Understanding the Differences between CFL & LED Light Bulbs

 LEDAndCFLBulbsOnGrassCutting costs and growing concerns of environmental responsibility are encouraging many to consider new ways to reduce energy consumption. Did you know that switching to energy efficient light bulbs is one of the fastest ways to lower the energy bill for your home?

In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing 15 incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving alternatives could save you about $50 per year. Choosing the most efficient light bulb has gotten easier, too. Common light bulbs sold in the U.S. must consume less energy (watts) for the amount of light produced, known as lumens. Many bulbs already meet these standards, including energy efficient incandescent bulbs, CFLs, and LEDs.

Although most people are familiar with the traditional incandescent format, some may not be as familiar with CFLs and LEDs. Read on to learn more!

LED Light BulbWhat are LEDs?

LEDs are one of the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly technologies available to consumers. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED light bulbs last 25 times as long and use even less energy than CFLs!

LEDs are rapidly gaining popularity, as ENERGY STAR®-qualified LED bulbs use only about 20%-25% of the energy used by incandescent options.

In addition, incandescent and CFL light bulbs get hot, which means they heat up rooms. LEDs, on the other hand, usually have a built in mechanism to prevent this heat build-up. Furthermore, LEDs aren’t as sensitive to on-off cycling, which makes them perfect for motion sensors, outdoor lights, and dimmers. Perhaps their biggest advantage is that they are mercury-free and do not require special handling should they break or wear out. While LEDs cost more than incandescent and CFLs, they still save you money by lasting longer and consuming less energy.

CFL Light BulbWhat are CFLs?

CFL light bulbs are small, curly versions of those long tube lights you may have in your kitchen or garage. ENERGY STAR®-qualified CFLs last 10 times longer and are 25%more efficient than incandescent bulbs.

For people thinking about making the switch, consider this: ENERGY STAR®-qualified CFLs use about 75% less energy and can typically pay for themselves in energy savings in less than nine months!

CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury and require special handling if they are broken. CFLs should be recycled at the end of their lifespan. Many retailers recycle CFLs for free. Visit epa.gov/cfl for cleanup and safe disposal steps.

Thanks to Corie Eisenberg of Direct Energy Business, this blog post has been adapted from the Hess Energy blog and has been used with permission.

Vernon Trollinger is a writer with a background in home improvement, electronics, fiction writing, and archaeology. He now writes about green energy technology, home energy efficiency, the natural gas industry, and the electrical grid.