5 On Your Side

Compact fluorescent light bulbs save you money

Posted September 26, 2007
Updated April 30, 2008

Compact fluorescent light bulbs, also called CFLs, are growing in popularity.

Progress Energy recently started a program at Home Depot stores where you can get a $1 discount on CFLs.

CFLs are spiral shaped, use less energy, and can have a life span of up to 15,000 hours.

"First of all, they don't burn out as readily as a regular bulb, and they're more energy efficient,” homeowner David Kyff said.

Kyff switched all of the incandescent bulbs in his home with CFLs.

Consumer Reports worked with a lab to test hundreds of CFLs to find out how well they work and what kind of savings they provide.

“CFLs have improved dramatically in the last five to 10 years. First of all, they've come down in price. The color that they give is much better. They turn on faster, and they don't hum or flicker or buzz anymore,” Celia Kuperszmid-Lehrman with Consumer Reports said.

All CFLs performed well in Consumer Reports tests. Results showed the intensity and color of the CFLs are close to what you would get from a standard incandescent bulb.

You can buy a compact fluorescent light bulb for less than $3. Consumer Reports suggest shopping by price, and buying CFLs that are ENERGY STAR qualified.

CFLs should also be used in light fixtures that stay on for at least 15 minutes at a time. Otherwise, you will shorten the life of the bulb and reduce the energy-saving benefits.

As for savings, Consumer Reports claims CFLs can cut your electric bill by about $5 a year for every bulb used.

There is a warning about CFLs, they contain a small amount of mercury, so you are supposed to dispose of them at a recycling center.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Wolfy1 Sep 28, 2007

    Re: Joe
    No, they don't work with dimmers. I have them in my house, but the room with a dimmer has regular bulbs...with a dimmer, you'll rotate the knob and nothing will happen until it gets past a certain point...and then it goes on fully.

  • 68_polara Sep 28, 2007

    Awesome I was able to place an order for the, made in America, lights of america bulbs through:


  • 68_polara Sep 28, 2007

    Thanks! These are even made in the USA! I just need to find a retailer or web site that sells their compact fluorescents.

    Thanks again.

  • auklet8718 Sep 28, 2007


    Apology accepted!

    Give these a try - http://www.lightsofamerica.com/

  • 68_polara Sep 28, 2007

    Does anyone know where any are sold that are not made in China? I don't trust Chinese manufacturing standards when it comes to making anything when mercury is involved.

  • 68_polara Sep 28, 2007

    Your right auklet8718. Sorry for the sarcasm.

  • Nancy Sep 28, 2007

    What motivated me to buy them is that they don't burn out so quickly....any financial benefit tied to duration of service was my single motivating factor. I love them. And I have mine lasting so long that the smaller more compact ones that have been out a while I don't even need to buy yet...the others are lasting so long!

  • auklet8718 Sep 28, 2007

    Only making the point that people grab something like this and make much more of it than it is. If you break a CFL in your home you will absorb LESS mercury in your body than you will from eating a wild caught tuna steak. Also, I don't recommend eating your thermostat.

    I do agree that minimizing the risk of breakage is the right thing to do. Recommended cleanup procedures are easy to find on the internet in the event you do break one. Most clearly state that the broken glass is more dangerous than the mercury.

  • 68_polara Sep 27, 2007

    So when was the last time you knocked over a thermostat? These are legitamate concerns here. By the way, if you knocking thermostats of the wall it's time to cut down on the martinis. If pets are knocking them off the wall your horses belong in the stable not the house.

  • auklet8718 Sep 27, 2007

    There is FAR more mercury in a thermostat. All the CFLs in your house combined won't have as mercury as a mechanical thermostat.