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Is the energy savings of Compact Flourescent Lighbulbs overstated?

If a regular lightbulb wastes energy by putting out most of it via heat… then doesn't that heat your house in the winter?

I'm a card carrying member of the Sierra club. But- in the winter- we use that heat output, and it would theoretically save us some on heating bills. Perhaps shifting the energy use from fossile fuel heat to perhaps a cleaner source of electricity.

they still will save energy- but just not as much as claimed.

right?
joe S- you missed the point. the 45 watts that you save is mostly heat. If you are paying to heat your house in the winter, then this extra 45 watts was helping you heat it.

on the flip side- I live where it's hot, and that extra heat generated needs to be cooled with an air conditioner which is inefficient. So, it might take me 100 watts to cool that 45 watts of extra heat. So- maybe there is some additional benefit for hot climates!!!

If you didn't heat the bulb with 45 watts of electricity, you'd use 45 watts worth of oil. That's more efficient than using the oil to make electricity and send it to you.

So the loss there isn't as big as you think.

Plus, the amount of time you heat your house isn't that much unless you live very far North.

The bottom line is that this is one of the best and easiest ways for the country to save a very large amount of energy, even with the heating thing. It does make the savings a little less, but a little less is about the right idea.

Mike
 

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MARK B - January 3, 2009

NO. What's really overstated is how long they're guaranteed to last! What a croc. Mine are blowing their brains out after a yr and a half to two yrs. Supposed to be 7-10 yrs – no, I don't leave them on all the time. Normal use to replace the 'old' ones.
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joe s - January 3, 2009

If a 15 W CF bulb puts out as much light as a 60W incandecent bulb, you are saving 45W.

The untold story about CF bulbs is that they contain mercury. Disposal is an issue.
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Carnac - January 3, 2009

You are correct sir, the waste heat from light bulbs may offset heating cost to some degree. But the opposite is true in hot weather. That heat will make more work for the air conditioner. Overall it's probably a draw.

I agree with the guy above about the life of CF bulbs. I've been using them for years and they never last more than 3 or 4 years.
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Bob - January 3, 2009

If you didn't heat the bulb with 45 watts of electricity, you'd use 45 watts worth of oil. That's more efficient than using the oil to make electricity and send it to you.

So the loss there isn't as big as you think.

Plus, the amount of time you heat your house isn't that much unless you live very far North.

The bottom line is that this is one of the best and easiest ways for the country to save a very large amount of energy, even with the heating thing. It does make the savings a little less, but a little less is about the right idea.
References :

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