Did you know, most of the energy in a standard light bulb is wasted as heat? Only a small percentage of its power is used to make light. In this short guide you’ll learn about compact fluorescent light bulbs and how they can save you money.
There are many types of light sources, including old fashioned sources, such as a torch, and newer types, such as LED’s. But, two of the most prolific and well known nowadays are the incandescent light bulb, invented by Thomas Edison, and the fluorescent light bulb, invented by Nikola Tesla. Both of these types of light bulbs have their similarities, such as the use of electricity, and some fluorescent light bulbs are in the shape of the familiar globe, but the workings of the two types are very different. The fluorescent light bulb and the incandescent light bulb have many more differences than similarities, however, and their function and style are very different.
When people think of light bulbs, the first thing they think of is an incandescent light bulb. Globular in shape, with a warm light, tinted with yellows and reds, it is pleasing to the eye. Fluorescent light bulbs, on the other hand, tend to be shaped like a long tube (although a form of fluorescent light bulb has been made in the same shape as the incandescent, called a CFL (compact fluorescent light bulb), and have a much harsher color to the light, more blues and whites, which was one of the reasons that they were less popular than the incandescent.
Fluorescent light bulbs, nowadays, tend to look a lot more like incandescent, as they have changed the color temperature of the light bulb, and you see globe shaped fluorescents everywhere. This is a recent development, however. Also, the globe shaped fluorescents used to have to have a special socket, but now are made to fit the incandescent socket.
Now, while they do the same thing, providing light, they do it in very different ways. The incandescent light bulb creates light by sending electricity through a special wire, called a filament This filament heats up, and creates heat and light. Fluorescent light bulbs, however, use electricity to light a mixture of mercury and a gas (usually neon or argon), which creates light. One of the differences that this creates is that fluorescent bulbs waste less energy, and create more light, instead of heat. Incandescent light bulbs waste more energy on heat, instead of light, which makes them dimmer than fluorescent bulbs.
One difference between the incandescent light bulb and the fluorescent light bulb is how to dispose of them. Incandescent light bulbs are easily disposable, as there are no dangerous chemicals or elements in them. However, the mercury in a fluorescent light bulb does call for special care when disposing of them.
Another difference between the two kinds of bulbs is the shape of the bulb itself. Although there are now globe shaped fluorescent light bulbs that are usable in incandescent sockets, it wasn’t that way for a long time. Fluorescent light bulbs were only in long tubes, which had to have special sockets just for them, so they were not convenient to place, compared to the incandescent light bulb, which was globular in shape.
Also, they were much more expensive then incandescent light bulbs, so they were not viable for many people, even though they were more efficient. The color of the fluorescent light bulb was not as appealing either, with the harsh whites and blues. The incandescent light bulb had a much warmer red and yellow color.
Nowadays, however, globe shaped fluorescent light bulbs are common-place, and much cheaper. They also have had some changes to how they are made, which adds more reds and yellows to the color, making it not too different in color from the incandescent light bulb.
One interesting thing about these to types of light bulbs is the history of them, and some of the reasons why incandescent light bulbs were more popular than fluorescent light bulbs.
Back before light bulbs were used, when there wasn’t such a thing as a power line, there were two inventors. Thomas Edison was working on the incandescent, and Nikola Tesla was creating the fluorescent. The fluorescent bulb was more efficient, but Edison beat Tesla to the market, helped greatly by the money and political clout of General Electric. The fluorescent light bulb faded away into the background until years later, when it began to rise in popularity due to its dramatic energy savings.
Overall, my opinion is that switching to the compact fluorescent light bulb is a much better choice. It has similar looks to the incandescent light bulb nowadays, it saves energy, there are no fire hazards because of overheated bulbs, and you don’t have to get any special new sockets to install them, as the CFLs are usable in incandescent sockets. There is the problem of getting rid of the fluorescent light bulbs safely, but it is one of the few downsides to the fluorescent bulb. CFLs are available at most hardware stores and large discount chain stores.