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Put the new bulbs in!

25 February 2008

I get a lot of questions about compact fluorescent light bulbs – for better or worse, they’re definitely the poster child of residential energy efficiency – and I hear this response a lot:

“Oh, I have the new bulbs, I’m just waiting for my old bulbs to burn out before I put them in.”

At face value, there’s nothing wrong with this approach. After all, your old incandescents don’t last that long, so leaving them in until they burn out seems practical – squeeze all the use out of them you can! But when you look deeper, this isn’t the best idea. In fact, it wastes money and energy when you already have the tools you need to save. Incandescents are big, big energy wasters – in fact, over 90% of the power we send to them are spent as heat rather than light. That’s why they get so hot – they’re wasting energy. The longer you leave them screwed in, the more money you’re wasting and the more carbon dioxide pollution you’re creating.  And in the end, you can’t recycle incandescents, so they’re going to end up in the landfill no matter how long they’ve been burning.

The energy smart solution is to get rid of those incandescents right away, regardless of how much life they have left in them, and switch to energy efficient compact fluorescents that will start saving you money the second you screw them in. Get rid of the old, put in the new.

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