CFLs – Saving Both Electricity and Money


Two major issues are often in the forefront of our minds – the economy and theenvironment – especially concerning the use of fossil fuels. As an electrician in West Palm Beach FL, I can tell you that our Department of Water and Power gets over 60% of its electricity from fossil fuels, especially from coal. That’s only slightly below the U.S. average of 65%. You can save money, electricity, and ultimately take small steps toward reducing fossil fuel use simply by using CFL bulbs. CFLs are those new, small fluorescent light bulbs (kind of like a glass spiral shaped liked a bulb) which screw into regular light fixtures. It helps save money and electricity when you replace your incandescent (regular) light bulbs with CFLs.

CFL stands for “Compact Fluorescent Lamp.” They’re more compact than the long fluorescent tubes of yesterday. They’re lamps, which is electrician-speak for “light bulb.” They are green and smart — they only use 25% of the energy that traditional incandescent lights use – that’s a 75% savings in energy over regular light bulbs.

Using CFLs – A Great Way to Save on Electricity and Money

Even though they cost more than a regular incandescent bulb, they last about 13 times longer. So even though each CFL costs more per bulb (about $4 for a CFL), they will also save you about $4 per bulb as you won’t have to replace them so often. It’s basically a wash for you in initial outlay, but your electric bill will show more significant savings.

Lighting is about 20% of your monthly electric bill, meaning $20 of every $100. Because CFLs use one-quarter of the electricity of a regular incandescent, if you replace all the bulbs in your house with CFLs, you’ll save about $15 of that $20. That means the $20 of your $100 electric bill will be reduced to $5. That means $60 a year versus $240 on lights. That’s big.

A More User Friendly Fluorescent Bulb

CFLs are green, not blue. Many people dislike the cold light of the old-fashioned long fluorescent tubes. CFLs can create all different colors of light, including warm tones. A recent study by the magazine Popular Mechanics found that when people were exposed to the light of both CFLs and regular fluorescent lights, they tended to prefer the light of the CFLs. The new compact bulbs also don’t buzz like the long tubes did.

The Only Downside

CFLs have one downside — they each contain a small amount of the toxin, mercury. If a bulb breaks, you’ll have to be careful to not touch the pieces, but to clean every last bit of it up. If there is a pregnant woman in the house, you may want to hire a West Palm Beach electrician for the cleanup. Spent bulbs must be recycled or disposed of just as you would paint or other hazardous waste. However, they’re so long-lasting that this will come up more on the order of years, rather than months. The bulbs are hardier than the average thin glass incandescent bulb, so barring it crashing down onto a tile floor, breaking hazard should be fairly minimal.

Your First Step towards Energy and Money Savings

Now that you have a basic understanding of CFLs, start simple and small. The next time you go to the store, pick up a four-pack of CFLs; choose four lights in your home or business that you use often and replace the regular bulbs with your new CFLs. In my home, I started with the bulbs in our outdoor flood lights.  If reach is a problem for you, or if you want to replace all your bulbs at once, you can search online for electrician West Palm Beach FL to help you replace the bulbs. Pick up a four-pack of CFLs today and help Florida and the U.S. cut down on fossil fuels while saving on your electric bill.