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Compact Fluorescent Lamps

What is a Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)?

A Compact Fluorescent Lamp is an energy efficient bulb that can replace an energy intensive incandescent light bulb

Why should I use CFLs in my home?

CFLs use up to 80% less energy than incandescent light bulbs and last up to 8 timer longer – this lighting technology helps to lower your monthly electricity bill and reduces demand pressure on the national power grid

Where can I use CFLs?

You can use a CFL to replace many of the incandescent light bulbs in your home. Most of them come with standard screw-in bases as well as candelabra bases for a variety of light fixtures. There are many shapes, sizes and wattages to meet your needs and tastes

Is it difficult to switch to CFLs?

No, it’s simple. It’s usually as easy as screwing in a new light bulb. In some instances, indented lighting may require the base to be adjusted or extended

Where can I buy them?

CFLs are available in retail stores and home centres and building supply stores

How are they packaged?

Yes. CFLs are commonly sold in singles and are also available in bulk for large-scale conversions

How are they dimmable?

No - unless stated otherwise on the package. However, there are special models available that can accommodate dimmers

What precautions should I take when using CFLs in my home?

CFLs can break when dropped or handled roughly. Be careful when removing a bulb from its packaging, installing it or replacing it. Always screw and unscrew the lamp by its base (not the glass), and never twist the CFL into a light socket with force

How should I clean up a broken CFL?

Never use your bare hands to pick up a broken lamp. Should a CFL break, follow this procedure:

  • Open nearby windows to disperse any vapours that might have escaped
  • Carefully scoop up the fragments and powder using a brush and dustpan - never use your hands as you may cut and contaminate yourself
  • Wipe the area clean with a damp disposable paper towel to remove all glass fragments - do not use a vacuum cleaner as small shards of glass could damage it
  • Place all fragments in a sealed plastic bag and dispose of it at a local eWaste disposal in the same way as you would dispose of batteries, oil-based paint and motor oil
  • Alternatively, wrap the broken CFL fragments in newspaper and then seal it in a plastic bag before putting it out with your regular refuse

    Are there any dangers associated with using CFLs?

    There are no dangers if CFLs are used as instructed – the lamps contain a small amount of mercury (even less than the amount found in watch batteries)

    Would I be saving energy by dimming my incandescent lights instead of using CFLs?

    No, this is a common misconception about lighting and energy consumption. Although a dimmed incandescent bulb will only give off about 10% of the full light, it will still be using 33% of the electricity it normally uses

    Which lighting in my house uses the most electricity and what can I do about it?

    Research shows that kitchens, living rooms and outdoors (garden / security lighting) are the three areas that use most electricity - using CFLs in these areas and switching off lights when not in use are the most immediate and inexpensive actions you can take to save electricity