CFL bulbI’ve found that most of the people I talk to are unsure of converting to CFL’ s or fluorescent lights to replace your standard light bulb. As a Christian who cares about God’s creation (environment) I’ve replaced nearly all of my older bulbs. Lighting accounts for about 25% of your energy bill!!! Change your bulbs, limit their use, and save some money!! (And the planet)

1. READ THE PACKAGES:

These bulbs usually contain a conversion number on the package which will say something like “13watt CFL = 60watt incandescent”. So if you are wanting to replace a 60watt bulb, a 13watt CFL is for you. UNLESS, it lists ‘lumens‘. Usually, 900 lumens is the measure of brightness a 60watt bulb will produce. So, even if it says 13watt, make sure it is 900 lumens if possible. Then, check the package for “color”. You’ll notice it’s listed in degrees Kelvin – which may seem intimidating since you probably don’t remember high school physics very well. All you need to know is that there are three main levels of color, pink, yellow, and blue-ish. The lower number (2,700K) is pink, the middle is yellow, and the highest (6,000K) is blue-ish. I like the middle ones – they look like regular light bulbs. Oh, and don’t forget to look for something like “instant on”, cheap CFL’s take a while to warm up.

2. DECIDE HOW MANY WATTS YOU NEED.

Are you putting four bulbs in a ceiling fan? If so, four of the 13watt CFL’s will probably do the trick. Does your wife want a lot of light in the closet so she can see her shoes? You better get the 27watt (100watt equivalent) CFL’s.

3. DO YOU NEED A DIMMABLE LIGHT?

CFL’s won’t actually dim, but there are some which are advertised as ‘dimmable’. This means that they will work with a dimmer switch. If you really want to be able to dim the lights at the dinner table… stick with regular light bulbs for now. Or, if you have lots of cash, check out good LED lights – not cheap ones, you won’t be happy with ’em.

4. WHAT SIZE BULB DO YOU NEED?

Some ceiling fans need special sized lights (the stem is smaller than a normal bulb). Also know that some cheaper CFL’s are a bit larger than normal light bulbs. If you aren’t sure grab a normal light bulb from nearby in the store and hold it up next to the CFL you want to purchase to make sure that your new CFL won’t stick up out of the lampshade. Your wife won’t like that.

5. DON”T GET OFF BRAND BULBS

I’ve done it, even though I know better. I always get suckered in to a dollar cheaper bulb. Then get it installed, and it takes 3 minutes to get bright, or has a weird delay in turning on. Brands that you know, like Phillips, GE, etc, are the best bets. Great Value brand may be cheaper, but if you throw it away because it annoys your wife or kids, it isn’t cheaper.

Use your new knowledge of CFLs to make a difference in your own energy use!!

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