Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: The Basics

It is a common misconception that the energy-saving light bulb is a relatively new invention. It was, however, first invented back in the 1940s in collaboration between George Inman and General Electric. Known as a ‘compact fluorescent bulb’ or a CFL, these energy-efficient bulbs work on entirely different principles than the incandescent bulbs invented by Thomas Edison. As they begin to come to prevalence over the conventional older bulbs, it is important for the public to understand how CFLs differ from incandescent bulbs, and why they are a more efficient lighting solution for the vast majority of homes and businesses.

CFL bulbs function as a result of an electric current passing through a mixture of argon gas and mercury vapour. As the current passes through the mixed substance, the mercury vapour emits an ultraviolet light, which then interacts with a layer of phosphor on the side of the CFL. This emits photons in the visible light range and illuminates the area. This is why CFLs initially need more electricity and take a few seconds to ‘warm up’; the electric current flow must be generated to an appropriate level before the bulb hits its full brightness. Once this flow has reached its maximum amount a CFL uses a good deal less energy than an incandescent bulb to provide the same level of illumination.

The main difference between energy-efficient light bulbs and incandescent light bulbs is that the newer, more eco-conscious models have no filament. Incandescent bulbs rely on heating this filament to produce light, so without such a process in place, the new bulbs reduce the amount of heat energy wasted by massive amounts. The lack of filament also means that there are less parts to ‘burn out’ or falter as time goes on. CFLs have life spans that can reach into the decades depending on their usage; the initial price of the CFL is slightly higher than an incandescent bulb, but their longevity ensures they will outlive their energy-wasting predecessors and end up saving money in the process.

The energy-saving bulbs that are on the shelves today come in a vast variety of shapes and wattages, with different bases to ensure that those wishing to install them need not make wholesale changes to their electrical configurations. They are available for use with dimmable switches as well as spotlights and other decorative or feature lighting, making them one of the most diverse ways to light up a room. Their cost-effective nature combined with their green credentials, which are always being improved upon in the latest technological advancements, are just two of the many reasons why the switch to CFLs and energy-saving lighting solutions cannot be ignored.

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About BLT Direct:  BLT Direct are an online supplier of lighting solutions.  They provide a wide range of lighting products, as well as light fittings and lamp disposal services, and are committed to offering energy efficient solutions to meet a wide range of home and business lighting needs.



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