Benefits of using CFL Lightbulbs

I spoke with someone the other day in a store who insisted that “those twisty bulbs don’t do any good, and don’t save any money.” As I love a good debate, I insisted on explaining every reason why CFL bulbs not only save money on your electric bill, but need to be changed less often and improve the environment through efficient operation.

Here is an overview of benefits from CFL bulbs:

Save Money: An incandescent bulb that uses 75 watts can be replaced with a CFL bulb that only uses 20 watts. The average cost of a kilowatt is 8 cents, and the average CFL bulb lasts 8000 hours. Over 8000 hours, a 75-watt incandescent bulb costs $48.00 to run, while a 20 watt CFL (putting out the same amount of light) comes in at nearly a quarter of the cost at $12.80! That is a savings of $35.00 over the life of the light bulb.

Less Energy: Replacing one incandescent bulb with one CFL bulb keeps 450 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere over the life of the bulb. If everyone in America used energy-efficient lighting, we could retire 90 average-sized power plants, reducing CO2 emissions, sulfur oxide, and high-level nuclear waste.

Less Frequent Changes: The average lifetime of an incandescent light bulb is less then a year. The average lifetime of a CFL is 8 to 10 years.

Environmental Benefits

Each CFL over the course of its life saves 450 pounds of carbon from being produced. This is a powerful savings considering that the average home has between 30-50 sockets, according to the EPA. If only thirty sockets were replaced with CFLs that would be a savings of 13,500 pounds or 6.75 tons of carbon. The average small car uses 3.55 tons of carbon per year, changing your light bulbs would be like almost taking two small cars off the road for a year.

Mercury and disposal

CFLs do contain 5 milligrams of mercury according to the EPA. The mercury is used to make the CFLs more energy efficient, but can be harmful if released into the environment. CFLs actually reduce mercury because mercury is a byproduct of power generation. Since less power is needed for CFLs the total mercury is less then if an old incandescent light bulb was used.

Where to use CFLs

CFLs can be used anywhere an old fashioned incandescent light bulb is used. Special CFLs need to be used in three way lights, dimmers or outdoors. Putting a traditional CFL in these places will shorten the life of the bulb. There is some anecdotal evidence that CFLs may even explode when put in dimmer bulbs because they can not handle the energy surge.

Posted in Uncategorized by with 7 comments.


  • Anonymous says:

    excuse me,
    i’m doing a project on the CFL light bulb and i discovered that a CFL light bulb uses about 4 mg of mercury. Also, when you would have to recycle it, you would have to go to a hardware store to recycle it. By putting it in your trash bin at home, you are polluting and affecting the environment. Although people like the idea of less energy and less money, they do no realize that it contains mercury or that they would have to go to a hardware store just to recycle it.
    When a CFL breaks, the mercury vapours escape the bulb and it is not healthy for parents who are pregnant or toddlers who crawl near the area where the CFL broke.

    In my opinion, now that i learned about this, i don’t think that a CFL bulb is sucha great idea anymore.

  • Carl says:

    Everyone knows that the new environment friendly CFL bulbs are hazardous
    to dispose of because of their mercury content. However the rumor that
    they will explode has been contested especially by “GREEN” advocates and
    government agencies promoting conversion to CFL from Edison type

    Well, I can tell you from personnel experience that they do explode and
    with enough force to cause bodily harm.

    About 30 years ago I installed a large military (Navy) spec cast aluminum
    lamp (8 in. dia.) on my property to illuminate the pathway to the shore.
    It has operated since the late ’70 in the same position utilizing a 300
    watt incandescent bulb up until about two years ago when I replaced this
    high wattage bulb with a large CFL that provided about the same luminance
    (3900) consuming only 65 watts.

    Last night the CFL exploded tearing apart the cast fixture made of quarter
    inch cast aluminum and glass lens. If someone had been standing on the
    nearby stairs they could have been injured.

    I am fortunate because I have an available replacement lamp in storage, so
    so you can see before and after explosion.

    Will I purchase more CFLs . . . . NO! I will only consider LEDs regardless
    of the current insane expense.

  • awarenessartist says:

    That’s incredible. Very sorry to hear that happened!
    LEDs are a good alternative.

  • Marvin says:

    Thanks for your comment. What do you do with LED bulbs

  • bob says:

    i really like using them thy are sooo easy

  • Marvin says:

    Thanks for your input. Share our web site with others.

  • Marvin says:

    Thank you. Share our web site with others.

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