Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) are energy-efficient light bulbs that use a fraction of the energy required by standard incandescent bulbs. If every light bulb in a home were replaced with a CFL bulb, the energy bill could be reduced by as much as 75 percent.

A CFL bulb provides more light at a lower wattage. For example, a 100-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced by a 25-watt CFL bulb for the same amount of light. Consumers can get conversion charts to determine which CFL bulb to purchase for the different areas in their homes. Some older light fixtures may not fit CFL bulbs, but these fixtures can inexpensively and easily be replaced.

There are also dimmer fixtures and three-way fixtures available for CFL bulbs. Initially, CFL bulbs cost more than incandescent bulbs, but they last up to 15 times longer and, with the energy savings, the extra cost is soon recovered. It can save more than five times the cost of the CFL in energy saving during its lifetime. Some power companies offer rebates to customers who purchase CFL bulbs.

Compact fluorescent bulbs work by electricity heating mercury and argon vapor. This causes the phosphor coating of the bulb to glow. This is where the energy is saved, because this process takes much less electricity than it takes to heat the filament in an incandescent bulb. The color of visible light emitted from CFLs is rated by some sources as the best ‘soft white’ light similar to standard incandescent lamps.

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Compact Fluorescent Lamps