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It’s Too Dark In Here, Give It A Minute: The CFL

My husband is a huge fan of the CFL and I am on the fence. I have learned all about the positive properties. The benefits are definitely undeniable, but quite frankly, when I need to seeI need to see. I know, that seems a bit selfish when talking about going green and saving energy. I apologize, but this is me trying to be truthful and to learn more about the CFL in the process. Come with me and explore.

CFL
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I have had the pleasure of working closely with the Platte River Power Authority on an education mission about CFL’s and I have done my own research and internet searches to better enlighten myself. All under the guise of learning to be more tolerant of the slow warming issue I have. So, perhaps I should step backwards before rolling ahead.

A CFL is a compact fluorescent lamp. CFLs use less power and have a  longer rated life. Although the lamps can cost more than incandescent lamps they can save in electricity costs over the their lifetime, as much as 40 dollars compared to incandescent lamps. Most of this information I have learned through the Platte River Power Authority. And for the information I had forgotten, I refreshed my memory with the help of Wikipedia.org.

In my opinion the lamps have a few bugs that are irritating. If not used properly, they can be as wasteful as an incandescent lamp. The lamps are meant to warm up slowly and are ‘happiest’ when left on for more than 15 minutes at a time. Unfortunately, we have been sold an idea with little instruction. We go out and buy these lamps to save energy, which even used less efficiently, they do save energy, however we quickly can end up like me and frustrated. If you have the lamps in a high traffic area such as a hallway or the kitchen in the midnight snacking hours, the lamps are more likely to be turned on and off repetitively without proper warming. This practice will drain the life of a CFL nearly as quickly as an incandescent lamp. And in general as they get older they produce less light than they did right out of the package. So, now you have an elementary idea about the CFL and I apologize for being redundant if you already knew all the blah blah.

And now my reason of ranting and raving with a dash of education.

Incandescents reach full brightness a fraction of a second after being switched on. CFLs turn on within a second, but many still take time to warm up to full brightness.The light color may be slightly different immediately after being turned on. Some CFLs are marketed as “instant on” and have no noticeable warm-up period, but others can take up to a minute to reach full brightness, or longer in very cold temperatures. Some that use a mercury amalgam can take up to three minutes to reach full output. This and the shorter life of CFLs when turned on and off for short periods may make CFLs less suitable for applications such as motion-activated lighting.

I agree, I should likely be looking more carefully at the labels and make sure that I am getting the shortest warm up lamp, but as it stands today, I have the lamps that decide to fully illuminate my kitchen just in time for me to have completed making lunches for the kids and then I shut them off.  I am however, getting quit handy at doing most tasks in the dark. A few more years with my current CFLs and I might be ready for some reality show that gives prizes to contestants that can maneuver everyday minimal tasks in the shortest amount of time in the dark.

All ranting aside, I love being as green as possible. I recycle, I use CFLs and most importantly, I am teaching my children to do the same.

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