Our experts, BioRegional's Tom Hill and B&Q's Stef Neron, have answered some of your most common queries about energy saving light bulbs. What they don't know about bulbs really isn't worth knowing.
Should I wait until my old bulbs blow before switching?
Do energy saving light bulbs take a while to warm up?
Can I use a dimmer switch?
Can I use a 13W energy saving light bulb that's equivalent to an old 60W bulb in a lampshade that has a sticker saying "max 40W"?
How do I dispose of energy saving light bulbs safely?
Tom says: Bulbs are delicate things and care should be taken when removing it from its packaging, installing it or replacing it. Always screw and unscrew the bulb by its base and never forcefully twist the efficient bulb into a light socket by its tubes.
Energy efficient bulbs are perfectly safe to use in your home but CFL light bulbs do contain mercury. No mercury is released when these bulbs are in use and they pose no danger when used properly. If you accidentally break one take a few simple steps to ensure your safety. Open as many windows as possible and leave the room for at least 15 minutes. When you clean up the mess, use rubber gloves and put all the bits in a plastic bag, don't use a vacuum cleaner. When that's done wipe the area where the bulb broke with a damp cloth and put it in the bag with all the bits. Take the contents to your local household recycling centre who will be able to safely dispose of the broken bulb for you.
What about migraines?
Stef says: There were a limited number of media reports in the past by people who suffer from reactions to certain types of energy efficient bulb and these were almost certainly triggered by old technology which operated on a low frequency of 60 cycles per second. This is not the case with new energy efficient bulb technology, which now operates on a high frequency, refreshing at between 10,000 and 40,000 cycles per second, far too fast for the human eye or brain to detect4.
Headaches are often a result of eyestrain from concentrating on something like a TV, book or computer when there isn't enough light. When you replace your traditional incandescent bulbs make sure you pick a replacement that provides the amount of light you actually need. If you are unsure why not take your traditional bulb in and ask for help in store?
Does it take more energy to produce an energy saving light bulb?
Are traditional light bulbs being phased out?
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