The Differences Between CFLs and CCFLs

Apr 14, 14 The Differences Between CFLs and CCFLs

By now, almost everyone knows what a compact fluorescent, or CFL, lamp is. If they don’t know what it is by name, they certainly know it by its twisty shape resembling the top of a soft-serve ice cream cone. But if I were to ask you what a cold cathode, or CCFL, fluorescent lamp is, would you be as confident in your answer? Although CFL and CCFL bulbs may have a similar look, they do have their differences, with advantages and drawbacks to each one. This post will give you a rundown of the differences between CFL and CCFL bulbs while helping you decide which type is best for your specific lighting needs.

Hot vs. Cold Cathodes

First things first: although CFL and CCFL bulbs both use a ballast and cathodes to produce light, the temperature, type, and durability of the cathodes vary. The most common type of fluorescent bulb is the “hot cathode,” or what most people know as a standard CFL. In standard CFLs, the cathodes are constructed of a thin wire tungsten filament that is heated to temperatures reaching at or above 900 degrees Fahrenheit when the lamp is turned on. Heating the cathodes in standard CFLs causes them to release electrons that react to the mercury in the glass tube to create ultraviolet (UV) radiation, eventually producing visible light. This reactive process that standard CFLs go through to produce light is why they usually take at least 30 seconds to reach full brightness.

On the other hand, the cathodes in CCFLs are not heated by a filament. Instead, CCFLs use cathodes that do not require filaments to heat up. These cathodes resemble small metal thimbles that reach temperatures of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. While nothing about these cathodes is actually “cold,” 200 degrees Fahrenheit is considerably cooler than the 900-degree temp of the hot cathode.

Start Times and On/Off Cycling

Whereas standard CFLs have delayed start times of 30 seconds or more, CCFLs are instant-on, taking little to no time to reach full brightness. This is because the process of heating up a CCFL bulb is much quicker and requires less heat to create visible light. The thimble-like, metal construction of the cathodes in CCFLs, like the one to the right, are also sturdier than the thin filament used in standard CFLs and are able to handle around five times the amount of voltage.  This is why CFLs and CCFLs react differently to frequent on and off cycling. If you’ve ever had a CFL bulb burn out on you quicker than it was supposed to, it may have been because it was switched on and off a lot in a short amount of time.  The weaker cathodes in standard CFLs cannot handle frequent surges of electricity. This makes cold cathode bulbs ideal for use in flashing signs and residential applications where lights are often switched on and off.

Dimming

Litetronics MicroBrite MB-500DL Dimmable CCFL

Litetronics MicroBrite MB-500DL Dimmable CCFL

It’s no question that dimmable CFL technology has advanced over the years and will continue to do so, but there are still differences between dimmable CFLs and CCFLs. As I mentioned above, the cathodes of standard CFLs must reach extremely high temperatures to produce light. Dimming a CFL bulb requires the amount of voltage being received by the ballast be reduced, also reducing the temperature of the cathodes and causing CFLs to have limited dimming capabilities. This is where the lower operating temperatures of cold cathode fluorescent lamps present an advantage. Dimmable CCFLs require much less heat to produce visible light and can be dimmed to as low as 5 percent of their original light output. Traditional CFLs, although improving, typically can only be dimmed to about 20 percent.

Rated Life Hours

Now that you know that the cathodes in CCFLs are able to withstand more than the filament cathodes in standard CFLs, it’s probably no surprise that CCFL bulbs have longer rated lives. With proper use, CFLs can last anywhere from 8,000 to 15,000 hours, depending on the rating. While that is still impressive, CCFLs are able to last as long as some LED bulbs on the market with life hour ratings up to 25,000 hours.

All of the information above considered, choosing between CFLs and CCFLs is very dependent on what is best for a particular application. If you’re looking for a bulb that can withstand cold weather, frequent on and off cycling, or has flexible dimming capabilities, CCFLs will be your best bet. However, CCFLs tend to be offered in lower wattages and don’t have lumen outputs equivalent to standard CFLs, which are able to reach incandescent equivalents of up to 150 watts in household applications. Either way, compact fluorescent lamps are a cost-effective lighting solution that will help you save energy.

Do you have any more questions about hot and cold cathode fluorescent light bulbs? Leave us a comment or reach out to us on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest!

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1000Bulbs.com’s Energy Savings Calculator Shows Benefits of Energy Efficient Lighting

1000Bulbs News Ribbon

In order to help their customers better understand the cost benefits of switching to energy-efficient alternatives, Internet lighting retailer, 1000Bulbs.com, has created their own Energy Savings Calculator to accompany all compact fluorescent and LED lamps on their website. Earlier this year, the last phase-out of general service incandescent bulbs enforced by the Energy and Independence Security Act of 2007 took effect. Due to these incandescent bulbs no longer being produced by manufacturers, the demand for energy-efficient lighting that meets EISA standards is growing rapidly.

Launched in January of 2014, the 1000Bulbs.com Energy Savings Calculator has the ability to show customers everything they need to know about the savings that comes with energy-efficient lighting. By taking the wattage of the individual CFL or LED replacement, the wattage of its incandescent equivalent, the number of bulbs being replaced, and the rate charged per kilowatt-hour, the calculator automatically computes the amount customers can expect to save over the life of a single CFL or LED. As the first online lighting retailer to have a calculator of this kind, 1000Bulbs.com is committed to educating consumers on the many positive aspects of upgrading to energy-efficient lighting.

LED and CFL Energy Saving Calculator

1000Bulbs Energy Savings Calculator

“We want to make sure that our customers feel confident before making an investment in the products we carry,” says 1000Bulbs.com CEO Kim Pedersen. “Our new Energy Savings Calculator provides the important cost and savings information they need in order to feel that making the switch to energy-efficient lighting is the right choice.”

1000Bulbs.com Energy Savings Calculator,for LED and CFL Bulbs

1000Bulbs.com Energy Savings Calculator Extended

For customers who are looking for more in-depth savings analysis, the calculator can be expanded to show the total kilowatts and kilowatt hours saved per year, the total amount saved on energy costs per year, and the number of months before they can expect a payback on their investment. This Energy Savings/ROI calculator features customizable fields that can be adjusted to accommodate each client’s unique lighting needs and specifications.

Although energy-efficient bulbs are typically more expensive compared to incandescent bulbs, they have been proven to last up to 50 times longer, consuming only a fraction of the energy used by their incandescent counterparts. While it used to take years, it now only takes a matter of months to see payback for the purchase of an energy-efficient bulb. The 1000Bulbs.com Energy Savings Calculator assures customers that the savings incurred over the life of an LED or CFL will more than make up for any initial and future maintenance costs.

About 1000Bulbs.com: 1000Bulbs.com is an award-winning Internet-based lighting retailer. The company offers everything from simple, household light bulbs to cutting-edge specialty lighting systems. Nationally recognized for growth, innovation, and customer satisfaction, 1000Bulbs.com is an influential force in the lighting industry.

Feel free to leave a comment or reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus or LinkedIn!

Contact:
Kim Pedersen
1000Bulbs.com
972-288-2277 Ext:207
ceo(at)1000bulbs(dot)com

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The Truth about the EISA Light Bulb Ban

Dec 27, 13 The Truth about the EISA Light Bulb Ban

Lately, one of the hot topics of discussion in the news has been the last phase-out of the incandescent light bulb, set to take effect January 1, 2014. When Americans were told that the incandescent light bulbs they had become so familiar with would slowly cease production due to new government regulations, many panicked. Although the incandescent light bulb isn’t something that many Americans would typically put on the top of their list of things to worry about, the idea that something so familiar and everyday would no longer be available angered them. However, contrary to popular belief, the so-called “light bulb ban” does not mean the extinction of the incandescent light bulb. Lighting retailers like 1000Bulbs.com will continue to work with manufacturers to produce the bulbs that many people use in common residential applications such as table lamps, floor lamps, and track lighting.

The Energy and Independence Security Act

The Energy and Independence Security Act of 2007 (EISA) was signed by President George W. Bush in an effort to curb the country’s high energy consumption and push consumers towards more energy-efficient lighting solutions. In Section 321of the EISA, it states that, after certain dates, general service incandescent lamps that do not meet the efficiency requirements set forth by the government can no longer be produced in the United States. Because almost all standard incandescent lamps did not meet EISA standards, the slow phase-out of the incandescent bulb would happen within three years, from January 1, 2012 to January 1, 2014.

According to the EISA, screw-based light bulbs must consume less wattage, or energy, for a similar lumen output, or brightness.  The first bulbs to be affected by the government regulations were 100-watt incandescents in January of 2012. Then, in January of 2013, 75-watt incandescent bulbs began their phase-out as well. Now, in January of 2014, 60-watt and 40-watt incandescent bulbs will begin the transition. By the year 2020, most light bulbs will be required to be 60 to 70 percent more energy-efficient than the standard incandescent bulb of today.

Below is an example of how much less wattage today’s light bulbs will be required to use in compliance with EISA standards:

Present Wattage                          Wattage Use after EISA                                      Effective Date

100-watt                                               ≤ 72 watts                                                     January 1, 2012

75-watt                                                 ≤ 53 watts                                                      January 1, 2013

60-watt                                                 ≤ 43 watts                                                      January 1, 2014

40-watt                                                 ≤ 29 watts                                                      January 1, 2014

Light Bulb Ban Myths

Since the signing of the EISA, many myths about the light bulb ban have circulated, resulting in some angry reactions from those who think incandescent light bulbs are being made illegal or completely disappearing from the face of the earth. Below are some explanations of these myths that will, hopefully, clear a few things up.

Myth #1: All incandescent light bulbs will completely disappear after the New Year

Simply put: This is 100 percent false. Although the EISA is preventing manufacturers from continuing to produce general service incandescent light bulbs as inefficiently as they had been, it does not forbid retailers, including 1000Bulbs.com, from selling their existing inventory. It also does not forbid the use of the remaining incandescent bulbs in any way. 1000Bulbs.com will still continue to sell traditional incandescent light bulbs for six months to a year, or until all stock runs out. This gives customers plenty of time to stock up on their favorite bulbs.

Myth #2: The bulb ban will increase the amount of money people have to spend on lighting their homes

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s no secret that energy-efficient lighting has made major strides in popularity over the past couple of years. LED lighting has become one of the go-to lighting sources for everything from office buildings to art installations because of how little energy they use. While it’s true that the initial cost of energy-efficient lighting like LED and compact fluorescent bulbs is notably higher than the traditional incandescent bulb, the amount of money saved over time will make up the difference. For example, a 23-watt CFL can produce the same amount of brightness as a 100-watt incandescent, using a fraction of the energy. Check out our blog post on how energy-efficient lighting can save you money for more detailed information.

Myth #3: The Mercury in CFL bulbs will be harmful to you and your home

As we have mentioned in a previous post, the mercury levels in a CFL are nothing to be overly concerned about. While the amount of mercury in a CFL can vary, the US EPA’s Energy Star program determined that there is about 4 milligrams in an average screw-based CFL with an Energy Star rating. To put it in perspective, that is about the size of a ballpoint pen tip. Even though the mercury levels in a CFL are relatively small, you should always exercise caution if one breaks and dispose of the bulb properly.

The Exception to the Rule

Although general service incandescent bulbs are being phased out, the new laws do not apply to many specialty application lamps, including those that fall under the category of “rough service.” Besides being sturdier for their use in heavy-duty applications, rough-service bulbs work in the same way as traditional incandescents and come with a similarly inexpensive price tag. Manufacturers only have to add extra supports around the filament of an incandescent light bulb in order for an incandescent to be considered rough-service. This is why the incandescent light bulb will continue to be produced and sold through lighting retailers like 1000Bulbs.com. Whereas many big-box stores will stop re-ordering incandescent lighting after the New Year, 1000Bulbs.com will continue to provide the incandescent bulbs that many have gotten so used to using in their household fixtures.

For a comprehensive list of incandescent bulbs exempt from the light bulb ban, click here.

 

What are your thoughts on the EISA light bulb ban? Let us know in the comments below or send us a message on FacebookTwitter, or Google Plus!

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1000Bulbs.com Expert Clarification on EISA Incandescent Light Bulb Ban

Ribbon

As the New Year quickly approaches, the start of the last phase-out of incandescent light bulbs is also drawing nearer. Beginning January 1, 2014, manufacturers will no longer be allowed to produce the same 40-watt and 60-watt incandescent bulbs, commonly used for residential applications such as floor lamps, table lamps, and track lighting. Although these restrictions were put in place to push consumers toward more energy-efficient lighting solutions, retailers like 1000Bulbs.com will continue to sell the incandescent light bulb.

In December of 2007, President George W. Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), also known as the “Energy Bill.” Among other government mandates that aim to cut down the country’s energy consumption, the EISA of 2007 orders that a light bulb meet certain efficiency requirements in order to be produced and sold by manufacturers. Under this new law, incandescent screw-based bulbs must have a comparable lumen output, or brightness, while using less wattage, or energy. Bulbs must also be 60 to 70 percent more efficient than present incandescent light bulbs.

The light bulb laws of the EISA first began to take effect in January 2012, when 100-watt incandescent, screw-base bulbs could no longer be produced as inefficiently as they had been. The following year, in January 2013, 75-watt incandescent bulbs also began their phase-out. Starting January 1, 2014, manufacturers will no longer be allowed to produce 40-watt and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs that do not meet the new efficiency standards.

There are many myths associated with the light bulb ban. One of these myths is that incandescent bulbs are disappearing from the marketplace forever; this is untrue. Although light bulb manufacturers will cease production of incandescent light bulbs that fail to meet the new efficacy standards imposed by the EISA, customers should not be worried about finding them after the New Year. These banned bulbs will still be available for sale through retailers, such as 1000Bulbs.com, for six months to a year, or until all existing inventory has been sold. This means that customers will still be able to stock up on remaining incandescent bulbs for quite some time after production has stopped.

In addition, 1000Bulbs.com will still be working with manufacturers to continue to produce incandescent lighting. By adding extra supports around the filament, the incandescent bulb will fall under the category of “rough service.” Working in the same way as traditional incandescents, these sturdier rough service bulbs have a similarly inexpensive price tag and will be available in all wattages. Whereas brick-and-mortar businesses will stop re-ordering incandescent light bulbs after the New Year, 1000Bulbs.com will continue to provide the incandescent bulbs that consumers have become accustomed to using in their household fixtures.

For more information about the EISA Light Bulb Ban, check out our other blog posts:
blog.1000bulbs.com

About 1000Bulbs.com: 1000Bulbs.com is an award-winning Internet-based lighting retailer. The company offers everything from simple, household light bulbs to cutting-edge specialty lighting systems. Nationally recognized for growth, innovation, and customer satisfaction, 1000Bulbs.com is an influential force in the lighting industry. Follow @1000Bulbs on Twitter for the latest company announcements.

Tell us in the comments below what you think about the Bulb Ban, or drop us a line on FacebookTwitter, or Google Plus!

 

Contact:
Paul Coppage
1000Bulbs.com
972-288-2277 Ext: 157
pcoppage(at)1000bulbs(dot)com

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1000Bulbs.com Honored by Dallas 100 Award from SMU Cox School of Business

Visit 1000Bulbs.com for your lighting needs!

 

For the seventh consecutive year, internet lighting retailer 1000Bulbs.com has been honored by the Dallas 100™ Awards, placing 44th amongst 100 of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the Dallas area for the year 2013. Co-founded in 1990 by the SMU Cox School of Business and the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship, the Dallas 100 Awards are now in their twenty-third year of recognizing the growth of independent companies and the entrepreneurs behind them.

In order to qualify for the Dallas 100, a company must meet criteria based on a number of factors such as legal status, location, sales history, credit report, and character. The guidelines for this year’s awards are as follows:

  •     Are independent, privately held corporations, proprietorships or partnerships (not subsidiaries or divisions of a parent company) as of May 1, 2013. Must have at least 3 years history and not be a non-profit organization,
  •     Be headquartered in the Dallas Metroplex area,
  •     Have sales of more than $500,000, but less than $75 million in fiscal year 2010,
  •     Have a three-year sales history which reflects growth during the three-year sales period, and
  •     Have a credit report and character satisfactory to the Dallas 100, determined at the sole discretion of the Dallas 100.

Founded in 1995 as Service Lighting and Electrical Supplies by CEO Kim Pedersen, 1000Bulbs.com now has one of the largest selections of lighting products in the country. Having recently expanded to include home décor lighting, designer furniture, antique model replicas, automotive lighting, and hydroponic supplies, 1000Bulbs.com now has over 30,000 products on its website. “We’ve come a long ways, but have much further to go,” says Pedersen. “We’re consistently striving for the best experience for our customers and not resting on just being a good retailer.”

Since first being recognized by the Dallas 100 Awards in 2007, 1000Bulbs.com has increased its annual sales by 83 percent, continuing to establish itself as an influential force in the retail lighting industry. Now employing over 200 workers, 1000Bulbs.com occupies more than 220,000 square feet of office and warehouse space in Garland, Texas.

About 1000Bulbs.com:

1000Bulbs offers everything from simple, household light bulbs to cutting-edge specialty lighting systems. Nationally recognized for growth, innovation, and customer satisfaction, 1000Bulbs.com is an influential force in the lighting industry. Follow @1000Bulbs on Twitter for the latest company announcements.

Feel free to leave a comment or reach out to us on FacebookTwitter, or Google Plus!

Contact:
Paul Coppage
1000Bulbs.com
972-288-2277 Ext: 277
pcoppage@1000bulbs.com

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