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Difference Between Incandescent Bulbs and Fluorescent Lamps

Incandescent Bulbs vs Fluorescent Lamps

The two most common types of lighting fixtures today are incandescent bulbs and fluorescent lamps. Incandescent bulbs are rather old and outdated while fluorescent lamps are relatively new and is replacing incandescent bulbs in a lot of applications. The biggest difference between the two is in how they produce light. Incandescent bulbs produce light by a heating a metallic filament until it starts to radiate light. On the other hand, fluorescent lamps produce light by exciting a gas and causing it to glow.

The newer and more technologically advanced fluorescent lamps have better characteristics compared to incandescent bulbs, the most important of which is efficiency. In order to produce the same amount of illumination as a fluorescent lamp, an incandescent bulb consumes anywhere from 4 to 8 times as much power. Much of the wasted power in incandescent bulbs turns to heat. Although the generation of heat is sometimes desirable, like in incubators, it is often just a waste of energy and money.

Another key problem of incandescent bulbs is their relatively short lifetime. Although improvements have been made to increase its lifespan, the filament still burns out pretty quickly. Fluorescent lamps last much longer than an incandescent bulb, making them preferable since you would not need to change them as often.

Although fluorescent lamps are cheaper in the long run as they last longer and consume a lot less power, the initial cost of using it is much higher compared to incandescent bulbs. Aside from the bulb itself, you would also need to purchase a ballast, a starter, and the fixture that would hold everything together. There are compact fluorescent bulbs in the market today, and they are very similar to incandescent bulbs, but they already contain all the needed elements in it; thus the much higher price.

Some people do prefer the warm light produced by incandescent bulbs, which is more like the light from the sun, compared to the clinical white light produced by fluorescents.

Summary:
1. Incandescent bulbs produces light from a heated filament while fluorescent lamps produce light by way of a gas discharge
2. Incandescent bulbs are way more inefficient than fluorescent lamps
3. Incandescent bulbs produce a lot of heat compared to fluorescent lamps
4. Incandescent bulbs do not last as long as fluorescent lamps
5. Incandescent bulbs are much cheaper compared to fluorescent bulbs
6. Incandescent bulbs produce a warmer light than fluorescent bulbs


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6 Comments

  1. CFLs emit approximately the same amount of visible light as incandescents, but they last 8 to 15 times as long and provide significant energy savings. The use of more efficient lighting options, such as CFLs, is one of easiest and lowest-cost ways for the nation to reduce electricity use and greenhouse gases. However, CFLs and fluorescent lamps can only be considered truly green lighting options when used lights are stored and transported to recycling facilities in a package that is proven to effectively contain mercury vapor. Find out more about safe packaging at vaporlok.blogspot.com.

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  3. i was here 4 some problem 2 be solv

  4. The lifespan of CFLs is actually no better than incandescent bulbs.

    In my home, I installed about half incandescent and half CFLs. In less than four years, I have had to replace most of the CFLs. None of the incandescent bulbs have failed yet.

    I am replacing all of the $15 CFLs (as they burn out) with incandescent bulbs that cost less than $1.

    What a scam.

    Hopefully, the LED technology will be more useful.

  5. I live in a colder climate and CFL lights are useless, they take about 5-10 minutes to warm up and emit the same amount of light as a regular incandescent bulb, that doesn’t sound like that big of an issue but I’m having to turn on the bathroom lights, garage lights, driveway/front entrance lights and kitchen lights on every morning then I go start getting ready for the day. I’m glad these lights are “efficient” because if they weren’t I’m sure my electric bill would go up because of the stupid warm-up time.

    • (eyeroll) When these bulbs were introduced to New Zealand, we had some…and replaced them almost at once, as the warmup time was maddening, the light was horrible and the pretty, straw coloured walls looked a sickly yellow. The lights also showed up every flaw. The person who papered our walls hadn’t taken all the old paper off, and this didn’t show at all…until we had the new lights. Then it did !!!

      I wouldn’t have these lights as a gift. I wouldn’t have them if they cost nothing to run.

      My incandescent bulbs last for a long time. I know that one lasted 2 + years, because the one before obligingly blew on New Year’s Day !

      I have been stockpiling the incandescents as some companies are not going to make them any more and the others give me headaches. I find it hard to read by them and they make things and people look ugly.

      Britain’s leading eye specialist has bought a lifetime supply of incandescents, and I hope that I have enough to see me out. I will continue to buy a few when I go to the supermarket, as I am afraid that our busybody Greens will try to have them banned.

      The cost of incandescents is minute; it’s false economy to use the others.

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