Energy Star Light Bulbs – Breaking Down the Myths

Energy Star light bulbs are one of the easiest and best ideas to save money on electricity. Despite their obvious money and energy saving advantages, many people still do not use them. If you’re one of them, you may have been dissuaded by one of the many pervasive myths about these light bulbs. By getting the facts you’ll see that using an Energy Star light bulb is good for the environment and good for your wallet.

Myth #1: Energy Star light bulbs contain toxic amounts of mercury.

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs, which are the only type of bulb to receive an Energy Star rating, do contain mercury. However, it’s far from toxic levels. The standard CFL bulb contains 3 to 4 milligrams of mercury. A regular thermometer contains at least 100 times more mercury – and we stick those in our mouths! The amount of mercury in CFLs is less than the mercury than would be released by coal power to produce the amount of energy used by a standard light bulb. There are specific clean up details for CFLs if you break one. Mainly you need to keep the room ventilated and clean up the glass thoroughly. Other than that, they are as easy to use as standard light bulbs.

Myth #2: Energy Star light bulbs harm the environment when you throw them out.

This myth is true, but there is a simple solution to this problem. Because of their mercury levels, CFLs are considered hazardous when they are thrown out. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, CFLs should not be thrown out with your regular trash. California, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington all mandate the recycling of CFLs. If your state is not on the list, add CFLs to your regular recycling or ask your city’s government about local policies. By recycling CFLs, you can still have the energy savings and environmental benefits of using this cleaner form of lighting.

Myth #3: Energy Star light bulbs make it hard to see/make you look terrible/don’t look right, etc.

When CFLs first came on the market, there was a lot of backlash against the quality of light emitted from the bulbs. While initial consumer CFLs were all made with the same lighting tone, there are now several different options. If you tried CFLs when they first came out and were disappointed, you may want to give them another shot. Most Energy Star bulbs now match the color of incandescent light, which is at 2700 to 3000K. If you want whiter light, look for 3500-4100K CFL bulbs. If you want bright white light with a bluish tint, which is great for reading, try 5000-6500K light bulbs.

If any of these reasons have been keeping you from trying CFL light bulbs, hopefully your concerns have been dismissed. The energy and environmental savings make using CFLs worth it.

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Cut your carbon footprint by following a few really uncomplicated energy conservation tips in your home and on the road.

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