CFLs Vs. LEDs Consumer Guide

A proper lighting in your home can make an enormous difference in your home’s ambiance and overall comfort of your home.

LEDs which have been used for decades in many opto-electronic components, are now making a strong move into household light bulb market. Can these more expensive, energy efficient, greener and longer lasting light bulbs replace the current King – CFLs in the near future as a lighting bulb product of choice for the environmentally conscious consumers?

Proponents of LED light bulbs claim that LEDs are not only energy efficient and environmentally friendly, but can also last 10 times longer than CFLs. One fact that is not often mentioned though, is that similarly to the early CFLs, modern (early) household LEDs provide only a limited amount of brightness that usually does not exceed the level provided by a 35-watt incandescent light bulb. This is considered to0 little for focused tasks like reading and writing for most people.

The higher price of LEDs and limited brightness is what makes choosing between CFLs vs. LEDs rather difficult. At any rate, it helps to know what each of these “green lighting alternatives” to incandescent light bulbs has to offer.

In a nutshell

You have surely seen many CFLs, or Compact Fluorescent Lamps. They have spiral shapes and are primarily used in homes as an affordable and greener (more energy efficient) alternative to incandescent light bulbs. Unlike their predecessor, incandescent light bulbs, CFLs do not contain any filament that produces a lot of heat and some light when the electricity passes through it. Only a small proportion of electricity goes towards light generation in incandescent light bulbs, while a great amount of electricity is wasted as heat. This renders incandescent light bulbs energy inefficient and is the reason why CFLs became a popular replacement option.

Further, frequent Ons and Offs can dramatically reduce a lifespan of incandescent light bulbs because of rapid expansion and contraction of the filament, which leads to a premature failure of incandescent light bulbs.

LEDs or light emitting diodes, produce light whenever an electric current passes through them. LED light bulbs are far more energy efficient and longer lasting than CFLs, but they also cost more, and have a rather limited brightness and narrowly focused light distribution range.

LEDs are illuminated by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material, there is no filament to burn out. Thus LEDs can last as long as a standard transistor, in theory. In practice, LEDs generate some amount of heat, and frequent Ons and Offs can lead to cracking of the epoxy and the circuit board, which can lead to a shorter lifespan than 50,000 hours (10 years) claimed by many.

Viable – Brighter LED Light Bulbs Alternatives

EvoLux LED Light Bulb

13 Watt EvoLux LED Light Bulb – 100 Watt Incandescent Replacement

EvoLux S 13 Watt LED Medium Base Light Bulb producing Warm White Light equivalent to a 100-watt incandescent light bulb (According to Manufacturer). It uses use multiple LEDs in a single casing to generate light. This bulb can be purchased for about $60 per bulb as of the date of this post May 1st, 2011. The price tag may still be too high for many homeowners to swallow.

Further, many people who have purchased LEDs for their home, report that the amount of light produced by EvoLux LED light bulb is no where near to what the manufacturer claims, and is roughly equivalent to the amount of light produced by the 60-75 watt incandescent light bulb. The narrow focus of the bulb is also a concern for many homeowners.

Concerns about Chemicals in CFLs

Typical CFL Light Bulb

CFL Light Bulb with a Characteristic spiral

LED light bulbs do not have any significant chemical content, while CFLs contain mercury and thus require a proper recycling. Recycling of old CFLs does not have to be difficult, though. You can simply return them to the hardware store where you originally bought them for a proper recycling. If the CFL light bulb breakage occurs, you and your family can be exposed to to the risks posed by the small amount of mercury it contains. Be sure to open the windows and properly clean and ventilate the space where the breakage occurred.

Heat Production is Minimal in LEDs

LED light bulbs generate a very small amount of heat compared to CFLs and incandescent light bulbs. Naturally, the risk of fire hazards is reduced. In fact, you can even touch the lamp itself without getting hurt. Most electricity goes directly towards producing the light in LEDs.

More savings for everyone

There is no denying that nowadays many people are making extra efforts to make ends meet. Thus, every opportunity wherein you will be able to earn bigger energy savings will come as a welcome thought especially to people who are environmentally conscious and green oriented, right? With LEDs many people can recoup the higher initial cost of LEDs in a few years. Thus LEDs, can actually be a cost effective alternative to CFLs event today!.

Benefits of LED Light Bulbs Vs. CFLs

LEDs get bright as soon as they are turned on. CFLs do not work that way. Instead, they need to be warmed up for about a minute in order to achieve their brightest.

CFLs are made of materials that break easily such as its glass tubing that is extremely thin. Thus, once dropped, they break into pieces making it useless. LED lamps are more durable because of their solid materials that are far less susceptible to breakage caused by the impacts like accidentally dropping the bulb.

Advantages of CFLs

Looking at the other side of the fence, CFLs also have their own share of benefits and advantages. Apart from its cost, CFLs can provide brighter lightning than LEDs. For those who prefer dimmer shades, newly released CFLs have available dim lights already. On top of it, LED technology is still new and therefore expensive and not yet fully developed.

Conclusion and Forecast

While immediate energy-cost savings from using LEDs are dubious at this point it time, the green benefits of using LEDs are quite clear. Cost-wise, LEDs will become more affordable and are likely to replace CFLs altogether at some point in the near future.

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