CFL Knowledge


How does a compact fluorescent light bulb work?

Fluorescent light bulbs (including compact fluorescents) are more energy-efficient than regular bulbs because of the different method they use to produce light. Regular bulbs (also known as incandescent bulbs) create light by heating a filament inside the bulb; the heat makes the filament white-hot, producing the light that you see. A lot of the energy used to create the heat that lights an incandescent bulb is wasted. A fluorescent bulb, on the other hand, contains a gas that produces invisible ultraviolet light (UV) when the gas is excited by electricity. The UV light hits the white coating inside the fluorescent bulb and the coating changes it into light you can see. Because fluorescent bulbs don’t use heat to create light, they are far more energy-efficient than regular incandescent bulbs.

What’s the difference between a compact fluorescent light bulb and a fluorescent bulb?

The primary difference is in size; compact fluorescent bulbs are made in special shapes (which require special technologies) to fit in standard household light sockets, like table lamps and ceiling fixtures. In addition, most compact fluorescent lamps have an “integral” ballast that is built into the light bulb, whereas most fluorescent tubes require a separate ballast independent of the bulb. Both types offer energy-efficient light.

What compact fluorescent light bulb do I buy to replace an incandescent (regular) bulb?

While a regular (incandescent) light bulb uses heat to produce light, a fluorescent bulb creates light using an entirely different method that is far more energy-efficient — in fact, 4-6 times more efficient. This means that you can buy a 15-watt compact fluorescent bulb that produces the same amount of light as a 60-watt regular incandescent bulb.
Don’t worry about the math, though — we make it easy for you to figure out which compact fluorescent bulb to buy by displaying the equivalent regular watts you’re used to prominently on the package. Just look for the wattage you would normally buy in a regular bulb.
In case you’re curious, here are the watts needed by regular incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent bulbs to produce the same amount of ligh Standard Bulb CFL Bulb
40w = 10w
60w = 13w-15w
75w = 20w
100w = 26w-29w
150w = 38w-42w
Because the wattage of a CFL bulb is much lower than that of an incandescent, you can use higher wattage CFL giving you the equivalent light of a higher wattage incandescent. For example: If your fixture says not to exceed 60 watts, you can use a 15 watt CFL to get the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb or use up to a 42 watt CFL and increase the amount of light.

Can I use a compact fluorescent light bulb with a dimmer switch?

To use a compact fluorescent bulb on a dimmer switch, you must buy a bulb that’s specifically made to work with dimmers (check the package). Gold Union makes a dimming compact fluorescent light bulb that is specially designed for use with dimming switches. We don’t recommend using regular compact fluorescent bulbs with dimming switches, since this can shorten bulb life. (Using a regular compact fluorescent bulb with a dimmer will also nullify the bulb’s warranty.)

Why does my compact fluorescent light bulb flicker or appear dim when I first turn it on?

The first compact fluorescent bulbs flickered when they were turned on because it took a few seconds for the ballast to produce enough electricity to excite the gas inside the bulb. Thanks to the refined technology in our new Gold Union compact fluorescent bulbs, there is now no significant flicker (less than 1 second). However, these bulbs do require a short warm-up period before they reach full brightness, which is why they may appear dim when first turned on. Compact fluorescent bulbs are best used in fixtures that are left on for longer periods of time, rather than in fixtures that are turned off and on frequently.

Can I use a CFL in applications where I will be turning the lights on/off frequently?

Compact fluorescent light bulbs work best if they are left on for over 15 minutes each time they are turned on. These types of lamps can take up to 3 minutes to warm-up. Warm-up will probably not be noticeable from a user stand point, but the lamp needs to warm-up in order to reach the point of most efficient operation. Frequently switching them on and off will shorten the life of the product. If the life of the lamp is shortened significantly, you will not reap the financial benefits (includes energy & life of lamp), that are common to CFL lamps.

I have heard CFLs can overheat and smoke – should I be worried? Why does it happen?

The vast majority of CFLs reach the end of useful life and fail passively. In some cases, electronic components in the ballast power supply (such as capacitors and resistors) may fail in a manner that will result in some smoke, odor, or discoloration (browning) of the plastic housing. The failure of some electrical components can result in an audible “popping” or “sizzling” sound. It is the function of the ballast housing to contain such failures and prevent the plastic or failed components from igniting. Gold Union are CE ROHS EMC SAA SASO GS qualified and meet UL standards, which require the materials to be self–extinguishing. It is the nature of fire retardant materials to exhibit some deformation or discoloration in a protective mode. At the first sign of any odor, smoke or erratic behavior, disconnect power to the lamp. Allow it to cool and unscrew it from the socket by the handling the base, not by the glass.

What is mercury, what are the sources of mercury emissions, and what are the risks?

Mercury is an element (Hg on the periodic table) found naturally in the environment. Mercury emissions in the air can come from both natural and man-made sources. Utility power plants (mainly coal-fired) are the primary man-made source, as mercury that naturally exists in coal is released into the air when coal is burned to make electricity. Coal-fired power generation accounts for roughly 40% of the mercury emissions in the U.S. EPA is implementing policies to reduce airborne mercury emissions. Under regulations issued in 2005, coal-fired power plants will need to reduce their emissions by 70 percent by 2018.

How much heat (or infrared radiation) is emitted by regular, halogen, and compact fluorescent light bulbs?

Regular light bulbs, known as incandescent bulbs, create light by heating a filament inside the bulb; the heat makes the filament white-hot, producing the light that you see. Halogen light bulbs create light through the same method. Because incandescent and halogen bulbs create light through heat, about 90% of the energy they emit is in the form of heat (also called infrared radiation). To reduce the heat emitted by regular incandescent and halogen light bulbs, use a lower watt bulb (like 60 watts instead of 100).
Fluorescent light bulbs use an entirely different method to create light. Both compact fluorescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes contain a gas that, when excited by electricity, hits a coating inside the fluorescent bulb and emits light. (This makes them far more energy-efficient than regular incandescent bulbs.) The fluorescent bulbs used in your home emit only around 30% of the heat of their equivalent incandescent bulb, making them far cooler.

Method for clear the Hg

This product should not be disposed with other household wastes throughout the EU. To prevent possible harm to the environment or human health from uncontrolled waste disposal, recycle it responsibly to promote the sustainable reuse of material resources. To return your used device, please use the return and collection systems or contact the retailer where the product was purchased. They can take this product for environmental safe recycling.
Instructions on how to clean up the lamp debris in case of accidental lamp breakage:
Because CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, recommends the following clean-up and disposal guidelines
1. Before Clean-up:
*Air Out the Room? Have people and pets leave the room, and don’t let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out.
*Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
*Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.
Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces
*Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and
place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
*Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass pieces and powder.
*Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place towels in the glass jar or plastic bag.
*Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.
3. Clean-up Steps for Carpeting or Rug:
* Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
*Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
* If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.
*Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.
4. Clean-up Steps for Clothing, Bedding, etc.:
*If clothing or bedding materials come in direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from inside the bulb that may stick to the fabric, the clothing or bedding should be thrown away. Do not wash such clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage.
* You can, however, wash clothing or other materials that have been exposed to the mercury vapor from a broken CFL, such as the clothing you are wearing when you cleaned up the broken CFL, as long as that clothing has not come into direct contact with the materials from the broken bulb.
*If shoes come into direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from the bulb, wipe them off with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels or wipes in a glass jar or plastic bag for disposal.
5. Disposal of Clean-up Materials
*Immediately place all clean-up materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area for the next normal trash pickup.
* Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials.
*Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states do not allow such trash
*disposal. Instead, they require that broken and unbroken mercury-containing bulbs be taken to a local recycling center.
6. Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming
*The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window before vacuuming.
* Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.