Change to flouresent light bulbs because incandescent bulbs lighten your wallet
Get ten dimes. Throw nine out the window.
That's just what you may be doing if you rely on incandescent bulbs to light your home or business.
Incandescent bulbs (the common light bulb) use electricity passing through a metal filament to create light. They're not very efficient at what they do; only ten percent of the electricity they consume ends up as light. The other 90 percent is wasted as heat. In the winter, it's an expensive way to warm your home; in the summer it makes the air conditioner run longer.
The average residential Walton EMC member spends five to ten percent of their electric bill for lighting, or about $60 to $120 a year. The figure may be much higher for businesses. That means the average homeowner could waste $108 every year by using incandescent bulbs.
Incandescent bulbs have more disadvantages. First, they have relatively short lives. The average 60-watt bulb is rated to burn only 750 to 1,000 hours. If the light burns 24 hours a day, it could go out in just over a month. Also, as incandescent bulbs near the end of their life, light output decreases as much as 20 percent.
There's a way to save most of those nine dimes and make life easier at the same time; use compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs.
CF bulbs are miniature versions of the larger fluorescent bulbs we're all familiar with. Fluorescent bulbs give off light when an electric current excites electrons as it passes through the gas inside. CF bulbs have a similar tube-type bulb and ballast in one small unit. And CF bulbs are getting smaller every day.
Years ago, it was quite a chore to find one that would fit a standard table lamp. The harp (the wire that holds the shade) was usually too narrow to accommodate a CF bulb. Now with new sub-compact fluorescents measuring about the same size as a standard incandescent, practically any lighting fixture will accept a CF bulb. Even fancy torchieres and ceiling fans are being made to utilize CF bulbs.
Today's CF bulbs put off light that matches incandescents in brightness, quality and color rendition. Look for a color rendering index (CRI) on CF bulbs of 80 or higher.
CF bulbs last a long time with an average life of 10,000 hours. That's ten times longer than the ordinary incandescent and very handy if you have bulbs in hard-to-reach places.
Here's the best part. CF bulbs use only one-third to one-fourth the energy of a common light bulb. That saves money (see the chart) and the environment. By replacing just one regular bulb with a CF bulb, you've avoided the use of 500 pounds of coal.
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Mark Harris contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.discount-light-bulbs.com.
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