Learn more about energy efficient CFL bulbs

variety of CF bulbsA bulb for every socket

You can purchase energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs for a variety of fixtures and uses, including dimmable bulbs, three-way bulbs, bulbs in traditional A-line, globe and candle shapes, bulbs for recessed can fixtures, and bulbs for outdoor use.

Bulb brightness: CF bulbs come in a range of light "colors" measured on the Kelvin temperature scale. Look for the "K" number on bulb packaging or the color description to get the color of light you want.

  • Warm white or soft white, standard color of incandescent bulbs, 2700K - 3000K
  • Cool white or bright white, good for kitchens and work spaces, 3500K - 4100K
  • Natural light or daylight, good for reading, 5000K - 6500K

Dimmers: Bulb manufacturers recommend replacing the dimmer switch when you install dimmable CFbulbs. A new switch will sense the lower range of electricity needed to power a dimmable CF bulb.

Avoid bulb burnout

Hold the bulb by the plastic ballast, not the glass spiral, when installing, or use a thin cloth if you must grasp the spiral. (Oil from your fingers causes uneven distribution of heat and shortens the life of the bulb.) Don’t force the bulb, just gently screw it in.

Use these bulbs in spots where you leave a light on for 15 minutes or longer. Frequently turning a CF light on and off will shorten the bulb’s life.

Special uses: be sure to buy bulbs specifically marked for exterior fixtures, recessed can fixture or dimmer-controlled fixtures.

Standard CFLs are only meant for indoor use in a lamp or fixture with a standard on-off switch. With proper use, they should last 8,000 hours, 10 times as long as a standard bulb.

  • Do not use these bulbs in fixtures with a dimmer switch, three-way switch, light or movement sensor or timer.

  • Do not install these bulbs in a recessed can fixture. For this type of fixture, choose bulbs marked “indoor reflector.”

The straight skinny on compact fluorescent bulbs and mercury

Compact fluorescent bulbs contain 4 to 5 milligrams of mercury, sealed within the glass tubing of the bulb. Manufacturers are working to reduce the mercury to 1 to 2 mg per bulb, but it’s an essential part of the light’s efficiency.

No mercury is released unless the bulb gets broken. (Remember those old mercury thermometers? They held about 500 mg of mercury.)

Coal-fired power plants are the leading source of mercury emissions in the U.S. By using 75 percent less electricity, CF bulbs save mercury emissions from power plants. Even counting the mercury inside bulbs, the total amount is half what’s produced to power an incandescent bulb.

If your bulb breaks, first air out the room for 15 minutes, then clean up the fragments using a damp paper towel or duct tape. Place fragments and clean-up materials in a glass jar or double sealed plastic bags, and place in the trash.

When your bulb burns out, please recycle it so the mercury and other materials can be reused. See local recycling locations at right.

The straight skinny on compact fluorescent bulbs and mercury

Learn more about LED bulbs

Lighting rebates

Click here for rebate offers from local utilities for residential and commercial lighting upgrades.

Where to recycle CF bulbs
and buy more bulbs

Valley Lumber
2495 Railroad Ave.
(970) 625-0100

Ace Hardware
1011 Highway 133
(970) 963-6663

Energy StarBe sure to buy bulbs with the ENERGY STAR logo.

Other places to
recycle CF bulbs

Brite Ideas Bulb Recycling
Collecting at
All-Phase Electric Supply
5392 County Road 154
Glenwood Springs, Colorado 81601
Open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays
(513) 504-6887
* Fees apply

Holy Cross Energy
3799 Highway 82
Glenwood Springs
(970) 945-5491