How to Pick a CFL Energy Efficient Bulbs

How to Pick a CFL Energy Efficient Bulbs

Here’s how to make the switch:

Start with one bulb. Or Two.

For your first compact fluorescent purchase, buy just one or two bulbs to make sure that they throw the kind of light you want. Pick a lamp or ceiling fixture to start your replacement journey and evaluate the light the bulb or bulbs give before you buy replacements for your whole house. When you pick your test site, do not pick a fixture that is recessed and enclosed, on a dimmer, outside or exposed to moisture.

Evaluate your test bulbs

Do you like the light the bulbs give out? Are they bright enough and the right color? Even today, some brands of 60-watt equivalent CFLs still do not seem to give off as much light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb. You may need to replace 60-watt bulbs with two 75-watt equivalents in some ceiling fixtures to get the light you want. Or you may need to try a brighter white light. If the first bulb you use in your test site is not bright enough where you were trying it, just move it to a lesser-used closet or hall fixture and try another CFL in your test space. Also remember that some CFLs still take a minute or two to «warm up.» The bulb’s light may get brighter after it is on a minute or two.

Make a list

Count the number and types of bulbs in and around your home. You’ll be surprised at how many light bulbs you have in your house. If you count over 70, that won’t be at all unusual. You may also be surprised at the variety of bulbs. 60-watt, 100-watt, three-way, candle tip, globe and reflector. Also pay attention to the light fixtures. Clever use of reflectors, and directional lamps to get the light where you need it can save you another 50 percent energy cost and improve your comfort! Well thought out use of efficient lights can thus reduce electricity needs up to 8 times.

Replace the lights you use most often first

You’ll save more money immediately that way. As long as you can use CFLs in them, start with your most used fixtures. Kitchen lights, the reading lamp by your bed, the light by the doggie door you keep on all night for Buddy whichever switches you are hitting the most or keep on all the time are the first fixtures to target for the first bulb replacements. Make a list. Note down the wattage, size and shape of bulb you need and the type of light you might want for those areas. Then go buy a few bulbs!

Keep replacing bulbs until you have CFLs in every fixture that will take them

If you don’t like a bulb in one place, try it in another! If you don’t find the shape or application specific bulb you need (like for outdoor use in moist areas) on the Bulbs.com website, give us a call at (888) 455-2800 and a Bulbs.com Lighting Specialist will help.

Spend the money upfront

You have to take a deep breath, swallow hard and make a commitment to buying some of these bulbs because, for example, those 8 reflector bulbs in your kitchen track lighting may cost you $40 to replace but you know that the savings will make up for the expense very quickly. Also remember that as more people buy CFLs, prices will go down and availability of unusual bulbs will go up.

How to Pick a CFL Energy Efficient Bulbs

Making some lighting changes

As you replace traditional bulbs with CFLs, think about changing out enclosed fixtures that won’t take CFLs and dimmer switches that take more expensive and hard- to- find dimmable CFLs. You may not want to do it now but you can plan for the future.

Tell your neighbors about your savings and trade CFL replacement tips

You may be surprised to find that they’ve already replaced all of their incandescent bulbs too, or that they found a bulb for that fixture you all have in your entryways.

Know your watts and lumens (light output)

We are accustomed to choosing bulbs by how much electricity they use. For example, a 40-watt incandescent bulb is on the dim side and uses less power, while a 100-watt bulb is bright and uses a lot of juice. CFL bulbs have much lower wattage numbers than their incandescent cousins, but don’t let that fool you. CFLs provide much more light at a fraction of the wattage of traditional bulbs. Because of this, CFLs are often categorized by lumens. Lumens measure the amount of light a bulb gives off, making this measure a more accurate way to tell how bright the new bulbs are in comparison to the incandescent bulbs.


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