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Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL's), are small household lamp-sized fluorescent lamps. They are generally intended to replace incandescent light bulbs. They have become very popular mainly due to their lower energy consumption (about one-fourth - 25%) for the same amount of light output compared to incandescent light bulbs. As a result, they are perceived as being "green". But, like all man-made devises, there are advantages and disadvantages, pro's and con's to using them. We will present these below, along with references to credible authoritative sources and some conclusions to help you decide when CFL's are right for you.
Compared to general service incandescent lamps giving the
same amount of visible light, CFLs use less power and have a longer rated
life. In the United States, a CFL has a higher purchase price than an
incandescent lamp, but can save over US$40 in electricity costs over the
lamp's lifetime. Like all fluorescent lamps, CFLs contain mercury, which
complicates their disposal.
CFLs radiate a different light spectrum from that of incandescent lamps. Improved phosphor formulations have improved the perceived color of the light emitted by CFLs such that some sources rate the best 'soft white' CFLs as subjectively similar in color to standard incandescent lamps.
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