Written by April Reinhardt (last updated June 8, 2022)
A compact fluorescent light bulb, also known as a CFL, uses less energy to produce brighter light then an incandescent light bulb. Not only do they use less energy to illuminate, they last at least ten times longer than an incandescent light bulb. With those two statistics alone, you can see that it is possible to save quite a bit of money using CFLs. The US Environmental Protection Agency provides this statistic, which may put the cost savings into a better perspective; if every American home substituted just one incandescent light bulb with one CFL, we could save enough energy to light three million homes each year. That adds up to more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and preventable greenhouse gasses equivalent to the emissions of over 800,000 cars.
Some skeptics of CFLs are quick to point out that they contain harmful mercury. But the facts are that they only contain 5 milligrams of mercury each, while standard incandescent bulbs produce 13.6 milligrams of mercury each. Here are some more money-saving facts about CFLs:
Many consumers are unaware that household lighting accounts for about 15% of their family's power consumption. Switching to CFLs will save your budget money in the long run since they cost less to operate with a lower wattage, while dispensing just as much illumination. Incandescent light bulbs can waste up to 90% of their energy generating heat. Conversely, CFLs are efficient and using them is equivalent to replacing an old car that only gets 20 miles per gallon, with one that gets 100 miles per gallon.
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