Tired of Giving Away Money to the Electric Company?

This article is the first in a list of practical things you can do to save money on your monthly electric bill. Get some new green products, and maybe use the extra money to pay for a little vacation.

Replace Bulbs with Compact Fluorescent 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.

Be aware that the daylight or bluer light often appears harsh and can have a negative effect on light sensitive people. You will notice they squint or avoid sitting/standing near this color light. If so just change it out for one of the warmer colors.

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.

To replace a 40 watt incandescent bulb, use a 9-13 watt CFL bulb; for a 60 watt incandescent bulb use a 13-15 watt; for a 75 watt incandescent bulb use an 18-25 watt CFL; and for a 100 watt incandescent bulb, use a 23-30 watt CFL.

Please do not forget to recycle all compact fluorescent bulbs. In some states, the law forbids the disposal of any bulbs containing mercury in the regular solid waste trash. There are about five milligrams of mercury in one CFL bulb, or about 1/5 the of mercury found in a normal wrist-watch battery.

When recycling your old CFL green products, places like ACE Hardware, Orchard (OSH), Home Depot and IKEA will accept and properly dispose of the old CFL bulb.

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.

One of the next green products will look at is small appliance power supplies.

Michael

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Originally posted 2009-07-28 05:51:03.



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