure limits to not be surpassed EVER, for the workplace assuming adults, not for children. The workplace limit is 100,000 ng/m3 and the chronic exposure limit for a home are 300 ng/m3 (yes I realize that is a chronic limit). California is the only one who has a limit for an acute exposure in the home for children and pregnant women. It is 600 ng/m3 for one hour.… Read more »
Jordan
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Jordan
I just built a 3800 sq. ft. home and decided to use all CFL’s and/or LED bulbs. After shopping all my local stores and the internet for several weeks I was more than appalled. To fit every fixture, a total of 127 not including outdoor lighting which is solar, the cost would have been $3,427.73! I could get the same number of incandescent bulbs for $285.75 by buying jumbo packs of GE bulbs at my local Sam’s club. For the price difference forget about the planet. The entire save the planet rhetoric with CFL’s is double talk because they have… Read more »
Chuckles
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Chuckles
When I first heard about CFL’s I was excited and enthused about saving money and helping the environment — who doesn’t want these two ends. I went out and purchased a few packages of each and started to replace them in my home. That’s when I realized that the physical size of many CFL’s is an issue. I’ve had cases where a CFL won’t fit in a lamp or a ceiling fixture — Yes, a lamp or ceiling fixture. These are common applications for light bulbs. If the CFL won’t physically fit, it is worthless,right. The manufacturers need to “fix”… Read more »
Marie
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Marie

I have to say that the lifespan of these bulbs is getting better. BUT still doesn’t seem to match the advertised number of hours. The best solution I have found is this website called Energyearth.com that offers lifetime guarantees on LEDs and some CFLs. I have NO idea how they can afford to offer this, but I have already had them replace one bulb – amazing!

fordknutt
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fordknutt

Chuckles is correct, I have had to replace CFL’s w/short lifespans in my home also. Doesn’t matter if they are installed in ceiling can lights, desk lamp, garage light fixture, etc. The CFL’s that are used on a daily basis will be lucky to last 6 months.

an environmentally conscious drifter
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an environmentally conscious drifter

This helped me with my science project.Thanks. ;)-MJR

an environmentally conscious drifter
Guest
an environmentally conscious drifter

We have switched several rooms to CFL. I am trying REALLY HARD to like them, but the light they emit is ugly, dim, depressing, grayish. It completely lacks warmth, and gives the house a kind of cold, spaceship-like quality. Also, I have seen zero money savings as far as the energy bill. I also don’t understand how CFL is supposed to be so great for the environment, when a broken bulb is such a hazard and requires elaborate maneuvers for proper disposal. Maybe there’s hope in LED.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
I am completely in love with my CFL bulbs. You want to know why? I just got my electric bill, that’s why. There are two people in my home, an air conditioner and two fans running constantly and there is always some sort of electronic device or two..or three going. I made the switch to all CFL bulbs and I saw the difference right away. I was expecting about a $300 electric bill because of everything going and my son being home from school for the summer so even more is going than usual, but when I got my bill… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
There will be a new type of light bulb gracing the shelves of our favorite stores very soon. Perhaps you have already noticed those funky looking new bulbs? They are called CFL light bulbs. The old traditional incandescent light bulb (you know, the one invented years ago by Thomas Edison) is on the way out. The old trusty light bulb has been determined to be very energy inefficient. The federal government has implemented new energy standards and the old light bulb, try as she might, is simply not capable of complying with the new regulations. So, it will soon be… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
Initially, we switched to incandescent bulbs as a way to save money and honestly, I can’t tell you that we’ve seen any difference in our electricity bill. However, it does feel great knowing that we’re doing something good for the environment. My only qualm with incandescent bulbs is that if they break, it can be extremely dangerous. I’ve had one or two shatter and it’s a much bigger mess than when a CFL bulb would break. Of course, the expense of the bulbs was much higher in the beginning, but that is something that is thankfully changing. I think it’s… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
I jumped on the CFL bandwagon early and wished I had done more research first. Most of the bulbs I bought starting 7-8 years ago are dead and many that have been purchased since right up to a few months ago have also failed. Please note, these 7-8 year old bulbs only had 100-200 hours of use. I still have many incandescent bulbs that are older and still functioning. The majority (90%) of my light bulbs are on only a few minutes a day. This is really the biggest problem with CFL bulbs, how long they last when only used… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Believe it or not we just had a CFL explode. We cleaned it up but learned afterwards that we shouldn’t have used a vacuum because it puts mercury in the air. We were all freaking out because of mercury poisoning and honestly can’t seem to find a conclusive opinion on how dangerous a blown up CFL is?

treehugger
Guest
treehugger

You should be fine, especially if the bulb was off when it exploded (the mercury binds to the glass when the light goes out). If the bulb was on, you still shouldn’t worry – CFL’s contain a very small amount of mercury that immediately falls to the floor. In the future, use gloves and sticky pads to clean up the floor, then take the bulb debry to Home Depot in a plastic bag for disposal.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

The CFL power requirement is 20% greater than incandescent.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Doesn’t anyone realize it takes 115 times more energy to produce one CFL than it does to produce one incandescent bulb.

Then add on the energy required to get rid of that CFL bulb once it burns out.

The carbon footprint is huge. CFL’s are only good for manufacturers to make $$$. This is like buying a Hybrid SUV… dumb dumb dumb.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
Why do I dislike CFL? * Much too expensive. Show me a $0.60 CFL in Canada, not a chance. They’re $4.00. * Haven’t seen a dimmable one yet, but have been told they exist. Where? * Terrible to read by the light of a CFL, gives me sore eyes. * A couple of incandescent bulbs warm up a small room nicely. With CFL I have to turn up the heat. * CFL bulbs won’t fit in my track lights * Got to replace hardware $$$ * They don’t work in very cold weather * In Canada people who use them… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
More recently I tested a suspicion I’ve had for quit some time now – I replaced my lighting in my entire home and discovered that my electric bill increased, not decreased. Anyway, I tested my suspicion by using a load tester – I have yet to find a CFL bulb that actually saves energy. For an example I tested an Ecobulb Plus Daylight 100W Equivalent (supposed to use only 23 watts of power). Guess what, it actually uses 66 watts of power. I also tested a 75watt (20watt) soft white GreenLite bulb provided by Allient Energy audit. It actually uses… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Even the “soft white” CFL’s produce a horrible light temperature.

There is no incandescent equivalent color temperature available for CFL’s.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

hi =)

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
It seems incredible to hear it said buying a CFL bulb at $3.00 to $4.00 each will save money? Especially when I can buy an incandescent bulb for 25 cents each. I guess if you are a rich person one can afford $expensive light bulbs and forget US trying to make ends meet. This site, the Public Utility Commission and the Energy Star site also IGNORE completely the FACT CFLs do not do well being turned ‘on & off’ – this resulting in them burning out very quickly – from my experience within app. 6 (six) months. This takes away… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
My local utility company lists my power consumption for the previous 24 months. After replacing all the incandescent bulbs with CFL’s, my power consumption was cut in half. A savings of $500 in one year. I figure I spent about $75 on the bulbs and that is when they were more expensive. They are less then half the cost now, then 4 years ago. Furthermore, I might have spent $25 in the last four years on new bulbs and that was mainly to replace some older bulkier bulbs with smaller more compact ones. So over four years I spent $100… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I bought 112 CFL bulbs in the last few months… You can get them for 60 cents each at Sam’s Club and you could also get them free when you pay your electric bill in person at a lot of power companies….

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
My son, who lives at home while attending our university decided to do me a favor and without telling me replaced the incandescent in my kitchen with a CFL. After dark, I went into the kitchen to get a glass of ice tea. I turned on the light and it wasn’t bright. I wondered what was wrong and saw the CFL which took it’s time to warm up to full brightness. I got a glass of tea, then looked over at the cat bowl which was about 5 feet away to see if my cat need a new can of… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

CFL’s have got so many advantages over incandescent bulbs so its better to use CFL to save electricity and prove to be a responsible citizen. One of my friends got Havells CFLs for his office and claims that they are very energy saving.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
I have to admit, I knew on some level that there were better light bulbs out there for the environment, but I did not know exactly which ones those were. Also, the ones that were labeled environmental in my local store were very expensive. I didn’t know if it was because they lasted longer and were cheaper in the long run, or if it was just because they were overpriced and taking advantage of people that care about the environment. When you try to look things up online when it comes to this, a lot of the information is confusing,… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
You may have heard a lot of talk about the change in light bulbs. This article actually sheds quite a bit of light as to what is actually going on. It seems that the US Government has implemented much stricter energy requirements for a number of household appliances and other products. The old incandescent light bulb, being quite inefficient, is not able to meet these stricter energy efficiency guidelines. The USA is not the first country to implement these new energy standards. Actually, there have already been quite a few to issue similar guidelines. All of these other countries were… Read more »
an environmentally conscious drifter
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an environmentally conscious drifter

I have CFL bulbs throughout my house. They do not last as long as advertised. I read the “fine print” and they last for nine years only, ONLY if you ONLY use them for anywhere from 3 to 9 hours a day.

AM I missing something?

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
Just in case you have not heard, very soon it will be impossible to buy a traditional incandescent light bulb in the USA. Actually, this is a switch which has been made by several other countries already, all in the name of energy efficiency. The US Government issued new tougher energy standard which the traditional light bulb just simply cannot meet. This means that the new standard light bulb will become the CFL. These types of bulbs have several major advantages. The first is cost savings. The Energy Star group estimates that this light bulb will pay for itself in… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
I am a pretty frugal person, but I would not say that I am a cheap person. I just do not like to waste my money on things that I don’t think I need. Normally, my frugal nature would not have anything at all to do with my light bulbs. But when I moved, my friends got a kick out of one of the things I did to save myself some money. I was living in an apartment that included utilities in the rent. I bought the CFL bulbs because I wanted to do what I could to go green.… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
Most people have probably heard that the US is in the process of phasing out the old incandescent light bulb. A lot has already been written about these bulbs are old, inefficient and just do not work as well as they could. In contrast, the CFL bulb has a lot of advantages, such as higher efficiency and being able to easily meet the new tougher energy standards. Having said that, there are still some concerns which people should be aware of. First of all, these light bulbs will represent a significant cost increase (about six times that of a traditional… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
I hate to admit it, but when they came out with the cfl bulbs, I was pretty leery about using them. I am all for doing good for the environment, but I did not like the light they gave off. I happen to be hypersensitive to light, so for me it was more than preference. But I knew I was going to have to switch over sooner or later, so I just found ways to work with the light. For one thing, they aren’t as bright as the other bulbs unless you leave them on for a while. But the… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
The traditional light bulb, the old incandescent lights which many of us grew up with is being phased out in the USA. The reason for this is tougher new energy standards have been set which this bulb cannot meet. Therefore, the next round of lighting will likely be supplied by CFL bulbs. According to the author of this piece, CFL bulbs offer a pretty significant cost savings. Statistics used show that the CFL bulb will pay for itself in about six months and then save an additional 30 dollars in electricity over the course of its lifetime. The CFL bulb… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
There is certainly a lot of uproar over the upcoming ban and phase out of the traditional incandescent light bulb in the US. Many people and companies have weighed in on this issue, both pro and con. I was happy to see that this is one of the more balanced articles on the topics. The author was certainly not afraid to list some of the drawbacks to the CFL bulbs. I think the essence of the issue was captured when the article mentioned the increased costs involved. The fact that people are now going to need to replace every light… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
Sure the bulbs use less energy however what is the real savings considering the excess power from a normal bulb is due to the production of heat. Since I am paying to heat my home anyway in the winter this really isn’t energy savings but just a change of where it comes from. Certainly I am saving money in the summer with CFL’s but then again the lights are on far less. It would seem if you factor this in the acctually energy savings are far lower than reported unless of course you live in a warm climate aor are… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous

The heat created by an incandescent bulb has 2 drawbacks:

a. The heat is probably not where you want it, for example near a ceiling.

b. The cost of heat by electricity is 2 to 3 times that of other fuel sources.

I have a home and a vacation home. Using cfls lowered our electric consumption 20% or more.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I also agree that we should use CFl’s in place of incandescent bulbs to save electricity. However, to get the desired result the CFL’s to be used should be from a good brand. Using just a normal CFL is not going to give the desired result.

In the past I was also using just normal CFl’s but they weren’t that much more efficient so I changed my lamp and went for Havells Lamps. Using Havells has really made my electricity bill go down. Thanks to Havells for making such quality products.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Amazing!!! It’s so amazing to see what a single replacement of a CFL can do. It can help us remove green house effects to a great extent. I also agree with the first comment which claims that by using Havell CFL’s we can save a lot of electricity.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
Great topic; I am for CFL’s. Just to clear something up, though, you might want to change the paragraph stating, “A CFL bulb uses about 75 percent less energy than a traditional light bulb. Nationwide, a 60 percent to 70 percent decrease in energy usage would save as much energy annually as the amount of energy used by all the homes in Texas.” This statistic can confuse people. I know you meant ’60-70% decrease in light* energy usage’ would save as much ‘*Total energy usage by Texas homes annually.’ Worded how it is now though, it appears to me as… Read more »
treehugger
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treehugger
Thanks for pointing that out! I’ve edited the article to reflect the correct wording. Interestingly, while Texas doesn’t consume 60% of the nation’s energy, it does use about 60% more, per capita, than the nation. A 1999 EPA report shows that Texans consumed about 11.5 quadrillion BTU’s worth of fuel and electricity. This represents over 12 percent of the nation’s total energy consumption. Since Texans make up approximately 7% of the nation’s population, their per capita energy consumption is about 60 percent higher than the national energy intensity. What kind of energy do Texans use? The 1999 study (a bit… Read more »
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