June 17 2007

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb

Way back in the summer of 2005, I wrote an entry on episode of 30 Days about living off the grid. I mentioned that I was going to look into switching my light bulbs in my house from the usual incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs.

For those not familiar with CFLs, here’s what one looks like

They may be a bit odd to look at, but they do their job. There is a larger initial investment, but I have seen the prices dropping as I buy in bulk. Where the savings comes is in the less wattage used per bulb, and the length of time they last. Say you normally use a 60 watt bulb, you can get the same amount of light from a 15 watt CFL. The typical CFL requires a 1/4 of the wattage the traditional bulbs do.So, have I liked them? No. I freakin’ love them! In my family room, we have a ceiling fan unit with five light sockets. As the old bulbs have burned out, I have replaced them with CFLs. The oldest bulb in the fixture has been in there now since September 2005. This fixture is on approximately eight hours a day, so this is not a quirk of lack of use.

We are also switching all the bulbs in our warehouse from 200 watt incandescents to 40 watt CFLs. I know the math is off there, but it’s actually brighter in the warehouse with the CFLs. Another side bonus is that the CFLs don’t put out anywhere near the heat the old bulbs do. They do get warm, but you can touch them even after they’ve been on for awhile.

Have they actually cut my electric bill? That’s a bit tougher to determine as I have so many other electronic devices running, but I can’t see why they wouldn’t. Back to that ceiling fan fixture, under the old bulbs we were using five sixty watt bulbs, with the CFLs we’re using five fifteen watt bulbs. So, seventy five watts vs. three hundred watts… yeah, we’re saving money.

So, in short, I highly recommend giving them a try next time you need to buy light bulbs, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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