What are compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and how can they help you save energy dollars? CFLs generate 70 percent less heat, use 2/3 less energy than incandescent bulbs and can save you $30 or more in energy costs during each bulb’s lifetime.

Because of their unique design, CFLs are typically guaranteed for 10,000 hours, compared with 500 to 2,000 hours for incandescent bulbs. Their longer rated life means you replace them less frequently, making them convenient for use in hard-to-reach and high-use fixtures.

This saves you time buying and replacing bulbs. In fact for each CFL you purchase, you save as many as 13 trips to buy an incandescent bulb! You can see how the savings can add up in your home with our  Lighting Calculator.

Safety First

The heat temperature of a halogen bulb can reach between 700 – 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit signaling a lot of wasted energy and money. CFLs produce about 70 percent less heat than conventional bulbs, so they’re safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling.

As with any fluorescent light, CFLs contain a small amount of mercury. By comparison, office fluorescent tubes contain 11milligrams (mg) of mercury on average while CFLs have only 4mg. Other household devices containing mercury are older thermometers, which contain about 500mg of mercury, and manually controlled (non-digital) thermostats that contain about 3000mg.

With the precaution you would use with any glass object or household-cleaning product, the small amount of mercury contained in CFLs should pose little concern. Make sure you screw in the bulb from the base, not holding the glass. If you should break a CFL, there are precautions you should take when cleaning up the area. Energy Star provides CFL clean-up information.

Free Recycling Service Available

We provide a service to members and the environment, by taking your used CFLs back for recycling. Proper recycling captures the mercury so it can be reused, rather than being dispersed into the environment. Broken CFLs can be brought to any one of the CAEC service centers in two sealed zip-top plastic bags for disposal.