How to Save Money Using Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

How can you save money on your home electric bill and help the environment through energy efficiency as well? Here are some easy steps to help get you started.


  1. Image titled Save Money Using Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs Step 1
    Change your light bulbs. It’s that easy. Instead of replacing your burned-out 60-watt incandescent bulb with a new one, replace it with a 13 watt Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL). Light output is measured in lumens. A standard 60-watt bulb puts out about 800 lumens; so does a 13-watt CFL. So instead of paying for 60 watts of electricity, you only pay for 13 watts to get the same amount of light, a savings of 78%. But kept in mind that, if used in winter , and your house is heated with electricity, it won't change anything because this 47w lost would simply have heated your house.
  2. Image titled Save Money Using Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs Step 2
    Be prepared for more cost to start with but savings in the long term. Good quality Compact Fluorescent Lamps do cost more initially, a lot more, but the energy savings mount up pretty quickly and cover the higher initial cost. They last a lot longer too; a standard bulb has an average lifetime of about 1,000 hours while good quality CFL’s last between 7,000-10,000 hours.
  3. Image titled Save Money Using Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs Step 3
    Replace existing light bulbs where possible. So where can you use these CFL bulbs? Just about everywhere except in circuits with a dimmer switch. If you use them as porch lights, you will notice they are initially very dim in cold weather, gradually brightening as they warm up. The first CFL’s on the market were quite bulky and wouldn’t fit in most lamp applications but the new very compact CFL’s will fit everywhere.
  4. Image titled Save Money Using Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs Step 4
    Address concerns you might have about the new light bulbs. Let’s deal with the other objections too. Many people are concerned about the Fluorescent flicker that we have all observed in standard Fluorescent lighting. That is not a problem with CFL’s. Another common objection is light color. Standard Fluorescent fixtures had a bad reputation for putting out a harsh blue-white light that distorted complexion colors. Changing the coatings of the tubes so that they put out more yellow-white light, a natural color, has solved that problem. The new CFL’s also produce a more natural yellow-white lighting so you can use them in the bathroom over the vanity mirror.
  5. Image titled Save Money Using Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs Step 5
    Get special bulbs for visually exposed areas. Using CFL’s in bathroom fixtures where the bulb is exposed is problematic for many who object to the spiral look of the exposed bulbs. The industry foresaw that objection and now offer a 7-watt CFL with an opaque glass cover that mimics the look of standard vanity bulbs.
  6. Image titled Save Money Using Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs Step 6
    Add up the savings. So how much can you save, really? That is a very difficult question to answer because you might have more lights on than another person - for instance, if you suffer from light deprivation in a long dark winter. All in all, your may save up to about $30 a month on a power bill just by switching to CFL’s.


  • Changing all of your light bulbs at once is very expensive. Plan to replace six at a time. The first six should be in those fixtures you use the most, thus providing immediate savings on your power bill. Or, of course, you can just replace them as they go out.


  • Fluorescent lighting can worsen some medical problems. For example, it can trigger seizures, migraines, regular headaches, vertigo related to heart disease, rashes related to Lupus, worsen fatigue, and may even be involved in some learning disabilities. There are fifteen conditions listed in the Job Accommodation Network that should be accommodated by the reduction of this type of lighting. Although it strobes faster than you can perceive, it still causes firing of optical nerves. It should be excluded from building codes because it causes issues of inaccessibility for many individuals with disabilities, sometimes without their awareness.
  • You may find a warning not to use these lamps in enclosed fixtures, such as overhead light fixtures. The reason is that these lamps do produce some heat, not nearly as much as standard incandescent lamps, but enough heat to warm up an enclosed space. This makes them burn brighter and may lead to their premature failure. If you want to use a CFL in an enclosed fixture, look for a bulb specifically designed for use in enclosed locations. More are appearing on the market recently.
  • Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, so if a bulb breaks in your home follow proper mercury cleanup procedures. Starting with opening windows and breathing through a thick cloth.

Article Info

Categories: Environmental Awareness | Lighting and Light Switches