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LED Lights vs CFLs: What’s the Difference?

energy solutionsLEDs are known to be a great money-saving solution for Americans because they are energy efficient and long-lasting so homeowners and renters alike pay for less electricity each month and replace lightbulbs less often. The evolution of the light bulb began with Edison’s incandescent bulb, which has been replaced in many homes by compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). In recent years, LEDs have entered the market and gained popularity, and are often chosen instead of CFLs when replacing lights at home or at the office.

American homes began swapping incandescent bulbs for CFLs because CFLs helped save money on electricity as they gave off up to 80% less heat than the typical incandescent bulb. As a result, CFLs lasted nearly eight times longer than older, incandescent styles.

The problem with CFLs
CFLs may have been a great source of cheap electric lighting, but also came with a slew of problems like mercury contamination and the use of ultraviolet light. The mercury contained in the phosphors of a bulb could contaminate an entire space when a bulb broke. To this day, the process of cleaning the mess from a broken CFL is time-consuming and involved – the EPA recommends the following for handling the cleanup of a broken CFL:

  • Open all windows in the space in order to air out the room
  • Use a wet paper towel to clean up the glass shards and particles
  • Place glass and any used paper towels or regular towels used to clean the space into a sealed plastic bag
  • Do not use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the pieces of glass as it can then make the contaminated particles airborne

CFLs also gave off ultraviolet light, which could become a health concern for those sensitive to sunlight. Eight hours under CFLs could add up to a single minute in direct sunlight. In addition to health concerns for people, ultraviolet light could cause permanent damage to paintings and artwork stored in a room lit by CFLs.

The advantages of LEDs
LED lights (short for light-emitting diode) don’t contain mercury, unlike CFLs, and can produce light that is more similar to natural daylight. LED lights are more energy efficient, give off less heat, and reach their full brightness immediately, while CFLs often take 30 seconds or more to “warm up” to their full brightness.

While a CFL may last up to 8,000 hours, an LED can last up to 25,000 hours – that’s over three times as long! This can help to reduce a household’s electricity costs considerably, especially since the average American home spends up to $2,200 on their utilities every year.

LED lights can save you thousands of dollars over a period of 20 years on top of the savings you could see with home energy from a trusted, local electricity provider. To maximize the savings on your monthly electricity bills, consider investing in LED lights the next time you need to change a bulb.

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