While CFL has become very popular, LED (light-emitting diodes) is also an option that could save energy and money. They have both been around for some time and can provide you with excellent results when put in the right setting and for the right budget. If you are interested in options that are more efficient than incandescent fixtures, you want to choose between CFL and LED.
CFL Lighting Basics
Growing in popularity is the compact fluorescent lamp, better known as CFL. This is an energy saving light bulb that works in many of the same fixtures as those that take the standard incandescent bulbs. The CFL first came about in 1985 by Osram and has been increasing in popularity along with the increase in environmental conservation awareness. Many people are looking for new ways to reduce the amount of energy that they are using and increase the amount of savings that they experience in their utility bills.
The first thing to consider about CFL is the amount of energy that they can save. They are known to use as much as 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs do. In addition, they last on average six times longer than incandescent bulbs. This means that they are going to save you energy and thus save you money, both in the amount of energy used and replacement rate.
LED Lighting Basics
Light-emitting diodes or LEDs are a great alternative to incandescent light
bulbs. They first made an appearance in 1962 with a low intensity infrared light and were limited to red low intensity light. These lights have become very popular for industrial use and use in offices all over the world. They provide the perfect light for environmental lighting and had lower energy consumption to that of incandescent lights or CFLs.
LEDs use as much as 80 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb. In addition, in most cases they can outlive an incandescent light bulb by 25 times. You will see great savings in energy use and money. They are also more affordable than CFL bulbs making them a good choice for many people.
Annoyances of CFL and LED lighting
Unlike the early days of CFL, the humming and flickering of the bulbs has become far less. With this being said, some models of the CFL still produce this flickering and humming requiring that you look carefully at the type of CFL bulb that you are choosing. This is less of an issue in CFL bulbs than in LED lighting. In some cases the flickering and humming can be accounted for by a loose ballast or parts within the fixture itself. These bulbs have become far better regarding how silent they are over the past several years.
Safety Concerns for CFL & LED lighting
One concern when it comes to CFL bulbs is the hazards that come with them. They contain mercury which is toxic and can be hazardous. The amount of mercury contained in a CFL bulb is minimal at about one percent of the mercury you might find in a thermometer. If the CFL bulb is shattered you might be faced with a hazard. This can be avoided by purchasing a shatter resistant CFL bulb as sold by Philips and several other manufacturers. LED lighting does not have this same mercury issue to be concerned with. If you choose CFL bulbs you will want to learn how to properly dispose of them and how to handle any broken bulbs that you might need to handle.
Aesthetics of LED and CFL Lighting
Another difference between LED and CFL bulbs is the appearance of the bulbs. While CFL bulbs are spiral and may not look great in your home décor plan, LED lights offer a look that is more industrial. In recent years, the CFL bulbs that are available have been developed in different shapes and sizes to better accommodate your design. You will need to decide if recessed lighting is your desired choice or if you want something more visible. Recessed lighting is readily available for LEDs and it is easy to find a great look for this style with the LED bulbs. They are readily used in office buildings, basement family rooms and other areas where recessed lighting provide less use of space and better overall lighting.
Light Color and Tone of CFL and LED Lighting
You might find that the difference in light being emitted from the CFL and LED bulbs is also a deciding factor. There have come about a number of options for light color for the CFL bulbs, making it easy to get something that you will like for every room in your home. LED lights offer a number of options that include a
dimmable feature and even recessed lighting. These make it easier than ever to fit the look into your home or office décor. You may want a specific color or shade of light to fill the room. If this is the case, make sure that you are choosing the bulb that can provide you with this end result.
Outdoor Use of CFL and LED Lighting
When it comes to using the LED and CFL bulbs outdoors, they are both suited for the job. However, consumers in cold weather states might experience some issues relating to the sustainability of light for CFL bulbs vs. LED bulbs. LED bulbs seem to work better in the colder environments and may be a better option for outdoor spaces. Additionally, the LED lights are more durable in the cold temperatures giving them a longer lifespan and providing you with more bang for your buck. You will find that they are going to withstand the tough weather a lot longer and give you consistent lighting for the duration. This is great for patio areas, outdoor lighting around commercial buildings and even for lighting a work shed that is not heated.
Overall Cost Comparison of CFL and LED Lighting
You may be thinking which is going to be the most cost effective to purchase. The first thing to remember is that you need to get the best quality bulb you can, regardless of whether it is LED or CFL. The better quality the more lifespan it will have.
You will find that the CFL bulb is priced at between $2 and $15 if they are Energy Star qualified. This bulb will save you about $40 per bulb over the lifetime of the bulb. This means that you are likely to recoup your cost within 6 months of your purchase.
The LED bulbs for recessed lighting will run you between $25 and $75 depending on the type and size of bulb and whether they are Energy Star qualified or not. For the basic LED bulb you can expect to pay between $15 and $20 a bulb. You will likely see return on your investment in a few years. This is a total savings of about $70 over the entire life of the bulbs. This savings is fairly substantial and can provide you with excellent information to use in your decision making process.