What are compact fluorescent lamps?
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are simply compact versions of the standard fluorescent lamps which are locally known as “tube”. The compact size of the CFLs allows them to replace incandescent lamps in many places.

Why should we use CFLs? CFLs do have some disadvantages, here they are:

There are many benefits in switching to CFLs:

  • CFLs use about 70% less energy to produce the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs. For example, a 15 W CFL can produce as much light as a 60 W incandescent. CFLs have such superior efficiency because they convert about 90% of electrical energy into light and the remaining 10% into heat. Incandescent lamps do exactly the opposite. Of course, all this means that your electricity bill will be lowered if you switch to CFLs.
  • In Mauritius, most of our electricity is generated from fossil fuels. Therefore, energy savings from CFLs mean that less oil and coil need to be burnt, and this in turn means less carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere. Hence, CFLs help combat global warming.
  • CFLs may last up to eight times longer than standard incandescent lamps.
  • CFLs give off a high quality light. Also, their electronic design mean that they don’t flicker and hum like old generation fluorescent tubes.
  • CFLs are not designed to be switched on and off frequently. According to CEB, the number of daily switch off should not exceed three. More frequent switching will reduce the CFL’s lifetime. Therefore, CFLs should not be used where brief illumination is needed.
  • Most CFLs cannot be used with dimmers and timers since this will reduce their lifetimes. Look for special CFLs for use with dimmers and timers.
  • When used outside, CFLs should be placed in waterproof enclosures.
  • Finally, it is important to note that CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury. This mercury is sealed inside the glass tube and is not emitted when the lamp is intact or switched on. However, if the lamp gets broken, mercury vapor will escape. More information on this mercury issue and how to handle broken CFLs is given below.

How much mercury do CFLs contain?

a) An average of 40 milligrams c) An average of 100 milligrams
b)An average of 50 milligrams d) An average of 4 milligrams