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Switching to CFLs: A Guide

18 December 2007

So you’ve decided that you want to save money and energy in your home and make a difference in the environment by pledging to switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs. Congrats! Using highly efficient CFLs makes a real impact in the world.

But, wait. What do I do with my old incandescents that haven’t burned out? Do I just throw them away? Doesn’t that create more waste? Where should I start replacing first? What kind of bulb should I get? How many should I buy? Where do I start!??!?!

Don’t worry. Here’s the Minnesota Energy Challenge step-by-step guide to introducing CFLs into your home:

  1. Take the Minnesota Energy Challenge (provided you are a MN resident) and pledge to replace at least five incandescents with CFLs.
  2. Walk around your house, and find the five lights that you have on the most – your dining room lights, kitchen lights, a hallway…whatever you use the most. Those will be the areas where you’ll get the most bang for your buck by switching.
  3. Write down the wattage and style of the five bulbs you want to replace. For example, if you have 60W floodlights in your kitchen, you want to remember to buy the equivalent CFLs.
  4. Go to the hardware store and buy your CFLs. See our FAQ on CFLs here for more information.
  5. Come home, install your new bulbs and congratulate yourself on being so energy smart.
  6. Take your old incandescent bulbs and put them in a box. You don’t have to throw these old ones away quite yet! Instead, use them in fixtures that you don’t use as frequently or for long periods of time, like closets or hallways. Once they burn out (which they will soon), then you can toss them.
  7. Promise to yourself that from now on, when you need to buy any light bulbs, you’ll make the smart choice and buy compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Don’t forget, CFLs need to be recycled! (PDF)

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