A Little Short on Cash?

Take a look at the energy saving ideas and new green products in this and the next few articles, and see how many you can use to save your hard earned cash. Then use the savings to fund a short vacation or a trip to Disneyland.

Install only compact fluorescent light bulbs

The abbreviation for Compact Fluorescent Lamp is CFL, sometimes known as a circular fluorescent bulb.

A CFL does not generate light the way an incandescent bulbs does. Incandescent light bulbs have worked essentially the same way since Thomas Edison invented them. When electricity is connected to both sides of a carbon filament, it gets hot and produces light. In CFLs (as with the older fluorescent tubes), a closed glass tube is coated with a fluorescent coating that glows when a current is applied to the argon and mercury vapor inside.

You have heard this before, but unless you are only going to turn on that incandescent bulb a couple of times a year, you are wasting money (no matter how cheap the bulb is). Green products help you save money. One of the new Energy Star compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) saves around 75% over an equivalent incandescent bulb. In one year, that could add up to a $30 savings – per bulb!

CFLs have been out several years now. Along with the bulb style, you can now choose the shade of white light you like. This can really enhance the mood of a room, home office or family room. The CFL colors vary from a warm yellow to daylight blue. If you prefer the look (color) of incandescent bulbs, choose a warm light.

When using the Daylight or bluish bulbs be aware that their light appears harsh to many. People with light sensitivity could be adversely affected. If you notice them squinting or avoiding areas where this light is used, then try using a warmer light.

Look on the package for a number that ends in K. This stands for Kelvin or the “temperature” of the bulb. A Kelvin rating of 2700K-3000K is a warm/yellow bulb. A Cool White bulb has a rating of 3500K-4100K. A rating of 5000K-6500K is a Daylight blue bulb.

A 9-13 watt CFL will replace a 40 watt incandescent bulb; use a 13-15 watt to replace a 60 watt incandescent bulb; for a 75 watt incandescent bulb use a 18-25 watt CFL; and use a 23-30 watt CFL to replace a 100 watt incandescent bulb.

Nevertheless, do not forget to recycle all CFLs. California law for example forbids the disposal of any lamps containing mercury in the regular solid waste trash. Even though a CFL is one of the most convenient green products, it does contain about five milligrams of mercury – one-fifth of the amount of mercury in an average watch battery.

To dispose of an old CFL, visit a retailer like ACE Hardware, Orchard, Home Depot or IKEA. Many of them will recycle these bulbs for you.

For decorative lights, consider choosing Energy Star qualified light emitting diode (LED) bulbs. The LED units are great green products and use up to 90% less energy than an equivalent incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light. I have been told that the power required to burn a single seven-watt incandescent bulb could power up to 140 LEDs! So wherever you used incandescent bulb in the past, replace them with a new CFL, and for outside lighting use the new LED decorative lights. This will save you money and reduce your carbon footprint.

We will look at more green products that help you reduce your energy bill next time.


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Originally posted 2009-07-27 06:26:00.

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