Are Light Bulbs Burning Unnecessary Energy…And Your Hard Earned Cash?

Published on January 4, 2017 in Frugal Living by Eva

How many light bulbs do you use in your home in one month? How much do these cost? What about your energy bill; what does that look like? When you think about it, your light bulbs may be burning up unnecessary energy and a lot of your hard earned cash!

Replacing your old, incandescent light bulbs as they burn out with the newer, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can make a positive difference.

Here are the facts.


You can save $30 in energy costs with every incandescent bulb you replace with a CFL!

Compact fluorescent light bulbs:

  • Provide an equal amount of light
  • Last up to 10 times longer
  • Use at least two thirds less energy than regular incandescent bulbs


Fluorescent bulbs contain a toxic metal (mercury). If you inhale or otherwise ingest the mercury powder from inside the tube, it can cause damage to your health. If you break a bulb, this can release the mercury and be dangerous, particularly for infants, young children, and pregnant women.

Because of this, please keep the bulbs recycled and out of landfills! Avoid using them in lamps that could get knocked over by children and pets. Be careful that you hold onto the connecting end when replacing them rather than grabbing and turning the glass tube itself.

Follow these procedures if you break a compact fluorescent light:

  • Close or cover the vents to the air conditioning system. This prevents mercury particles from being spread throughout the rest of the house.
  • Open the windows. Leave the room and air it out for 30 minutes. Use a portable fan to move the inside air out even faster. This step rids the room of most of the hazardous particles right away.
  • Clean up the broken glass with something disposable. Wear gloves and use paper or cardboard to sweep them onto a second piece of paper or cardboard. Get the glass shards with the sticky side of masking or duct tape. Follow up with a damp napkin or wet wipe.
  • Dispose of everything. Put the gloves, paper, tape, napkin, and broken bulb into a sealed container and place into the outside trash bin or take it to your local hazardous waste recycle center.
  • Caution: Pregnant women, infants, toddlers, and other young children should not perform the clean-up.

As long as you follow these precautions, using compact fluorescent light bulbs does not pose a hazard to you or your family. As it is, the only hazard is if you break one, and then using proper clean-up procedures will eliminate the hazard without overly exposing you to any risk.

Tips for Using CFLs

When replacing old bulbs with CFLs, check the lumen rating on the light you're replacing. Buy the equivalent compact fluorescent light bulb. This ensures you get the same amount of light as before you switched from incandescent to fluorescent bulbs.

Remember, the watts vary between incandescent and fluorescent. Fluorescent bulbs usually use about one fourth of the wattage required by incandescent bulbs for the same amount of light. For example, if you need 60-watt light, buy the 15-watt fluorescent.

Instead of replacing every light in your house with compact fluorescent bulbs, you can just replace the bulbs in the rooms most frequently used. For example, the living room, kitchen, bathrooms, and wherever your favorite rooms may be!

Fluorescent light bulbs are well worth the extra step of recycling. Some of them are even manufactured to last nine years. Just think of how many old style light bulbs you would use in nine years! With CFLs, “out with the old and in with the new” can save you a lot of money.

Need More Information?

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Eva Poulson Mortgage Broker
BC & Alberta Mortgage Broker

Eva Poulson

When I'm not breaking the knuckles of different lenders for better mortgages for my clients - I'm kidding (or am I?) - you can usually find me visiting with friends or family, writing for this blog, or doing my best to keep from capsizing a dragon boat!

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