Incandescent vs Compact Fluorescent Bulbs – Which One’s Better?

In recent years, compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs have become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional incandescent bulbs.  You can actually use CFL bulbs in standard lamps that use incandescent bulbs, which is one of the unique benefits associated with their use.

There’s no need to go out and buy any special adapter or a different lamp altogether, as CFL bulbs will plug directly in and start working. Before you go jumping on the bandwagon with CFL bulbs, though, there are a few things you should know.

Incandescent Bulbs

Let’s take a look at incandescent bulbs. In short, these are traditional bulbs with a wire filament hanging in the center that’s heated with an electric current. Once the lamp is plugged in and turned on, electricity flows through the wire filament, causing it to heat up and create a bright white light.

The main benefits to using incandescent bulbs are their low cost and the quality of light that they emit. Compared to other types of lighting, incandescent bulbs are the cheapest and easiest to produce. With that said, they also use more energy than other types of lighting. Incandescent offer a warm light that gives an appealing effect.

Compact Fluorescent Lamp Bulbs

CFL bulbs are one of the newer bulb alternatives that many homeowners and consumers have begun looking towards for their lighting needs. They screw into a lamp in the same manner a traditional incandescent bulb does, and they even generate roughly the same amount of visible light. So, what’s the difference with CFL bulbs? Depending on the wattage and how frequently you use it, you can expect a CFL bulb to use about 60% less energy than an incandescent bulb. While you’ll have to initially pay more for CFL bulbs, you’ll get that money back in the form of a lower energy bulb.

Another advantage to using CFL bulbs is their long life. Certain CFL bulbs can last for over 10 years, which is much longer than incandescent bulbs. However, consumers need to be aware of the fact that CFL bulbs contain toxic mercury vapor. If you ever break or bust one of these bulbs, you’ll need to avoid the area for a few minutes to let it settle. Because they contain mercury, you’ll need to dispose of them by hauling them off to a landfill and letting the attendant know what they contain.

The quality of light emitted by the CFL has much improved over the years – and some provide a nice white light.  However, there is a slight time lag when you turn on the switch – as compared to the speed of an incandescent.






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