Compact Fluorescent Lights Buying Guide
CFLs are energy efficient bulbs designed to replace older incandescent models. They can fit in all the existing light fixtures that were once meant for incandescents and give off the same amount of visible light while using less power. And although they have a higher price-tag than incandescents, they provide a quick return on investment by using up to 75 percent less electricity per household and lasting up to 10 times longer than the average incandescent bulb. To learn more about the defining characteristics of CFLs and with the best ways to use them, check out the following guide. It may shine a little light on the subject!
Where to Use Them
- CFLs work well in open fixtures that allow ample airflow, like table and floor lamps ,wall sconces and common outdoor fixtures .
- If you have recessed fixtures, it's better to use a reflector CFL than a spiral CFL in order to evenly distribute light.
- If a light fixture is connected to a dimmer , you'll need to use an Energy Star qualified CFL that is specifically designed to work with such devices.
- CFLs come in a variety of shades, so use whatever works best for your space--from soft white light in the bedroom to a cooler shade designed specifically for your desk lamp.
Like all fluorescent lamps, CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury vapour. This has been a concern for landfills especially, where the mercury is released and subsequently contributes to water and air pollution. Since the discovery of this hazard, major CFL manufacturers have worked to cap the amount of mercury used in their bulbs.
What's the difference between a CFL bulb and a regular fluorescent bulb?
Mainly size. CFL bulbs are made in special shapes to fit in standard household light sockets.
Why does my CFL bulb seem to take a few minutes to warm up when I first turn it on?
The first CFL bulbs took a few seconds for the ballast to produce enough electricity to excite the gas inside the bulb. This is why they are better suited for fixtures that are left on for longer periods of time. In fact, CFL bulbs work best if they are left on for over 15 minutes each time they are turned on. If you frequently turn them on and off, you run the risk of shortening their lifespans and will be unable to gain the financial benefits of their proper use.
What do I do with a CFL when it burns out?
Like other somewhat hazardous household materials--i.e. batteries and paint --there are special procedures for disposing of CFLs. Avoid discarding them in regular trash containers and check with your local waste management agency for recycling and disposal options.