Let me say upfront that I am seriously not a fan of the CFL, so this is going to be a biased blog. (But all the facts are true! I promise!)
In 2007 Congress voted that the United States would phase out the incandescent light bulb in favor of the more energy efficient CFL. Some in Congress today want to repeal the mandate. They want to give us the freedom of choice. Yay for them!
Pros for CFL's:
- Uses 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
- They contain trace amounts of mercury. The amount is not large enough to pose a hazard to users, but it does become a concern at landfills where the mercury from many bulbs can escape and contribute to air and water pollution.
- There are very specific clean-up and disposal instructions for if you break a CFL bulb in your home.
- Color rendition is bad and inaccurate. When manufacturers "fix" this problem by mixing phosphors (I won't get into all the technical mumbo jumbo about what this is), this causes a loss of efficiency and increases the cost of the bulb. Personal note - these bulbs are especially bad in the bathroom and putting on your make-up, where correct color is a must!
- They hum or buzz, which is especially noticeable in a quiet room. And the buzz becomes louder when they are "dying", which can take months.
- They take 30 seconds to achieve full brightness.
- When used outdoors and in cold weather the time it takes to achieve full brightness might take a few minutes or the bulb might not turn on at all.
- They are larger than traditional light bulbs, so even though the socket will fit, the bulb itself may not fit in the light cover or lamp shade or with the existing harp (the thing that holds the lamp shade up).
- One really big con is that the US is losing manufacturing jobs with the closing of incandescent plants. In this economy we should be finding ways to keep or add jobs in the US, not cut them.
GE has already shut down incandescent bulb manufacturing plants and plan to completely phase out these bulbs next year. EEEK! I've gotta get a stock pile started! Cause I am not going to use crappy CFL's.
**Please also read this update post about the light bulb ban.**