Just one bulb

October 8th, 2007


I waited in the car while my husband went to get a pipe for our dryer efficiency project (much more on that later) and he brought me back an ENERGY STAR fluorescent light bulb. He said I could write about it in my blog!

It was a nice surprise. I decided I would gradually replace each bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb. Why?

* They last for seven years with a warranty included (most brands like Sylvania offer this).

* You can replace a 60-watt incandescent bulb with a 13-watt fluorescent bulb.

* Compared to an incandescent bulb, fluorescent bulbs save money ($30 or more over a bulb’s lifetime) and electricity (use 75 percent less energy) and help eliminate waste (last 10 times longer).

* According to ENERGY STAR, if every U.S. home replaced just one bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, the energy saved would light more than 3 million homes for a year.

There aren’t very many downsides to using fluorescent bulbs, but you do have to dispose of them properly. They contain mercury. Many local facilities provide disposal. You can visit www.lamprecycle.org for more info. In the event a bulb breaks, clean up can be performed safely by the general public.

Most fluorescent bulbs cost around $6. That means you pay less than a dollar a year to use one bulb, and you save more than that on utilities over the bulb’s lifetime. It sounds to me like this is a small investment with a big payoff for you and the environment. The ENERGY STAR website offers many tips on how to choose and where to use these bulbs.

I have to thank my cat for helping me get my first fluorescent bulb. A few weeks ago he flew over my head while I was sitting in my recliner. In an attempt to avoid my iced tea in his landing path, he hit the lamp. Yes, it was a very weird happening and he killed my incandescent bulb. I suppose in a case like this, the seven-year warranty on a fluorescent bulb would be void (it applies to normal household usage), but I digress.

So, fellow greeners, if you don’t already have these bulbs, I encourage you to make a plan for replacing your current bulbs. You can simply buy a new one as the need arises, or you can come up with a six-month plan (If you need 12 bulbs, you buy two a month for six months).

These bulbs are not new, but there is a renewed interest in them because of their energy-saving capacity. Even Wal-Mart is pushing them. I don’t shop there, but there’s been much talk about this in the media.

Happy bulbing.

4 Responses to “Just one bulb”

  1. Dawn Allcot on October 8, 2007 6:27 am

    Also, you might be able to get a discount from your energy company for using compact flourescent bulbs. I got about $2 off per bulb when I sent in a rebate form–it never hurts to ask, or check your energy company’s website.

    I bought all my bulbs at BJ’s warehouse club, and they worked out to $4/bulb. ($16 for 4). Shop around–you may find you can do your whole house in one shot. (It cost us about %40 total and we still have some left!)

    We have compact flourescent’s in every fixture in our house, except in six dimmer lights we have. (We didn’t install them, they were there when we moved in, and we rent). The compacts tend to flicker in the dimmer lights for some reason, so we had to take them out.

    And what? Cat collisions aren’t “normal household use?”

  2. chocmoon on October 8, 2007 3:37 pm


    Thanks for reading.

    I don’t have a membership in a warehouse club since my space is limited in the apartment, but I will keep in mind the bulk option. I’ll look into the rebate too. Thanks!

  3. Kathleen Frassrand on October 10, 2007 1:12 am

    I agree with Dawn about not using the CFs with a dimmer. Not only do I have problems with them not coming on at full strength (ONLY in the room with the dimmer!!) but it also has an odd buzz if the dimmer switch is down at all. Grrrr…

    But.. for every other spot in my house.. I LOVE my CF bulbs!

  4. chocmoon on October 10, 2007 3:19 am

    This is from ENERGY STAR’s website:

    If a light fixture is connected to a dimmer or three-way switch, you’ll need to use a special ENERGY STAR qualified CFL designed to work in these applications. Make sure to look for CFLs that specify use with dimmers or three-way fixtures.

    Did you try one that was made for a dimmer? I don’t have them in my one fixture that has a dimmer.

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