The fluorescent bulbs of today are a far cry from those loudly buzzing, sterile white tubes seen in offices and hospitals in the 80’s. Now available in a wide range of styles and “color temperatures,” eco-friendly compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are designed for the home and screw into many of the medium socket and candelabra lamps sold on our site. Use them in ceiling fixtures, sconces, chandeliers and other light fixtures.

Very simply put, CFLs generate light when electrons from the bulb’s ballast collide with mercury vapor throughout the bulb’s length, which in turn stimulates a phosphor coating on the inside of the glass. The result is a steady luminescence that is also incredibly energy-efficient, because more energy is spent on producing light (measured in lumens) and less is wasted on producing heat! This is why CFLs stay cooler to the touch than an incandescent bulb, and why a low-watt CFL brightens a room with the same intensity of a high watt incandescent bulb. Incandescent bulbs and their CFL equivalent are as follows:

60 Watts=13-18 Watts CFL
75 Watts=18-22 Watts CFL
100 Watts=23-28 Watts CFL
150 Watts=30-38 Watts CFL

But it gets even better! Because compact fluorescent lamps use about 66% less energy than incandescent bulbs for the same amount of light, you can save up to $45 dollars a year when you choose an 18 watt CFL over a 75 watt incandescent bulb. Within the first 500 hours of use, your bulb has made up for it’s initially higher price. What’s more, compact fluorescent bulbs last an average of 10 to 15 times longer than a standard filament bulb, putting an end to chronic bulb replacement and halting the surge of burnt out bulbs entering our landfills. And since CFL’s expend less energy, there is less demand on electric power plants that burn polluting fossil fuels. Amazingly, swapping out ONE incandescent bulb with a CFL will keep half a ton of CO2 out of the air for the CFL’s lifetime! You can make a positive impact on the environment simply by screwing in a CFL.

Once a CFL is spent, it’s legal to throw it in the trash; however, these energy-efficient bulbs do contain trace amounts of mercury vapor. If they are sent to an incinerator, this mercury could enter the atmosphere. Instead, collect your CFLs for your community household hazardous waste collection for treatment and recycling; if a bulb breaks, take care not to inhale the vapor and promptly wipe up pieces with a wet rag. Toss everything, including the rag, into a plastic bag for proper disposal. It’s important to note that the overall benefits of a CFL’s energy-saving operation far outweigh any risk trace amounts of mercury vapor in the bulb may pose to landfills.