Compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs as the often spiral-shaped bulbs are known, can work just as well as any incandescent bulb, while using less energy, lasting longer and providing increased safety. If you want to ease yourself into fluorescent lighting – because it does cost more initially – replace the most often-used bulbs.
Those are usually the kitchen, living room, bathroom and outdoor porch lights.
CFL’s save money
According to the statistics, changing just five lights to efficient bulbs like CFLs would save $60 a year in energy costs. But you don’t have to stop there. Although CFLs cost more, it’s easy to find them on sale and they are often cheaper in large quantities. Buy enough to fit most of the fixtures in your home, even if you don’t need to replace the bulbs yet. When current bulbs burn out, the new CFLs are already on hand.
Almost an entire home can be lit by compact fluorescent light bulbs, meaning frequent light bulb changes will be a thing of the past and power consumption will be cut drastically.
Some CFL facts:
- Last up to 10 times longer than incandescents
- Use about 2/3 less energy
- Generate only 30 percent the heat, meaning safer operation (and less heat added to the home)
- Different types can fit most regular fixtures
- Can work indoors or out
To be qualified as Energy Star, the gold standard in energy efficiency, CFLs must give off the same amount of light as regular bulbs, turn on instantly, make no noise and provide light in the warm color range. If you have a specific fixture in mind for a CFL, like one attached to a dimmer switch, make sure to choose a bulb that is specified for that use. It’s a good idea to read directions for any bulb you haven’t used before to ensure you’re not placing it in the wrong type of fixture.
Although most CFLs are warm tones, you can purchase cool-tone bulbs for focused task lighting. [Design note: please put this in a box. Buy CFLs with lumen outputs consistent with those of incandescent bulbs. Forty watt incandescent bulbs put out 450 lumens, 60 watt bulbs put out 800 lumens and 100 watt bulbs put out 1,600 lumens.
Some think LED (light emitting diode) light bulbs are the future because they’ll provide even more lighting power and less energy consumption than CFLs, as well as lasting longer. But until LEDs become more affordable and readily available, CFLs are still the best bet for saving money and energy. Now if you could just get rid of that phantom power that’s being drained from your home when you least expect it.