While the precise wattage of a fluorescent light fixture depends on its design, fluorescent lights generally use around 25 percent as much energy as a comparable incandescent bulb. This is due to the fact that fluorescent fixtures produce far less heat, allowing them to convert more energy into visible light.
Incandescent bulbs produce light by feeding current through a resistor wire, usually made of tungsten. As the current flows through the wire, it heats up and begins to glow. Traditional incandescent bulbs only convert around 5 percent of the electricity that flows through the wire into light, and the rest is released as heat.
Fluorescent lights, on the other hand, have no filament resistor. Instead, the electric current excites mercury inside the bulb, vaporizing it and causing it to release ultraviolet photons. These photons interact with a phosphor coating on the inside of the bulb, producing light. Since less energy is converted to heat, a fluorescent lamp can produce the same light as an incandescent bulb while using a small fraction of the wattage.
Since the wattage of a bulb can be an imprecise way of measuring its light output, many manufacturers have taken to rating their bulbs by lumen output. A 60-watt incandescent, for instance, puts out around 800 lumens of light.Learn More
Disposing of fluorescent light bulbs is only dangerous if the bulbs are broken or not handled properly, according to Fox News. The small amount of mercury in a single fluorescent bulb is enough to pollute 6,000 gallons of water, which makes proper disposal essential.Full Answer >
A 24-inch fluorescent light fixture is a common type of light fixture that measures 24 inches in length and uses fluorescent light tubes rather than standard incandescent bulbs. These fixtures can be purchased in most home improvement and hardware stores.Full Answer >
Most types of fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury and should only be disposed of at a recycling center or waste collection agency that accepts hazardous materials. Disposing of fluorescent bulbs and tubes with normal garbage risks releasing mercury into the environment and is prohibited by law in several states.Full Answer >
An incandescent light bulb emits 90 percent of the energy it uses as heat. Thus, a 75-watt light bulb produces 68 watts as heat. Most of the power used goes to heating up a tungsten filament, which glows at 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit.Full Answer >