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Advantages and Disadvantages of Energy Saving Light Bulbs

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Generally, energy-saving light bulbs – also known as compact fluorescent lamp or CFL – are seen as the better alternative to incandescent bulbs. Energy saving light bulbs generate the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs. But as the name implies, they utilize less energy. This leads to lower utility bills and reduced carbon footprint. But are they really better than the older lighting solution? Let’s find out!

Advantages of Energy-Saving Light Bulbs

Longer Life Span

Energy-saving light bulbs do not come cheap, but one bulb will last for years! Some experts say these devices can pay for themselves because they last a very long time. To illustrate, an incandescent bulb will last about 1,000 to 2,000 hours. On the other hand, a typical energy-saving light bulb will last 10,000 hours before burning out. LED bulbs could last 25,000 to 50,000 hours before dying out!

Please note that the lifespan of a light bulb depends on usage and environmental conditions. But you can expect energy-saving light bulbs to last longer than incandescent bulbs.

Less Energy Usage

Part of the reason why energy-saving light bulbs are so popular is because they are extremely energy-efficient. One bulb uses 75% less energy than an ordinary incandescent bulb. Apart from using less energy, energy-saving light bulbs also generate less heat. This makes it safer than an incandescent bulb, which heats up and explodes from overuse. Energy-saving light bulbs are also less expensive than the newer LED bulbs. Both are energy efficient and have long lifespan.

Disadvantages of Energy-Saving Light Bulbs

It’s Expensive

Although energy-saving light bulbs are cheaper than LED bulbs, they are still more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs. But this is just at the start of replacing incandescent bulbs with energy-saving light bulbs. Initially, one energy-saving light bulb will set you back $2 to $15. The cost will depend on the brand. But one 100 watt LED bulb cost $50 so between the two, energy-saving light bulb is cheaper.

Safety Concerns

You have to dispose of energy-saving light bulbs properly. Energy-saving light bulbs contain a small amount of mercury. If the bulb breaks, it becomes a health hazard. Also do note that at the end of its lifespan, an energy-saving light bulb will self-destruct as a safety precaution. The bulb will generate a puff of smoke or even scorch plastic housing. This is why first-generation energy-saving light bulbs cause minor fires. Newer energy-saving light bulbs do not seem to share this feature.


Energy-saving light bulbs break down easily if you keep turning the lights on and off. This means it’s not the ideal lighting solution for places where lights are frequently turned on and off. In addition, energy-saving light bulbs do not power up right away. Unlike incandescent bulbs that reach their full light in seconds, energy-saving light bulbs will take more time to achieve full light.

So which is better for your needs? Despite its disadvantages, energy-saving light bulb is the better lighting solution, compared to the incandescent bulb. They are just safer, more energy efficient. Sure, the initial cost is very high but over time, you won’t change lights as frequently. You save more on electricity and decrease your carbon footprint.

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