Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) introduced an alternative lighting source beyond the traditional incandescent offering substantial energy savings over the higher cost associated with the product. As quickly as CFL’s hit the market, their appeal may be limited. Recall how quickly 8-track cassettes diminished. Although their usefulness may temporarily reduce residential energy cost, CFL’s placed correctly throughout the house prove a viable asset.
Compact fluorescent lights require about one minute to completely glow and once fully lit, are designed to remain lit for three hours minimum at a time. While the U.S. EPA suggests replacing all burned out incandescent lights with CFL’s, placing bulbs correctly through the house preserves their function without diminishing their lifespan. Place a CFL inside overhead light fixtures that remain lighted throughout the night or overnight while still using incandescent lights in fixtures for hallways and garages. The overall wattage compatibility of a CFL will not match that of an incandescent, although they still provide adequate lighting at an overall reduced cost. One of our renegade gardeners relayed the point that he installed a CFL inside a floor lamp, as both a security measure and illumination, at his back door and never turned it off. The CFL package offered a five-year warranty and one week after the initial installation, his CFL burned out.
One environmental concern with CFL’s regards the trace amount of mercury inside the lamp. Four milligrams, the amount the size of a pen dot, aids the fluorescence in lighting. This is the same element that was mined, nicknamed quicksilver, in Terlingua at the turn of the 20th century. It’s also found in fish that we enjoy during those wonderful spring season fish fry’s and crawfish boils. Ingesting large amounts of mercury will have an adverse effect on the human central nervous system. In trace amounts, expired CFL can easily be disposed at our conveniently located Dallas County Hazardous Waste Collection Center at 11234 Plano Road, in Garland.
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