Research shows that compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. But if you are not using them correctly, those savings could go right out the window. Here is how to get the most of your CFLs to keep the money in your pocket.
- Stick to the 15-minute rule. Traditional bulbs saved money by turning them off when not in use. With CFLs, it is better to keep the light on if you’re going to need it again within 15 minutes. Frequent turning on and off wastes energy and makes them burn out faster.
- Make sure they match. Each CFL is specially designed to work in specific types of lighting fixtures. Double check the package to see if it is for dimmer switch, three-way lamp, timer, motion detector or outdoor lighting etc.
- Give them room to breathe. CFLs are sensitive to extreme temperatures, so place yours in open fixtures - such as lamps with shades rather than globes. Using them in enclosed fixtures can create a hot environment that reduces the lifetime of your bulb.
- TIP: Avoid breaking a CFL as you install it by holding it only by the white plastic part - never using the glass tubing, which can crack when handled.