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Energy Saving Light Bulbs: CFL and LED Bulbs
25% of a typical home's electricity is spent on lighting inefficient incandescent light bulbs. Each year, more and more homeowners are choosing to replace their incandescent bulbs with more efficient bulbs. Two of the most efficient energy saving light bulbs used in homes are CFL (compact fluorescent) and LED (light emitting diode) bulbs. Both of these bulb types have become more popular as home owners realize the great energy saving benefits. While CFL and LED cost more than the conventional incandescent bulbs, they prove to last much longer. You won't need to replace CFL and LED bulbs as often as incandescent bulbs.
CFL bulbs are compact fluorescent bulbs that have a twisting shape appearance. They are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs because they produce less heat and last longer. They use 1/3 the electricity and last up to 10 times as long as incandescent bulbs. For example, one, 18 watt CFL in place of one, 75 watt incandescent bulb, will save about 570 Kilowatts (kWh). The average cost of electricity per kWh is 8 cents per kWh. This would yield about a $45 savings for just one bulb (Eartheasy.com). Other advantages of using CFL bulbs include that they help reduce air and water pollution by producing less carbon dioxide (CO2). Replacing one incandescent bulb with a CFL can prevent as much as 450 lb. of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. CFL's provide a higher quality light compared to the bright white light of incandescent bulbs.
Some homeowners fear using CFL bulbs because they contain small amounts of mercury. Electrical safety experts believe that the mercury in a CFL is not dangerous. The only danger associated with a CFL bulb is if it breaks and is not cleaned up and disposed of promptly and properly. Proper clean up consists of sweeping up the glass from the bulb (do not vacuum) and disposing it in regular trash.
LED (light emitting diode) bulbs are used in lamps, small lighting fixtures and for Christmas lights. They are also used in small electronics, such as DVD players, as well as in tiny flashlights. Nowadays, LED bulbs are being used for more residential lighting applications, such as under-cabinet lighting, in recessed lighting fixtures and for landscape lighting applications. LED bulbs have an extremely long lifetime. They can last between 50,000 to 60,000 hours. This is more than four times longer than CFL bulbs. LED bulbs use only 2-10 watts of electricity (1/3 to 1/30 of incandescent or CFL bulbs). As with CFL bulbs, LED's don't produce heat. According to Eartheasy.com, "LEDs produce 3.4 BTU's/hour, compared to 85 for incandescent bulbs." In 2009, the first LED-based replacements for a traditional light bulb were made available to the public. These bulbs give off an amount of light equivalent to a 40-watt incandescent bulb. Most homeowners use 65 watt bulbs and higher. However, the extremely long lifespan of LED bulbs has made them into a popular choice.