Monday, April 7, 2008

What's a CFL and How Can it Help You?

First of all, if you have never heard of a CFL, the acronym stands for Compact Fluorescent Light, and is commonly used when referring to a light bulb. These days, you probably hear everyone jabbering about switching to CFLs from traditional incandescent light bulb. But you may be asking yourself, why should I?

Here are 6 questions that should help you understand why using CFLs is in your best interest...

Q1: A 15-watt CFL replaces what wattage incandescent bulb?
a. 6o watt
b. 75 watt
c. 100 watt

Q2: CFLs last how much longer than incandescent bulbs?
a. 4 times longer
b. 6 times longer
c. 10 times longer

Q3: CFLs are available in...
a. dimmable
b. three-way
c. frosted
d. all of the above

Q4: CFL bulbs can heat up to 115 degrees F, whereas an incandescent bulb heats to over
a. 150 degrees
b. 200 degrees
c. 500 degrees

Q5: How much money could you save in one year if you replaced just four of your most used incandescent bulbs with CFLs?
a. $28
b. $30
c. $35

Q6: Pin-based, plug-in CFLs can be used in decorative lighting fixtures such as...
a. desk lamps, ceiling fans
b. table and floor lamps
c. all of the above

Did any of those questions make you think...hmm? Here is a simple fact that you have probably heard on a radio or TV commercial, but nevertheless, it is a powerful fact. Did you know that if every household in America replaced just one incandescent bulb with a qualified CFL, it would prevent pollution equal to removing 1 million cars from the road!

Okay, I didn't ever realize that light bulbs cause pollution! (I know, sometimes I can be so dense.)

But the CFL is not perfect. It does contain mercury, which many of you can remember your OB/GYN telling you to avoid when you were pregnant. And even though fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, using them contributes less mercury to the environment than using regular incandescent bulbs. That's because they use less electricity — and coal-fired power plants are the biggest source of mercury emissions in the air.

So, when you are replacing a CFL, do not throw it in the trash, recycle it. Some curbside recycling pick-ups do not allow CFLs, so you may need to do some research and take them to a hazardous-waste collection day or a special facility. (Luckily, since these bulbs last so long, it will be quite a while before you have to recycle them anyway!)

It is simple...from a money standpoint, from an energy standpoint, from an ease of use standpoint, CFLs are the way to go. I am not trying to go all "Al Gore" on you or anything, but the next time you have to pick up a light bulb, think about buying a CFL. 5, 10, and 20 years from now, you will be glad you did!

Answers: Q1=b, 2=c, 3=d, 4=a, 5=c, 6=c

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I do have to say that CFL's are great -- we used to have to replace our outside lights every month and since using CFL's we haven't had to replace them in the three months that we started using them!! I feel even better now that you just told me how much I am helping the environment! Thanks!

Amy-

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