Do Compact Florescent Bulbs Really Save $$?

Posted By on January 9, 2010

When used properly, compact florescent bulbs (CFL’s) do save energy. In fact, the EPA indicates that each bulb can save as much as $30 over its lifetime when compared to incandescent bulbs by using 75% less energy.  However, there are some things you should know before switching all of the bulbs in your home.

First off, CFL’s have different light than incandescent bulbs we’re all used to. CLF light is measured in Kelvin.  The lower the Kelvin (K) of a bulb, the more warm/ soft white the CFL’s light will emanate. The higher the K, the more white or blue the light will be.  In the 2700 K range, you’ll find CFL’s give off close to the same light as an incandescent.  In the 3500 K range, you’ll find light that is middle of the road & good for bathrooms & other home work spaces.  At the 6000 K range, you’ll find daylight levels of lighting that can seem blue when used in an improper setting.

The brightness of a light bulb is measured in lumens, not in Watts.  Because of this, you’ll want to consult the Light Output/ Lumens of a CLF, not the watts, when buying a bulb.  For instance, an incandescent bulb that has 75 Watts gives off 1,100 lumens.  To get the same output of light with a CFL bulb, you only need 18 to 25 watts. 

Another consideration before switching your bulbs to CFL’s is the location and usage of the light fixture.  CFL’s can take up to 10 minutes to reach their full light output.  Additionally, turning them on & off frequently can lead to a reduced life span of the bulb.  For this reason, you’ll want to make sure to use CFL’s only in areas when you turn lights on for a lengthened period of time (such as leaving your porch light on overnight).

One final consideration is whether or not the light switch is a dimmable switch.  While certain CFL’s may be used with dimmer switches, they are not the optimum solution.  As the switch gets dimmed, the CFL may change light shade, and will not dim all the way to 0% like incandescent bulbs will.  If you are using a CFL on a dimmer switch, you’ll need a special dimmable CFL.  Be sure to check the package before you buy.  

Disposing of CFL’s should be done at qualified recycling centers, as they do contain small amounts of mercury.  The bulbs will come with special instructions because of this, but in general they are safe to use and do not give off any mercury when they are in tact. 

For more information on CFL’s please visit the EnergyStar website at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls

Share

About the author

Carolyn Rolfes is the President of Potterhill Homes. And she's also a Rolfes - as in daughter of Dan Rolfes, the infamous Red Tag Man of Holiday Homes. So what does that say about Carolyn and who she is? Plenty. When you grow up the daughter of man who does commercials in his red underwear, you have no choice but to have a great sense of humor and humility from a very young age. Carolyn and Dan founded Potterhill Homes in 2001 and she has grown it to be one of the most successful home builders in Cincinnati. Home building is in her blood and she has a keen awareness of what consumers look for in a new home and how to deliver value at all levels. And while we don't make Carolyn dress up in green underwear for our commercials, we bet she would if we asked!

Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • Sidebar 3

    Go to Themes >> Widgets >> Sidebar 3 to add the widget of your choice or edit "main_sidebar".php.

About Potterhill Homes

Cincinnati-based Potterhill Homes is a premier builder of affordable, environmentally friendly homes in Greater Cincinnati. Our homes are built with traditional Cincinnati architectural styles and are perfect for both urban infill and suburban development. To learn more about Potterhill Homes,visit www.potterhillhomes.com.


About the authors

Carolyn Rolfes is the President of Potterhill Homes. And she's also a Rolfes - as in daughter of Dan Rolfes, the infamous Red Tag Man of Holiday Homes. So what does that say about Carolyn and who she is? Plenty. When you grow up the daughter of man who does commercials in his red underwear, you have no choice but to have a great sense of humor and humility from a very young age. Carolyn and Dan founded Potterhill Homes in 2001 and she has grown it to be one of the most successful home builders in Cincinnati. Home building is in her blood and she has a keen awareness of what consumers look for in a new home and how to deliver value at all levels. And while we don't make Carolyn dress up in green underwear for our commercials, we bet she would if we asked!