Mister Sparky of Seattle’s Tips on Forming a Good Relationship with Compact Fluorescent Lamps

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West Seattle Electrician’s advice on how to treat CFLs properly for intended energy savings. Treating them like the soon to be obsolete incandescent bulbs we grew up with helps nobody.

Mister Sparky of Seattle, electrician, advises product knowledge when it comes to getting the most out of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). With the introduction of legislation phasing out incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs have become the smart choice for energy conservation in the home, and for the entire grid.

Understandably skeptical of new technologies, some groups have raised concerns over their value and health to the consumer. They question whether the higher upfront costs really pay off in energy consumption savings. The truth of the matter is that most of these concerns arise from treating CFLs as if they were incandescent bulbs and can be addressed by getting to know the difference. Here are a few tips regarding how to get the most out of your CFLs:

They Take Time

Unlike incandescent bulbs, CFLs take a couple minutes to reach their optimum levels. That is why once turning them on it is necessary to leave them on for a good 15 minutes to obtain the advertised energy savings while promoting long life.

Different Strokes

They now make CFLs that work with both dimmer switches and 3-way lamps. Unlike incandescent bulbs, you need to look on the packaging for bulbs that are made to work with these devices. Accidentally using a non-compliant CFL can cause you to burn out your switch and may require the service of a licensed electrician.

It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here

CFLs can be used in enclosed fixtures so long as they are not recessed and allow good heat dispersion. Totally enclosed recesses create temperatures that won’t allow the bulb to work properly or not at all. Electricians often have easy ways to swap out these fixtures with ones that work well with CFLs.

Baby Its Cold Outside

For outside use, CFLs require a minimum temperature to operate effectively. That is why they
make reflector bulbs that are sealed to withstand the elements, while providing enough heat to warm themselves. Other lighting options may prove to be more effective outdoors, such as LEDs and Halogens, and both can still save a bundle on energy over incandescent bulbs.

They’re Not All Spiral?

You may not have realized, but CFLs do come in other shapes and sizes. A-shaped, tubed, candle and covered globe varieties all come with the ENERGY STAR certification. Most importantly, realize that there is a lot of useful information on the packaging that clearly states what and where CFLs should be used, which is completely different from the old practice of picking up a box of multi-purpose incandescent bulbs. It may take a little more time and effort but is surely worth it.

About Mister Sparky

Greater Seattle's on-time Electrician happily servicing Seattle to Tacoma and everywhere in between, including: Des Moines, Federal Way and Auburn.

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Wendy Lind
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