Utilitech Compact Fluorescent Lamps ( CFL Bulbs )
A Utilitech Compact Fluorescent Lamp, or Utilitech CFL Bulb for short, is designed to directly replace the more traditional incandescent light bulb. Also known as Energy Saving Light Bulbs in Europe, will fit into any bayonet or edison screwthread lighting fixture.
CFL Bulbs work in exactly the same way as traditional fluorescent strip lighting used for decades in industrial applications. The only difference is now there exists technology to bend the fluorescent tube into a shape that will fit into the same space as a regular lightbulb. The other advancement in technology that has made CFL bulbs possible is the compact electronic ballast. An electronic ballast is a small circuit the regulates the electricity in the bulb, eliminating flicker.
How do CFL Bulbs Work?
Like all fluorescent lighting, CFL bulbs are filled with mercury vapour, an inert gas like argon or krypton and at luminous material like phosphorus.
When electricity is passed through the tube, the mercury vapour is “excited” which in turn activates the phosphorous material causing it to emit light.
The phosphorous material in the light is what gives it it’s colour, the more phosphorous you add to the light, the more like daylight the colour will become. However, there is a drawback, the more phosphorous you add, more electricity will be needed to power the bulb.
CFL Bulbs are Energy Efficient
A 20 watt Utilitech CFL Bulb will emit the same amount of light as a 100 watt incandescent bulb. That is 1/5th of the power of a traditional light bulb, imagine is you replaced all the incandescent bulbs in your home with Utilitech Lighting CFL bulbs, your power costs for lighting would be reduced by a massive 80%.
Because they are so energy efficient, CFL bulbs produce very little heat. This can be a great relief for anyone who has been used to the effect that their halogen recessed lighting has been having on their kitchen. You will also save even more energy there will be less need to use air conditioning due to the reduced heat.
They also have very long lives, where as the typical incandescent bulb lasts for around 1 year to 18 months, a CFL bulb will last up to 15 years.
There are Some Disadvantages
CFL bulbs used to cost considerable more than incandescent bulbs. As more people adopt them and they are manufactured in greater quantity, the price gap is slowly narrowing. Today a CFL bulb is only around twice the price of an incandescent.
All fluorescent type bulbs contains mercury vapour. This means that care has to be taken not to break the bulb, as the mercury vapour can escape, causing health issues. Mercury should not be disposed of in the normal trash. CFL light bulbs should be taken to specialist disposal centres. Information on you closest disposal centre will be available from your local municipality.
Warm up time is another minor disadvantage of the CFL bulb. Incandescent bulbs are “instant on”, reaching their full brightness as soon as the light switch is flicked. CFL bulbs may take up to 2 minutes to warm up and reach their full brightness. Because these types of bulb are only designed to work at one power rating, they are not suitable for dimmer switches.
Whatever the short comings of Utilitech CFL bulbs may be, one thing is clear, they use significantly less power than traditional bulbs. While new emerging technologies like LED may one day eventually surpass CFL, at this point in time they remain the most cost efficient and environmentally friendly option.