Types of Compact Fluorescents

Compact fluorescents are evolving to fit almost any lighting situation. They began as large circular tubes and have grown increasingly more compact and capable.

If expense is the major concern, this circular compact fluorescent simply turns on and off, and sells for just $4.

Think they are too bulky for your chandelier? Think again. A 9-watt model is hard to distinguish from an incandescent and costs about $7.

This 23-watt compact fluorescent offers the possibility of even greater energy savings by being "dimmable". It works in any fixture controlled by a standard rotary or slide-style dimming switch and costs about $15. Be sure to use only dimmable bulbs on dimmer switches.

Like the flexibility of 3-way lights? This compact fluorescent is designed for table and floor lamp applications. Its 12/29/18 watts of power provide the equivalent light of 30/100/70 watt standard incandescent light and costs less than $15. Standard compact fluorescents can be used in 3-way sockets, but will only operate in the second and third positions at one light level.

Encapsulated lamps are designed for use in open style fixtures such as pendants, chandeliers and fixtures with a clear glass lens where the bulb can be seen. This 15-watt encapsulated compact fluorescent has equivalent light output to a 60-watt incandescent, will fit most lamps, costs less than $10 and will last about 10,000 hours — about 4 to 5 years.

Advantages of Compact Fluorescents

Compact fluorescents have the following three advantages over incandescent light bulbs when used properly:

  • last up to 10 times longer,
  • use 1/4 to 1/3 the energy and
  • produce about 80% less heat, while producing more light.

The 10 times longer life means you won't have to change the lamp nearly as often as an incandescent. So while you may pay more for the lamp, you only buy one in 5 to 10 years, and avoid the inconvenience of shopping for replacements and making the changes as lamps burn out.

The fact that they use a fraction of the energy an incandescent is the reason they reduce your monthly electric bills. And, because they produce a small fraction of the heat of an incandescent, they are more comfortable to work around and save on air conditioning costs.