Most people have heard that the CFL bulbs are better. But do you know why, or even if that is true? Here is a spoiler: It is true. CFL bulbs are better for many reasons. Despite their higher upfront cost (you won't be finding these guys in a dollar store), these bulbs are reported to save you over $6.00 annually and supposedly over $42 over the life of the bulb.
The lifespan of the compact fluorescent bulbs is roughly 10x that of the incandescent bulbs. CFL's lifespan averages 10,000 to 15,000 hours while the incandescent bulbs average only 1,500 hours. The greater lifespan is a good thing for the environment, it means less waste and less resources used to create new bulbs to replace the old bulbs that had gone bad.
When comparing energy usage of the two bulbs then its obvious that the clear winner as far as energy conservation is the cfl bulbs. The cfl bulbs only use 104 kw of electricity versus the incandescent bulbs which use 480 kw of electricity. Using four of the cfl bulbs uses the same amount of electricity as ONE incandescent bulb. With this information we can surmise that by switching from incandescent to cfl bulbs in our entire house we can cut our lightening costs by 1/4 overall.
There has been some concern as to the mercury content of the cfl bulbs. Cfl bulbs contain around .4 mg of mercury within the bulb. There has been a debate as to if the cfls are better since they do contain mercury whereas the incandescent don't. To find the answer refer to the spoiler alert in the beginning of this blog! Despite containing a small amount of mercury within the bulb Cfl's still win the mercury wars because they emit less mercury from usage. Incandescent let off 5x more mercury emissions when in use than Cfl's do. Incandescent bulbs emit 5.8 mg of mercury emissions, cfl's only use 1.2 emissions and contain .4 mg of emissions for a total of 1.6 emissions of mercury! 1.6 versus 5.8, cfl wins hands down!
Being in a rental for around a year I haven't changed out all the bulbs in the house, especially not the really long ones that I'm not sure even come in cfl's! I have changed around four bulbs and when I buy a house then I will only be using cfl's or possibly LED's after I research them! What about you, whats in your house?
Last words: If your using cfl's ask your city about recycling them. While they are a better alternative that .4mg of mercury in each bulb can add up in landfills!