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Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs Everywhere

Updated on June 3, 2011
A compact fluorescent black light, just one of the billions of uses of CFLs.
A compact fluorescent black light, just one of the billions of uses of CFLs.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs have nearly endless uses. From black lights to gardening grow lights, you'll find a CFL that fits the bill. I use CFLs in all the light fixtures in my home for various reasons; the cost of lighting on my energy bill is negligible compared to when I used incandescents. I also love the color temperatures available, for example I use 5000K lights which are bright white. 5000K lamps are a lovely divergence from the pale dreary yellow light of incandescent light bulbs.

Detractors of compact fluorescent light bulbs are constantly mentioning the mercury content of the bulbs. It's less than 5mg per lamp! I've seen a popular article cited many times about a woman who received an erroneous estimate for the clean-up cost of a broken CFL bulb. Everyone who cites this article loves to point out that the estimate was $2000. What they always neglect to mention is that the estimate was proven a mistake. The woman never had to pay for the cleanup because no extensive cleanup was required.

If you break a compact fluorescent light bulb, the cleanup is simple; far more simple than the bloated safety regulations would make you believe. The standard regulations state that you should turn off any central air, open the window in the room where the spill happened, flee the premises for 15 minutes, get a hypersealed megaplastic bag for the few particles of mercury dust, put it in a glass jar, send it to the moon, etc. That's overkill. 5mg of mercury is not dangerous by itself. As long as you don't break 10 compact fluorescents every day for a year and snort the mercury dust, you're going to be fine. Obviously you want to be more careful with compact fluorescents than with old inefficient incandescent light bulbs, but breaking a CFL is not such a cataclysmic apocalypse as so many people would have you believe.

Enough about mercury!

Now that we're past that, I'll mention some more merits of compact fluorescents. Their initial cost continues to drop. It won't be long now until compact fluorescent light bulb prices are nearly indistinguishable from old rotten incandescent prices. The amazing thing about that is that CFLs last so much longer than incandescent light bulbs. The bulbs I have in my house are all going on five years now with no perceivable drop in light output. They're still the same outstanding 6500K daylight luminance that I love.

CFLs also have the most effective black lights. If you need a black light for whatever reason (party, special application, holiday, etc), go with compact fluorescent black lights. Don't mess around with those incandescent fake black lights, because they're garbage compared to CFL black lights. Every speck of dust is blatantly clear; neon and white colored things shine eerily under CFL black lights. They're really fun to use.

You can even use compact fluorescent light bulbs as grow lights for your garden or indoor plants. CFLs are able to produce light closer to the natural light of the sun than any other type of light bulb. They're even able to assist with S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder) symptoms.

All in all I find compact fluorescents to be the best light bulbs currently available for the best price. I should mention LED light bulbs of course; I see them eventually replacing compact fluorescents, but not any time soon due to their outrageous prices. It will be interesting to see the evolutions in LED, CFL, and even incandescent technology in the future, along with their respective price changes.


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  • blark profile image

    blark 7 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

    I found one here after a little searching:

  • profile image

    Half Asian Jesus 7 years ago

    Where can I get some of the black lights? I would

    like some for "mood lighting".

  • blark profile image

    blark 7 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Thank you for the comment!

  • angelaglancy profile image

    angelaglancy 7 years ago from Seattle

    Thanks for the great article. There is a lot of misunderstanding out ther about these light bulbs. Love your 'send it to the moon' comment. Nice hub.