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Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs Yield Quick Savings

In the past, I’ve written about saving money by transitioning to more energy efficient appliances. To save money on a smaller scale, I also discussed transitioning from incandescent to compact fluorescent light bulbs. To see how much you could save by making this small change, use the calculator provided by Westar Energy.

By entering the incandescent bulb wattage, number of bulbs, and hours of on time per day, the tool will calculate the monthly and yearly savings of making the switch. Knowing how much money you’ll save will allow you to determine how long the more expensive compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs will need to be used in order for the cost savings to be worth it. For example, a 60-watt incandescent bulb costs 38 cents more per month to operate for four hours per day than a CFL with equivalent light output. So if the CFL cost $4 more, it would pay for itself in $4/0.38 = 10.5 months. After that, the lower operating cost per month would be true savings. When comparing costs between bulbs, also realize that CFL bulbs tend to last nearly 10 times as long. If that average holds true for you, your savings will be realized even quicker because CFLs, though more expensive, do not cost 10 times as much as incandescent bulbs.

Lower wattage CFLs produce equivalent light because of their increased efficiency. The tool can also be used to determine which CFL wattage is equivalent to your existing bulbs, though most packaging will also provide this information.

As we have repeatedly shown how a small change in interest rate can make a huge difference when borrowing money, so too can a small savings in energy costs quickly add up. Though each bulb you transition from an incandescent to a CFL will only save a few dollars per year, the sum of all of the bulbs in your house will result in a savings substantial enough to make the change worth the effort.

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