CFL Buying Guide
What You Need To Know To Make The Right Decisions About Buying Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs Today!
1. Estimate Your Savings. Lighting accounts for around 20% of electricity use according to ENERGY STAR and up to 25% in other estimates. Look at your recent electric bills. Multiply the bill by 10%. You can probably SAVE this much EACH MONTH by replacing the incandescent bulbs you use most with CFLs. Double this amount to estimate your potential savings after you convert all of your lights to CFLs. The sooner you try it, the sooner you lower your energy costs, the more money you'll save, and the bigger positive impact you'll have on the environment.
2. Choose Which Bulbs to Replace. CFL bulbs come in all shapes and sizes. They can be used in almost every light socket in your house. Choose the bulbs you use most often, for at least 15 minutes at a time or several hours a day. The best areas of your home are usually:
Our shopping pages make it easy for you to find the right bulbs. If you're still not sure about switching to CFLs? Start With One Room and One Bulb. You'll quickly be convinced about the quality of the light. And the more bulbs you switch to CFLs the more you'll save on your electric bill.
3. Light Color. Make sure it is the kind or color of light you want. To maintain a warm light often associated with incandescents, select a bulb with a color temperature between 2650 and 2850 degrees Kelvin or labeled "warm white" or "soft white." (See color & temperature for more information)
Example of Light From a 2700Kelvin CFL
Example of Light From a 3500Kelvin CFL
These pictures are from ENERGY STAR where you can find more information on CFLs and light.
4. Watts. Energy-saving CFLs provide roughly four times as much light per watt as incandescent bulbs. So select a CFL whose wattage is one-quarter of the bulb you are replacing. For example, a 15 watt CFL replaces a 60 watt incandescent. (more on watts & lumens) If you want more light in a given fixture than you have now, simply choose more watts for your CFL bulb. You'll still be using less energy while getting more light.
5. Select the right size and shape. CFL bulbs used to be bigger than standard incandescent bulbs. We carry the latest Westinghouse Lighting energy-saving CFLs. Most are mini-twists that fit almost all lighting fixtures. These lights are guaranteed not to buzz or hum as some of the older CFLs did. Our product information includes detailed size specs. Inspect the area where the bulb will go to ensure it can accommodate the new CFL. We make it easy to find the right bulbs for each application in your home, home office, or small business.
6. Dimmers and 3-Way Bulbs. Only CFL's specifically designed for dimmers can be used with a dimmer switch. Ditto 3-ways. Make sure the product information says the bulb works with dimmers or 3-way switches. You can find a 3-way bulb here.
7. Quality Comparison. Popular Mechanics recently conducted tests of compact fluorescent bulbs compared to a traditional incandescent bulb. The high quality of today's CFLs is summarized here:
The results surprised us. Even though the incandescent bulb measured slightly brighter than the equivalent CFLs, our subjects didn't see any dramatic difference in brightness. And here was the real shocker: When it came to the overall quality of the light, all the CFLs scored higher than our incandescent control bulb. In other words, the new fluorescent bulbs aren't just better for both your wallet and the environment, they produce better light.
You can read the entire article here.
8. CFL Disposal - Closing the loop. CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury and should be disposed of properly, ideally recycled. Home Depot and Ikea will recycle CFLs for free. Visit the Earth911 or EPA sites for information on recycling locations.