And its something everyone can do, even those that are just renting. You folks in the dormitories may not be able to do it completely, but you can do a little. What is this I am speaking of? It’s pretty simple, doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars, but doing it can save you hundreds of dollars. I’ve already mentioned how simple it is and that everyone can do… but I haven’t mentioned that like blondes, they have there own category of jokes. (Example; Q: How many Church of Christers does it take to change a lightbulb? A: None. They don’t ever change anything.) With the exception of my garage door opener (it recesses a little to much), some appliances, and the stairway lights (can’t find C type bulbs), I have replaced all my incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). They use less energy and produce less heat. I’ll skip the whole thermodynamics lesson on how incandescents use heat to light up the bulb and just how much of that heat is wasted compared to CFLs. But less energy + less wasted heat is a good thing.
There are a couple of things to be aware of, since they don’t behave exactly like your standard incandescent light bulb. First off, it can take a couple of minutes before the bulb fully lights up. I have bulbs from two brands. GE and Philips. The GE bulbs are pretty good about providing a lot of light when they first get turned on. The warm-up time is most noticeable in the bulbs from Philips. Also, you can’t just use any CFL bulbs with a dimmer. You have to find a special bulb that is made for dimmer circuits. Also you’ll want to be careful to not break them. They contain a small amount of mercury. If one breaks, you can’t just vacuum it up. (In fact, you shouldn’t vacuum it at all.) It also means, that 7-10 years down the road when you need to replace a bulb, you can’t just throw them in the trash can. You have to take them to a recycling center or to a place that accepts recyclable goods.