Myths can arrive from a variety of places and sources but one thing we like to do is bust those myths especially about light bulbs. Like the show MythBusters, I’m here to shatter the accusations that some have about CFL’s.
Before we go any further let’s begin with what a CFL means. CFL stands for Compact Fluorescent Lamp , it’s an energy-saving light and compact fluorescent tube designed to replace an incandescent lamp. Since their inception, myths have developed concerning these Compact Fluorescent Lamps and while some are based on fact, technology advancements or personal preference some of the most prevalent myths are described in this video.
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Myth 1 – CFLs produce bad coloring.
- Like fluorescent lamps, CFLs are sold in various colors, meaning that some will render skin colors very poorly.
Solution: Look for mention of color temperatures on packaging or labels– soft white or daylight, in order to make you and the areas around depicted in the best coloring.
Myth 2 – CFLs do not work on dimmers.
- When CFLs were first created they were not compatible with dimmers. Today however, technology has advanced to allow compatibility with dimmers.
Solution: Look for CFLs labeled “dimmable” or marked with similar language on the lamp and/or packaging.
Myth 3 – CFLs are made with mercury which is bad for people and the environment.
- All CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury; typically about 5 mg. Typical mercury-based fever thermometers contain 0.5 to 3 grams of mercury, which is 100 to 600 times as much mercury as a CFL.
- Even when broken, it would take weeks for the amount of mercury vapor in the room to reach hazardous levels. Also, if there were a crack in the glass of a CFL, it would cease to work.
Solution: Researchers have found that even if left unattended for 24 hours, a broken bulb will release from 0.4 to 0.7 milligrams of mercury. The researchers found that it would take weeks for the amount of mercury vapor in the room to reach levels that would be hazardous to a child. CFLs also require special disposal, check out our earlier post on How to Recycle CFLs and browse www.epa.gov to find a recycling location near you to properly dispose of your CFL bulbs.
Myth 4 – CFLs are expensive.
- By sticking with old incandescent bulbs consumers may waste far more money over the long run in either replacements and/or energy bill costs.
Solution: CFLs use far less electricity and last longer; someone who switches will save $30 to $50 on their electric bill over the bulbs six-to-ten year lifespan…sometimes more.
Myth 5 – CFLs make the room colder.
- Removing incandescent bulbs will make the room “cooler” because the traditional bulbs create and use heat, which helps provide warmth. Incandescent bulbs generate so much heat that only 10% of their energy is used to produce light.
Solution: You may need to invest in a blanket or turn up the heat, but the lifespan and energy savings outweigh the inefficiency of incandescent bulbs.
Myth 6 – Like potato peels, you can toss old CFLs in the garbage.
- CFL bulbs require special recycling, to remove and reuse the mercury, and can’t simply be tossed in with the garbage or glass recyclables.
Solution: Check out www.epa.gov to find out how and where to recycle old bulbs.
Myth 7 – CFLs tend to burnout quickly.
- Energy Star bulbs typically come with a guaranteed life span. A bulb can sometimes burn out early for several reasons.
1. The bulb was used in the wrong fixture.
2. The wattage was too high.
3. Bad luck. Like many things, millions are made and few might be faulty.
Solution: Switch to TCP CFLs which come with a 9 year warranty* based on an average use of three hours per day.
Myth 8 – 3-way CFLs are not available.
- At first, 3-way CFLs were not engineered. Today, 3-way CFLs are available and provide equivalent performance so the traditional 3-way incandescent lamps.
Solution: Check the label or packaging which should state language similar to “3-way”.
Now that you have gained the knowledge about CFLs, we recommend you try switching from your incandescent bulbs to TCP products. You can find TCP CFLs at local retailers or purchase online from Amazon and Home Depot.
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