The energy saving lamps are just Compact Fluorescent Lamps – CFL. The most important advantages of these lamps are: the energy efficiency – they spend 20% of the energy required by a normal light bulb (Incandescent light bulb) to produce the same light output; the longevity, an average of 10 times the lifespan of an incandescent light bulb; possibility to choose the color temperature: cold white, neutral and warm white lamps.
You could say that the compact fluorescent lamp, or in other words energy saving lamp, is a fluorescent bulb, created to replace the incandescent light bulbs. A tube is used in CFL, which is coiled spirally or curved in a way to fit in the space occupied by a normal light bulb.
The opponents of CFL argue that the manufacturing of these lamps and their processing after the end of their life cycle are much more expensive. However it is a technological problem, in nature, that is gradually being solved.
CFL lamps have a high inrush current, after which they convert into a stable inexpensive norm. It is not recommended switching them on and off frequently, not only because of the high inrush current but also it can cause a shortening of their lifespan.
As a guide the CFL must be on for a minimum of 15 minutes, for each inclusion of the energy saving lamp.
Another important thing to pin point in the long and trouble-free use of economical bulbs is that they shouldn’t be placed under a closed glass ceiling, because, although CFL do not heat up like the incandescent light bulbs, still with time the temperature inside the glass ceiling rises causing a shortening of their lifespan. Also it is not recommended to use CFL outdoors where the temperatures can fall significantly or there can be moisture and condensation, because these conditions can be fatal to the lamp.
There are specially developed CFL for outdoor usage. They have a special layer or ceiling, which protect
them from the environmental conditions.
After unpacking the lamp it is recommended to hold only the base and not to touch it’s spiral tube. Being a week source of ultraviolet electromagnetic radiation it is inadvisable for the lamp to work in close proximity (10-20sm) to the human body.
In an average household about 10% of electricity consumption is used for lighting. By replacing all light bulbs with CFL lamps the annual cost of electricity is decreased by about 100 BGN. The higher initial cost of energy-saving lamps is offset by their higher lifespan and being more energy efficient.
The luminosity of CFL decreases over time, as their critics claim but this happened in the dawn of their production, many years ago. Modern lamps even at the end of their electric resource give a lower output by only 5-10%.
One of the biggest fears of the pessimists criticizing CFL technology, are that the lamps manufactured by it are „poisonous.“ This is not true!
In reality there is a negligible amount of mercury in each energy saving lamp – about 2g, but while the lamp is intact, it is completely safe. While the lamp is working, it does not emit mercury vapor and the light spectrum is no different than that of fluorescent lamps.
If you do break an energy saving lamp you should carefully collect the broken pieces and throw them in the trash without using a vacuum cleaner. The small amount of mercury, which would be vaporized by a broken lamp, quickly scatters away and unless you are extremely close to the broken parts (inches away), it is harmless.
No matter how long the life of a CFL lamp is, at one point it just ends and the lamp stops working. To keep the environment clean we need to take lamps in the hypermarkets, where we’ve bought them and leave them in the places specialized for dangerous waste, if there are such if not we should conserve them until the arrival of a mobile collection point for hazardous waste.