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CFL Light Bulbs: How One Small Change This New Year Can Equal Big Savings

Posted on Tuesday, December 29 2015

If going solar isn’t your thing, but you’d still like to save some money in the new year, take a close look at your light bulbs. Are you using CFL bulbs? No? It’s time to make a change!

When it comes to saving money your electric bill and adopting energy efficient habits, one of the most common questions seems to be: Are compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs really more efficient than regular incandescent light bulbs? The answer is simple: Yes!

How They Work

Creating light by running electricity through a resistive filament, incandescent light bulbs heat the filament to a very high temperature. This causes the bulb to glow and produce an extremely visible light, however more than 98 percent of the energy used is emitted as heat.

On the other hand, CFL bulbs produce ultraviolet light, working by passing electricity through a mercury vapor, exciting the gas. As the UV light hits the white coating inside of the CFL bulb, the coating changes into a light that you can see. CFL bulbs don’t use heat to create light.

Lumens Per Watt

A regular incandescent bulb can produce about 15 lumens per watt while CFL bulbs typically produce 50 to 70 lumens per watt. In other words, you can buy a 15-watt CFL bulb that produces the same about of light as a regular 60-watt regular incandescent bulb.

Incandescent     CFL
40w

=

   10w
60w

=

   13w-15w
75w

=

   20w
100w

=

   26w-29w
150w

=

   38w-42w
250w-300w

=

   55w

Cost and Lifespan

A 6-pack of GE 60-watt incandescent light bulbs costs approximately $4 while a 2-pack of GE 15-watt CFL bulbs (equivalent to a 60-watt regular incandescent bulb) costs approximately $13. While it’s clearly obvious that regular incandescent bulbs are inexpensive, the typical lifespan is around 1,000 hours versus an average lifespan ranging between 1,200 to 20,000 hours for CFL bulbs.

Savings

Using 2/3 less energy than a regular incandescent light bulb and lasting up to 10 times as longer, replacing your average 60-watt regular incandescent bulb with a 15-watt CFL can save you at least $30 in energy costs over the lifespan of the bulb. On average, you’ll save approximately $6 per year per bulb. Just think of the savings if you switch all of your regular incandescent bulbs to CFL bulbs!

Questions? Feel free to ask.

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