A compact fluorescent lamp (CFL; also called compact fluorescent light, energy-saving light, and compact fluorescent tube) is a fluorescent lamp designed to replace an incandescent lamp; some types fit into light fixtures formerly used for incandescent lamps.
Compared to general-service incandescent lamps giving the same amount of visible light, CFLs use less power and have a longer rated life. Typically they use only 20% to 25% as much energy. The average rated life of a CFL is 8 to 15 times that of incandescent. CFLs typically have a rated lifespan of 6,000 to 15,000 hours, whereas incandescent lamps are usually manufactured to have a lifespan of 750 hours or 1,000 hours.
While a CFL has a higher purchase price than an incandescent lamp, it can save over five times its purchase price in electricity costs over the lamp’s lifetime. Also lighting accounts for approximately 9% of household electricity usage in the United States, widespread use of CFLs could save nearly this same amount of electricity and you could similarly have this much of a reduction in your electric bill.
If a building’s indoor incandescent lamps are replaced by CFLs, the heat produced due to lighting is significantly reduced. In warm climates or in office or industrial buildings where air conditioning is often required, CFLs would reduce the load on the cooling system when compared to the use of incandescent lamps, resulting in more savings in electricity instead of using incandescent lamps.
Starting time – Incandescents reach full brightness a fraction of a second after being switched on, although some models take several seconds to reach their rated luminance. As of 2009, CFLs turn on within a second, but many still take time to warm up to full brightness. The light color may be slightly different immediately after being turned on. Some CFLs are marketed as “instant on” and have no noticeable warm-up period, but others can take up to a minute to reach full brightness, or longer in very cold temperatures.
Change Its different than what we are used to both in physical appearance (see bulb styles below for recent changes to this issue) and the way things look under a different type of light. We can and will however get used to these subtle differences. If it were in the reverse, i.e. we were used to CFLs and had to switch to incandescents, we would have the same issues
Rapid on and off If you turn a CFL on and off every 5 seconds, it will diminish its life. If you do that constantly the life will be about the same as an incandescent (or quite possibly the switch or your wrist will fail first).
CFL Bulb Styles
Spiral Lamps – A continuous tube in a spiral shape which has similar outside shape and light casting qualities to standard incandescent light bulbs. Spiral CFL bulbs are made in several sizes to fit most common fixtures.
Standard Lamps – CFL spiral lamps with a dome cover. Designed to give the appearance of the traditional light bulb.
Globe Lamps – Commonly used in vanity mirrors or open bulb applications. Vanities usually require multiple bulbs, which generate radiant heat. CFLs reduce this heat buildup and save energy.
Candelabra – Screw-in torpedo-shape and small-base of this bulb is designed for smaller light fixtures from chandeliers to sconces. To use a smaller candelabra-based bulb in a regular socket, you can use a socket reducer.
Triple Tube Lamps – These CFLs have more tubing in a smaller area, which generates even more light in a shorter bulb. They pack high light output into a very small space and can be used in fixtures designed for incandescent bulbs.
Flood Lamps – Designed to be ideal for recessed and track lighting fixtures indoors and outdoors. They provide diffused, soft, white light, and generate less heat than will an incandescent flood or a halogen bulb.
Lighten up your electric bill and take a budget bounce by replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs.
Don Redinius, Author – The New Era of Financial Success, Process Management for Team Members and a contributing author to Six Sigma for Dummies.