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Learn about CFL Lighting

CFL Lighting

Light from a compact fluorescent light (CFL), similar to a fluorescent tube, is created by an electrical current conducted through an inert gas that produces invisible ultraviolet light. This ultraviolet light interacts with a blend of phosphors coating the inside surface that efficiently converts it to useful white light. CFLs are a long-time standard for energy efficiency, using 75% less energy and lasting 6-15 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Even more efficient LED light bulbs are now displacing CFLs.

Look for the Energy star label - these bulbs have higher quality in terms of color, light output and distribution. Look for lumens, not watts. Lumens are a measure of how much light the bulb produces. Guide for replacing incandescent bulbs:

Also, look for the light color you want. This is measured on a temperature scale referred to as Kelvin (K) from warm (2200K to 3000K) to cool (3500K to 4100K) to daylight (5000K to 6500K).

Finally, if you are using it on a dimmer switch, check the label to make sure you get a 'dimmable' CFL bulb; otherwise, it will blink or burn out.

CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, so they should always be recycled at proper facilities.

CFL lighting saves energy compared to incandescent lights. A CFL uses only 23W to provide the equivalent light output (1600 lumens) as a 100W incandescent bulb.

The classic spiral CFL light bulb was invented in 1976 by Edward E. Hammer, with General Electric, to save energy in response to the oil crisis at that time. It was not brought into production until years later, due to the cost of getting a factory going.