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I just moved into my own apartment, and I've taken quite an interest in being as energy-efficient as possible (simply because, hey - I'm paying the electricity bill now!).

I've been wondering - are Compact fluorescent lamp (CFLs) as efficient as they claim to be? I detest the light that they give off, but if they're significantly cheaper to use (especially in contrast to how expensive they are in comparison to normal bulbs), then I might be persuaded to pick up a few.

I work almost constantly, so I probably don't use more than 3 or 4 hours of electric light daily, anyway.

So, is it worth the investment (and inconvenience)? I'm just a bit skeptical of something that claims to save me money by being 4-6 times the cost of the alternative.

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    New generation CFLs have much more cozy light than the old ones. Be sure to get a “warm” glowing bulb. They are more expensive though. – Konrad Rudolph Apr 12 '11 at 11:48
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    I actually did a test of this with my father when they were first becoming widely available. The answer was, yes. And I suspect even more so today. However, the reality is that other bulbs give off heat, so if you are in a cold climate where you always have the heat on, your heater will have to work that much harder, offsetting the cost. Also, Nice avatar. – DampeS8N Apr 12 '11 at 12:09
  • They will last longer and use less electricity. The electricity is quantifiable, given your electricity rate. The lasting longer is going to be more difficult to measure. – David Thornley Apr 12 '11 at 12:20
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    It will make a difference on your light bill yes. But if you have electric heating, it may not make a big difference on your electricity bill as you may have to heat more instead. If you live in a hot climate and use air conditioners a lot, low energy lightbulbs of any sort should be a good investment (although I prefer LED, as they are less full of poisons). – Lennart Regebro Apr 12 '11 at 12:32
  • @Lennart, you should really make that an answer instead of a comment. – Kevin Apr 12 '11 at 20:36
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If saving ~$500usd/year is significant then yes.

CFL v LED v INC

Source: Las Vegas Strip: An Energy Consumption Nightmare

Other tips:

  1. Smarter Switches
    Install motion-detecting switches that turn off lights when a room is empty.
  2. CPU Myth
    Shut down your PC if it will be idle more than 2 hours. The idea that turning a computer off and on shortens its life is a relic of the mainframe era.
  3. Bright Idea
    Use compact fluorescent bulbs. New models illuminate just as well as incandescents -- and operate on just over one quarter of the power.
  4. Cold Truth
    Keep your refrigerator or freezer full; it operates more efficiently that way. Low on food? Keep a container of ice in the freezer.

Source: Popular Mechanics

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    Keep in mind that CFL lifetimes are greatly reduced when used for brief periods of time, but often. While constant evening-time lighting is generally on for the duration of evening activities, in places like the bathroom, where the bulb is on for 1-10 minutes at a time (but can turn on 10-20 times a day depending on the number of tenants), the energy benefit of switching to CFL is offset by the shortened lifespan. – crasic Apr 13 '11 at 2:03
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    Huh? For incandescent they quote 3285 KWh per year is about 9 KWh per day or 400W of lights turned on for 24 hours (or more lights for a shorter time). If you simply turn lights out when not in the room, doesn't that seem like a bit much? – Paul Apr 13 '11 at 4:06
  • @Paul: Yeah, that's a bit high. They also forgot to lower the heating bill by 9 KWh per day. :) – Lennart Regebro Apr 13 '11 at 7:31
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    @Ernie: In some places you do, yeah. The point being that this chart is only valid in places where you never heat (and for that matter, never use air conditioning). – Lennart Regebro Jul 27 '11 at 3:26
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    This answer is highly misleading: The chart assumes 150 bulb hours per day, while the question suggests 3 to 4 bulb hours per day. So the electricity savings will be closer to $10/year than $500 – eigensheep Mar 22 '17 at 11:25

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