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Millions of us have switched to CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) in our lamps, pendants, sconces, and outdoor lights. And, for the most part, we’ve noticed a slightly lower rate on our electric bills because the 60-watt CFL bulb we put in our desk lamp only draws 14 watts of electricity. The reduction in electrical energy use is not dramatic for the typical American home because the real culprits that demand so much more electrical energy are our old and outdated refrigerator, water heater, and dryer. These appliances, as well as heat pumps and air conditioners, are responsible for our sky-high utility bills.

The savings we don’t see is that as millions of us have switched from regular incandescent bulbs to CFLs, we have significantly reduced our impact on the grid and, as a nation, have lowered the demands on our electrical services.

Introduced to the market in 1980, CFLs have improved considerably: they cost less, light instantly, don’t flicker, and give off a good white light. But to date only 5% of purchased bulbs are CFL, the rest are incandescent. CFLs remain a small niche market product and as a “green” resource their credibility is still relatively low.

Compact fluorescent lamps have freed us from our previous high demands on electrical power, but much can still be done to alleviate our high energy consumption. Converting to alternative energy resources such as solar and wind power will significantly reduce our electricity use. The more energy efficient our appliances become and the more we replace our aging appliances and HVAC systems with Energy Star qualified products, the less dependent we will be on the grid.

Everyone agrees that this would be for the better, less use, less dependency, less demand for public services, and lower energy cost for the consumer.


The typical American home has between fifty electrical outlets and an average of twenty to forty lighting sources, including lamps, sconces, ceiling fixtures, exterior and security lights, and night lights or auxiliary lights. If 110 million American homes replaced one incandescent light bulb with a CFL (compact fluorescent light), the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million people or all the homes in Delaware and Rhode Island. In terms of oil not burned or greenhouse gases not emitted into the atmosphere, one light bulb is equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off the road.

Power plants are the largest source of greenhouse gases in the United States, and half of our electricity comes from coal-fired plants. Replacing one incandescent with a CFL in 110 million homes is enough electricity saved to shut down two entire power plants, or skip building the next two.

Those of us who are visually impaired and need a better reading light than the incandescent they are using can find great visual support in replacing the incandescent with a cool spectrum CFL that emits a white light that doubles the sunlight and makes a page of a book is very white and the text very black, creating a high contrast in the reading material that will help the visually impaired in reading,


Many of us migraine sufferers claim that light from a CFL bulb can trigger a migraine reaction. Often fluorescents in general, including commercial and residential tubes, also trigger this migraine reaction. Some research is being done on the sine waves that produce the frequencies of electromagnets. Clean electricity produces smooth sine waves. Dirty electricity produces spikes in sine waves, and research shows that these spikes cause diabetics’ blood sugar to rise. Devices that measure amounts of dirty electricity show that other things in the home that generate dirty electricity are computers, printers, and monitors. We may be living in a blizzard of dirty electricity these days, and CFLs reportedly contribute to that storm of voltage power.

CFL bulbs emit ultraviolet rays, just like the sun does. In fact, so do halogen bulbs, which were regulated to be covered with a glass seal to prevent UV exposure. Lacking a glass diffuser to filter UV emission, CFLs can cause problems for those of us with UV photosensitivity, especially for people prone to skin conditions like lupus, CFLs could worsen the condition of his skin. CFLs with a glass envelope (a cover) over the rotating bulb tested negative for any UV radiation, but this information is not found on any CFL packaging, to date.

A new area of ​​research related to electromagnetic sensitivity is developing, which is the monitoring and documentation of people who have skin rashes, migraines, depressions, and fatigue due to dirty high-frequency electricity from a variety of devices in our residential. and commercial environment, including compact fluorescent lamps.

Not sure if the CFLs in your home are giving you headaches, migraines, fatigue, arthritic pain? Medical experts have advised to replace the bulbs and see if there is any difference. But, if the home has the typical electronic cluster of computer, monitor, flat screen TV, etc. It can be difficult to disease a single source like a CFL bulb.


The news that incandescent bulbs will disappear from store shelves and we will all have to use CFLs does not sit well with many of us. Many don’t like being told they can’t use incandescent bulbs anymore. The complaint is usually: “It seems that the government is trying to control everything, even what we use to light our houses!”. And because the dramatic savings from using CFLs may not be visible on the electric bill, it seems to the American householder that the removal of incandescent lamps from the market is just another ploy by the powers that be to manipulate consumers. .

There is also a dislike for compact fluorescent lamps due to certain disadvantages of their use. One is the mercury content, and in fact all fluorescent light bulbs and tubes contain a small amount of mercury (5mg or less), which is a neurotoxin. Compact fluorescent lamps contain less than 5 mg of mercury. If they break, they pose a dangerous material risk of inhaling the toxic mercury dust that coats their swirling tubes. There are no HAZMAT (hazardous materials) guidelines for incandescent lamps, but there are for compact fluorescent lamps. They should be disposed of as batteries, motor oil, etc. Broken CFLs can be disposed of responsibly at your local Home Depot store. But how many of us know that?

If disposal is not done responsibly, landfills could become contaminated with mercury, a toxic substance that can leach into roads and water sources. This buildup has been evident in our oceans as large fish are monitored and higher and higher levels of mercury are recorded in their bodies.

Lastly, CFLs cannot be used with a dimmer and although there are dimmable CFLs on the market they are more expensive than other CFLs and there is criticism that some of them dim “in steps” and do not fade or brighten like incandescent.


Therefore, someone replacing a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb with a 60-watt CFL might find the CFL to be dimmer and yellower, and therefore inferior. If they were to replace it with a different spectrum CFL, they would find that the CFL in the same wattage is actually brighter and whiter than incandescent. CFLs do not behave like incandescents in the sense that there can be (depending on the brand) an offering of three different spectrums (illuminance and color temperature) that significantly affects the brightness and color of three different bulbs of the same wattage.

There is a complaint about the look of CFLs and not everyone likes the swirled look of the bulb. Compact fluorescent lamps that look like standard incandescents are available. A glass envelope in the same shape as a standard bulb simply covers the CFL in a swirl.


Finally, to date, CFLs cannot resemble or replace small-base, clear, flame-tipped, or blunt-tipped chandelier bulbs. Although CFLs come in small, oblong-shaped bulbs (candelabras), they are simply a small, swirl-shaped bulb in a glass casing that visually duplicates a standard chandelier bulb. And, they’re not clear, why that shiny, jewel-like filament so characteristic of your standard chandelier bulb simply can’t be duplicated by a CFL. For many who want to replace this type of bulb in their chandelier, this is inconvenient. If there is any solution to this problem, it will be solved by LEDs, which can easily duplicate the base, the flame shape and the transparent glass cover.

For all the controversy CFLs have created, the millions that have been sold and are in use today and are helping us reduce our dependency on our utilities (usually last seven years).


However, the real light at the end of the network dependency tunnel will be LEDs. They’re expensive now, just like CFLs were a decade ago, and they still need to be more consumer-friendly. What is your advantage over the CFLs? They can be clear (where CFLs can’t come in a clear bulb), they can be easily dimmed (using a standard dimmer), they’re even cooler than CFLs, they use even less power (a comparable 60-watt LED uses watts as in compared to 14 watts for a CFL) and the bulb life of an LED is 35,000 hours compared to 10,000 for a CFL.

As new products are developed to alleviate our increasing reliance on our utility sources, there will undoubtedly be those who lament the impending extinction of technologically old, high-temperature, short-lived, and highly inefficient incandescents.

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