Saving Money on Lighting

Most people think if you put a Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) into a light fixture, you will automatically save money. This is not true! And I'm here to tell you why.

CFLs are the screw-in fluorescent lights. They can screw into a regular lightbulb base, and they work just like a fluorescent light. That is, they use a burst of energy when you first turn them on, so you don't start saving money until they have been on for 15 minutes. But after they are turned on, they start daintily sipping electricity. What this means is you should only use CFLs (or any fluorescent) in an area where the lights are on for 15 minutes or more. Good places for CFLs are: living rooms, kitchens, porch lights, yard lights. Bad places, where lights are turned on for a short time then turned off are: bathrooms, bedrooms and halls. Know where CFLs work best is the key to saving money.

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By Chuck R. from Grand Rapids, MI

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January 22, 20070 found this helpful

This isn't printed on the packaging or part of their 'advertisements'. Ummm. :)

Thank you for the tip Chuck.

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January 22, 20070 found this helpful

Thanks Chuck!

I didn't know that!

Joseph

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January 23, 20070 found this helpful

Ive never heard that either and I would like to know where you got the information. (I double check everything before I "use" it)

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January 23, 20070 found this helpful

When I was in school a teacher said it was cheaper to leave the classroom lights on all day than to turn them off between classes. It is good to know the 'why' behind this. Thank you.

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January 23, 20070 found this helpful

Great tip. Thanks for the info.

Anna, NYC

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January 24, 20070 found this helpful

This is common knowledge among good electricans but hardly anyone else knows it. I will look for a website which talks about this though.

Don Klipstein is the lighting guru. He knows very much about many types of lights. His web page is: http://members.misty.com/don//light.html

Flourescent lamps are here: http://members.misty.com/don//f-lamp.html

A quote from the above page:

"When the lamp is off, the mercury/gas mixture is non-conductive. When power is first applied, a high voltage (several hundred volts) is needed to initiate the discharge. However, once this takes place, a much lower voltage - usually under 100 V for tubes under 30 watts, 100 to 175 volts for 30 watts or more - is needed to maintain it."

What this means: a lot of energy is required to start the light, but very little is required to keep it lit.

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January 24, 20070 found this helpful

this isn't true according to 'a popular science based show on the discovery channel'. when tested they found that to reach its max wattage and then level off was barely a blink of an eye.

Incandescent: 0.36 seconds

CFL: 0.015 seconds

Halogen: .51 seconds

LED: 1.28 seconds

Fluorescent: 23.3 seconds

so in otherwords, it only takes 0.015 seconds for a cfl to max out its startup energy.

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April 29, 20080 found this helpful

"This isn't printed on the packaging or part of their 'advertisements'."

Of course it isn't. If it was, it would cause a few people to be confused and not buy the bulb. The CFL companies want to milk the "green cow" for all it's worth. But you have to know how CFL's work to get the most from them.

"When I was in school a teacher said it was cheaper to leave the classroom lights on all day than to turn them off between classes."

Your teacher was correct. Even though we have CFLs that are "instant start" (they have electronic ballasts) they still use a large amount of energy to start up.

Just remember this: "In 15 minutes honey, we'll start saving money."

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