CFL Full Form is Compact Fluorescent Lamp. CFL is a fluorescent bulb, which is compressed to the size of an incandescent bulb. In fact, they are the smaller versions of the standard fluorescent bulbs and consume very less energy. Thus they can directly be replaced in place of the standard ones. CFL has become increasingly popular due to the energy saving and environmental-friendly features. There is a direct reduction of over 70% energy when compared to the regular light bulbs.
Through the entire life of a single CFL light bulb, it can prevent 1 ton or 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from affecting or heating up the atmosphere. It also reduces the emission of sulfur dioxide and thereby the amount of acid rain. They have been a boon to the ozone layer prevention. We talk about the green earth and saving the environment and yet indulge in heavy usage of natural resources and energies. To help in saving energy there is a replacement for conventional incandescent bulbs and that is Compact Fluorescent Lamp / Light or CFL.
Conventional bulbs have a wire inside that heats up when the current is passed through it. Heating illuminates the bulb. On the other hand, CFL is a tube that contains argon and a small quantity of mercury vapor. The tube is either coiled or twisted and fit in the base of the lamp and is coated with a fluorescent coating that gets activated by an invisible ultraviolet light that is emitted when current is passed through the tube. This reaction converts the invisible light into visible light which illuminates the room.
CFL Full Form – Additional Information
To begin with, CFL needs comparatively more energy to start the heating process. However, once the electricity starts moving in the bulb the energy consumption is 70% lesser than the conventional bulb. There are electronic ballasts fitted in the bulb that help regulate the energy flow. Thus, till the time the current is stabilized, the CFL does not glow completely. For full power illumination, it takes about 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Nonetheless, as compared to incandescent bulbs CFLs last longer and are great power savers.
Usually, CFLs are made similar in fitting like conventional bulbs. However, some types have twisted screw on type fitting and require a suitable holder. CFLs contain mercury and hence should not be disposed of along with regular garbage; else the garbage burning can prove hazardous.
Selection of CFL
Once you decide to go green and introduce CFL lighting in your home or workplace, it is important to select the bulbs wisely to get maximum energy saving benefit.
There are a few guidelines that will ease the process of purchase.
- Decide the usage and placement of lights. Ascertain the positions where illumination is required and accordingly choose the strength of the bulb in the context of brightness.
- Select the bulb that has Energy Star logo. This logo indicates that the bulb has been manufactured as per set energy saving norms and meets the requirements of efficiency and longevity limits. Energy Star bulbs require less than a second for full illumination.
- Different work zones require different lighting intensities. Select the bulbs accordingly that suit the mood. The CFLs are available in various wattages like 15W, 12W, 14W etc. Even bulbs of 7 or 8 Watts give soothing light.
- Even though most CFLs are made to replace the conventional bulb in its same fixture, there are some that are the screw-on Make sure that you buy a suitable bulb to match the fixture / holder.
- Lighting comes in soothing shades. Pearly White light, yellow dim light, plain white light etc. Make sure that you purchase the color as per the placement and mood reflections. For example, a reading / writing area will be brightly lit with plain white light. Bedrooms, living rooms where soft light is preferred can very well have pearly lights to give a calm and peaceful effect.
Maintaining Your CFL for Optimum Use
CFLs are great energy savers and a wise replacement for incandescent bulbs. Nonetheless, it is essential to use them properly in order to get the best benefit from the purchase.
CFLs light up completely when the ballast regulates the current. They also take a while to reach the full lighting potential. Thus, it is advisable to leave them on for a longer time rather than switching them on and off every few minutes and in the bargain diminishing their life.
Selecting the lighting after thorough consideration makes more sense. While finalizing the wattage of bulbs to be purchased, it is essential to note the purpose of the lighting, size of the room and required strength of illumination. This way, you will purchase lights of proper wattage and thus reduce the number of bulbs per room.
CFL bulbs are not ideal to be used with dimmers unless specified by the manufacturer. Avoid using CFLs that do not support dimmers if you wish to have that arrangement in the house.
Just like other lighting bulbs, CFLs too get hot when used. However, the intensity of heat developed while currently is on is lesser than the one in the conventional bulb. Thus, in order to increase the lifespan of the bulb, do not use high-intensity bulbs in enclosed glass fittings. Leave them out in open yet away from direct heat source.
CFLs need protection from water and moisture. So in case you need to illuminate the external area, then use low to medium wattage bulb in an enclosure so that the heat developed is not too high to spoil the lamp.
Pros and Cons Of Using CFL
Every system has its ups and downs. The positive aspect of using CFL is that it saves energy and reduces the light bill. However, let us see at a glance some pros and cons of CFL.
- CFL are almost 75% energy savers.
- They last 7 to 8 times longer than conventional bulbs.
- They produce less heat when turned on.
- There is lesser chance of fire hazard.
- Since illumination is uniform and soothing, CFLs are ideally used for locations where bright light is required like attics, stores, etc.
- Not ideal for the hot environment.
- Not suitable for wet locations, without using enclosure.
- Do not attain full illumination instantly and need time to produce brightness as required.
- Purchase cost is much higher than incandescent bulbs. Example, a conventional 60W bulb may cost 10-15 rupees; but a CFL costs over 100 rupees.
- Cannot be used with dimmers unless specified on the package.
- Even though many CFLs can be used in the same fixture as an ordinary bulb, there are types that are screw-on and need suitable fixture.
Why Use CFL?
As per Government directives, it is essential to save resources and the biggest resource is electrical energy. If we use power wisely then it can benefit us in the long run. With current water crisis, there is little or no hope for the full-fledged production of hydro-electricity and thermal electric supply is costlier. With growing population there is greater demand for water and electricity so if we make an attempt to save power as much as possible it is for the betterment of the country.
Conventional bulbs use more power and give out more heat on use. It’s high-intensity heat reduces its lifespan considerably. On the other hand, CFL bulbs get less hot and have longer usage span. Incandescent bulbs have a service life of 750 to 1000 hours. But CFLs last for 6000 to 15000 hours that is almost 7-8 times more than conventional bulbs.
CFLs are made for both – alternate as well as direct current. These can also be used for street lighting using solar panels on the poles. Besides low electricity consumption, CFLs are also less polluting lights and hence promote green energy. Gradually, CFLs are also replaced by LED lights. However, till such time people adopt these LEDs, it will always be a prudent choice to use CFL as opposed to incandescent bulbs.