Switch to Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

by Justin Weinger on February 14, 2007

Okay, first off, let me preface this article by saying that I just watched An Inconvenient Truth and, in some small part, this is my very feeble attempt at trying to do my part to help the environment.

In that same vein, if this article can help you save a couple of bucks at the same time, then I definitely feel like I’ve done my job!

Anyway, today I’m going to encourage you to go ahead and switch from your regular incandescent light bulbs.  Lately, a lot has been made of these relatively new bulbs – so much so, that the California State Legislature is looking to pass a bill that would outlaw the sale of regular incandescent light bulbs within the next decade.

So why all the fuss?  Well, according to Energystar.gov:

“If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR [compact fluorescent bulb], we would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gasses equivalent to the emissions of nearly 800,000 cars.”

That’s some pretty serious stuff for just one simple light bulb.  But what does all of that mean for you?  It means you can do your part to help the environment and potentially save hundreds of dollars doing so.

According to Energystar.gov, you will save nearly $30 in energy costs for each incandescent light bulb you switch out with a compact fluorescent bulb.  And, because the compact fluorescent bulbs last longer than regular bulbs, the extra $2 or you have to spend for each bulb is essentially a wash due to the fact you won’t have to replace the compact fluorescent nearly as often as you do the regular bulb.

But now I’m ready to talk some serious numbers – I went around my house today and I counted the number of light bulbs I currently have, and I came up with a total of 48 bulbs.  That means that if I were to switch out all 52 regular bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, over their lifetime I would save roughly $1,500 in energy costs.

And on that note, this weekend I’m going to go swing by Wal-Mart or Costco and buy some compact fluorescent bulbs in bulk and begin to put them in my light fixtures and lamps once the regular bulbs start to burn out.

I’ll gladly throw down $60 in light bulbs if the return is $1,500!  Oh yeah, and I’ll be doing my part to help the environment, too!



brian.carr March 11, 2007 at 2:48 pm

Thanks for the comments. I’m glad everyone feels as strongly about CFLs as I do. It’s my mission to have every regular light bulb replaced with a CFL by the end of the year!

TC4SURE March 12, 2007 at 6:09 am

I have used the various types fo CF for a few years now. They have made great progress in the improvements. But please remember, These bulbs contain Mercury, and need to be disposed of properly. Lets keep thinking of the enviroment and not just throw them in the trash when they do burn out in 3 years or so.

brian.carr March 12, 2007 at 6:20 am

That’s an interesting point; I’ve never heard of that before. Where should people dispose of the CFL bulbs?

Gordon E. Peterson II April 20, 2007 at 1:45 pm

The discussion about CFLs is interesting but dated, since I consider CFLs as for the most part technologically obsolete.

I think that Cold Cathode (CCFL) lamps are a FAR better alternative, and I’ve been replacing both incandescent and CFL lamps at my house with CCFLs… presently I have more CCFL bulbs installed here than all other kinds combined. See my Web site at personal dot terabites dot com slash ccathode dot html for a summary of my experiences with cold cathode lighting in my home.

But basically… you get (perhaps) nightlight mode; you get INSTANT light (no delay like CFL), you get wider temperature range, you can dim them, you get far longer life than CFLs (2.5-4x), less mercury…. simply a superior experience, all around.

Doug June 12, 2007 at 9:47 am

Yes, the ccfl lamps are wonderful great for….scoreboards, Las Vegas signs and anywhere where you need alot of lamps that put out small amounts of light..The highest ccfl lamp is around 8 watts.
For the future they will be great, just wait for them to get a little bit brighter!

a saver July 11, 2007 at 7:16 am

Change the ordinary light bulbs before they go out. Its actually more saving in change them right away then to wait. Calculate the amount of energy they will consume before the ran out compare to the saving you will get from the new lamp…

Rebecca September 30, 2007 at 2:44 pm

The house I’m renting has 9 recessed lighting in the kitchen area with incandescent light (60 watts each) when I moved in almost 3 years ago. My kitchen looked dim, everything looks yellow and it seems hotter. I bought TCP CFL’s a year before and I think they’re the best CFLs around, so I replaced all the bulbs in my house with TCP CFLs. I used almost 3 cases, which I bought from Goodmart.com. My husband and I couldn’t be more pleased. The bulbs cost a lot, but my utility bill went down by atleast $25-$30 a month. I’ve saved approximately $775.00 since I’ve had the CFL bulbs. I already got the money I spent on the bulbs and then some.

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