A light bulb moment

20 01 2009

During 2008, my husband and I began gradually replacing our old traditional light bulbs with CFLs as the old incandescents burned out. Not being one to waste, I thought that was the prudent thing to do.

But as we began hearing more and more about the money and energy you could save by using CFLs, we decided to do a comprehensive switch. (I gave the old incandescent bulbs to a friend who hasn’t yet made the switch.)

August was the first full month the majority of our lighting came from CFLs. As the months went on, I had this vague idea that our electric bills were lower but truly never compared the 2008 bills to our 2007 bills. Until now.

With an initial expense of about $40 in CFLs, we have already recouped our investment and our savings keep adding up. According to my estimates, we have saved an average $18.66 per month on our electric bills since making the switch.

That figure, however, does require an asterisk.

Not every year is an exact copy of the last and in the case of our family, things have changed. In August, we sent our second son off to college so I know some of the savings can be contributed to his absence. However, our electric rates also increasedby about 2 cents per kwh from 2007 to 2008 canceling some of the savings from our son’s departure from the household. So in balance, I’m declaring our CFL switch a savings victory.

If I haven’t convinced you, check out this site, the Energy Conservation Awareness blog, which gives some pretty interesting facts on CFL use and savings.

For 2009, we’re planning on replacing the special bulbs in our house, such as the canned lighting in our kitchen and the candle lights in our dining room. These all now come in CFLs. Another round of savings for our wallets and the planet.

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2 responses

22 01 2009
MiserMary

I saw some of these CFL bulbs on clearance at Kroger today. Perhaps I should consider making the switch. A friend also informed me there is a refund for these bulbs right now through Dollar General. Not sure how the prices are there on these bulbs though.

26 01 2009
Randall Arnold

A word of advice: don’t go 100% with CFLs, especially in areas where you spend a lot of time.

The typical fluorescent bulb does not put out full spectrum lighting. This can be unhealthy. Another detriment is the fact that CFLs flicker– it is not always noticed consciously but this flicker can have harmful effects on human eyes. Depression has also been associated with working in environments lit solely by fluorescents.

Your best bet is a mix of lighting technology types. This is crucial in the kitchen and living room especially (and bedrooms if you read a lot). In mine I have balanced CFLs and incandescents (along with a halogen bulb or two) to get a broad spectrum of lighting. I will also be adding skylights and solar tubes to my house. In one bathroom I knocked out part of the outside wall and installed glass blocks, and on most days I don’t even need to turn on the lights! Now THAT is savings.

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