Lighting Discounts Common Questions
- What should I do with a CFL when it burns out?
- What is an ENERGY STAR qualified fixture?
- Can I use a CFL on a dimming switch/circuit?
- Can I turn my CFL on and off frequently? I’ve been told I have to turn it on and leave it on all day
- Can CFLs be used in recessed cans, outdoor lights or track lighting?
- Why are incandescent bulbs so inefficient?
- How does a product earn the ENERGY STAR?
- Is it important to buy an ENERGY STAR qualified CFL?
- Can I get more information about recycling CFLs?
- I want to replace my 60-watt incandescent light bulb. How do I select the best CFL?
- What are compact fluorescent light bulbs and why should I use them?
What should I do with a CFL when it burns out?
Because CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, the EPA recommends that consumers take advantage of local recycling options for CFLs, where available. Consumers can contact their local municipal recycling facility directly, or go to www.lamprecycle.org and click on “State Lamp Recycling Regulations & Contacts" to identify local recycling options. You can also check with your local The Home Depot store, which may offer CFL recycling. If there are no recycling options near you, and you must put CFLs in the garbage in two sealed plastic bags. CFLs should not be disposed of in an incinerator.Back to Top
What is an ENERGY STAR qualified fixture?
ENERGY STAR qualified fixtures permanently replace standard incandescent fixtures and come with pin-based CFLs that are tested to last at least 10,000 hours (about 7 years, on average). Pin-based CFLs have a two-pronged base that “plugs in” to a fixture rather than a screw base. ENERGY STAR fixtures come in hundreds of attractive styles, including table, floor and desk lamps, and in hard-wired styles for ceilings, walls, bathrooms, kitchens, dining rooms and outdoors.Back to Top
Can I use a CFL on a dimming switch/circuit?
Using a regular CFL on a dimming switch or circuit will cause performance issues and shorten its rated life. If you are planning to use CFLs on dimming switches or circuits, please look for a CFL product that has the word "Dimmable" on its packaging. The reason these CFLs perform better is that the ballast can handle the reduction in power to the unit. The dimmable CFL will not flicker, hum or have a huge shift in color.Back to Top
Can I turn my CFL on and off frequently? I’ve been told I have to turn it on and leave it on all day
Turning a CFL on and off frequently can shorten its life. To take full advantage of the energy savings and long life of ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs, it is best to use them in light fixtures you use the most and leave on for at least 15 minutes at a time. Good locations include outdoor light fixtures, indoor fixtures in the living room, family room, kitchen, bedroom, recreation room, etc. This is not to say you should leave your lights on all day if you use ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs. It is still a good habit to turn the lights off when you leave the room for an extended period.Back to Top
Can CFLs be used in recessed cans, outdoor lights or track lighting?
Yes! Always read the packaging of the CFL to be sure of its proper application, but there are a wide variety of ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs that are designed for use in most fixtures in your home or business.
Product types include:
- Incandescent shape (or A-shaped) and globes – both are good in fixtures where the bulb is exposed, or in fixtures with clamp lamp shades.
- Reflectors – intended for non-dimmable track lighting and recessed cans, and some weather-protected outdoor spot lights.
- Candle shapes – for use in some porch lights, in wall sconces and in some chandeliers.
- Spirals and mini-spirals – the most versatile, which are getting smaller and smaller in size and can be used in almost any fixture, especially table and floor lamps with harped shades.
- Some CFLs are qualified to be used in 3-way and dimmable fixtures (like chandeliers, recessed lights or track lighting).
Why are incandescent bulbs so inefficient?
Incandescent light bulbs work by heating a tungsten filament, or wire, until it glows. This is what produces the light you see. Unfortunately, 90% of the energy used to generate that light is wasted as heat, making incandescent bulbs a very inefficient way to light your home. ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs, on the other hand, create a chemical reaction among gases located inside the glass tube, causing phosphors to illuminate. This is a much more efficient way of producing light, and means CFLs produce far less heat.Back to Top
How does a product earn the ENERGY STAR?
ENERGY STAR manufacturer partners must certify that their product meets the strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy. When they do, they may place the label on their product. As technology advances and more energy-efficient products make it to the marketplace, ENERGY STAR reviews the guidelines for each product category and strengthens them as necessary to ensure that, generally, only the top 25% of products in each category can earn the label.Back to Top
Is it important to buy an ENERGY STAR qualified CFL?
ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs are different from other CFLs on the market because they have been tested to meet stringent performance criteria established by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy. The criteria ensures that all CFLs earning the ENERGY STAR meet minimum lifetime and efficacy requirements, and are within maximum allowed product start and warm-up times.
Manufacturers are also required to label the product if the light output is different than that of a soft white incandescent. If you choose a CFL that is not ENERGY STAR qualified, you might not get the performance you were looking for.Back to Top
Can I get more information about recycling CFLs?Back to Top
I want to replace my 60-watt incandescent light bulb. How do I select the best CFL?
Finding an ENERGY STAR qualified CFL that will put out the same amount of light as your current incandescent bulb is easy. Manufacturers include product equivalency information on the packaging to help consumers choose a bulb that produces enough light. For example, if you are looking for an ENERGY STAR qualified light bulb to replace your 60-watt incandescent, look for words like “Soft White 60” or “60 Watt Replacement” on the packaging.
A watt is actually a measure of power consumption. When purchasing a light bulb, what you are really after is light output, which is measured in lumens. When you purchase a 60-watt incandescent bulb, you are getting about 800 lumens. By selecting a 13-watt ENERGY STAR qualified CFL instead, you can still get 800 lumens, but it requires much less power.Back to Top
What are compact fluorescent light bulbs and why should I use them?
A compact fluorescent light (commonly known as a CFL) is a more energy-efficient alternative to a standard incandescent light bulb. CFLs (also called PL twin-tubes, CFL twist tubes or BIAX lamps) can be used in table lamps, ceiling fixtures, wall fixtures and outdoor porch lights and lamp posts. CFLs last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs and use less energy to operate.
CFL technology has several advantages over incandescent lighting technology: it is four times more efficient and lasts up to 10 times longer; it uses about 75% less energy; and produces 90% less heat while delivering more light. In addition, it provides a flicker-free start and soft-white light, is environmentally friendly, and comes in a variety of styles.
Although CFLs may be more expensive to purchase initially, you save money in the long run because CFLs use less energy and last longer. Energy-efficient CFLs can be used almost anywhere incandescent bulbs are used: in recessed fixtures, table lamps, ceiling fixtures, porch lights, vanity bars and more.
Just like incandescent bulbs, CFLs come in different color “temperatures” (e.g. soft white, bright white). If you want a light most like an incandescent, choose a CFL with a temperature around 2700K. For brighter task lighting, choose a higher temperature, around 3500K. The higher the color temperature, the bluer the light will appear.Back to Top