What is the difference in CFL bulbs and incandescent bulbs?

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are low-energy alternatives to incandescent light bulbs that can save money in energy and replacement costs. Typical CFLs last about ten times as long as incandescent – or “regular” – light bulbs and use about 25 percent of the energy. They produce light from glowing gases, as opposed to the filament used in regular bulbs. The filaments in regular incandescent bulbs eventually burn out. These light bulbs are very inexpensive and last about 1,000 hours.

CFLs cost about five times more than regular light bulbs, but they last ten to twenty times longer. This makes them more cost-efficient for replacement over the long run. CFLs are also much more energy efficient than regular bulbs, which makes them a much more logical choice for saving energy and money.

Regular light bulbs can be thrown out in regular household trash in most regions, but CFLs contain a small amount of toxic mercury and should be turned into a recycling center whenever possible. If you break a CFL in your home, the Environmental Protection Agency advises that you open doors and windows and leave the room immediately. This will allow the toxic mercury vapor to dissipate before you clean up the mess.

CFLs come in a variety of sizes so be sure to find the right one, and let the energy saving begin!

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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