Full Form Of CFL – What Does CFL Stands For – Abbreviation * Acronym

Full Form of CFL: – Compact Fluorescent Lamp is the full form of CFL. It also is known as a compact fluorescent light or energy-saving light is a type of fluorescent lamp. Most CFLs are designed to replace incandescent lamps and fit into most existing luminaires.


Compared to general service incandescent lamps that give the same amount of visible light, CFLs use less energy and have a longer service life. The drawback is that they have a higher purchase price. Like all fluorescent lamps, CFLs contain mercury, which complicates their elimination.

CFLs radiate a different spectrum of light compared to incandescent lamps. The new phosphor compositions have improved the color of the light emitted by the CFLs in such a way that the best warm white CFLs are almost similar in color to standard incandescent lamps.

full form of CFL stands for abbreviation acronyms
Full form of CFL

Basic facts about CFL;

  • Compact fluorescent lamps use 70-80% less energy than other bulbs. When a 100-watt incandescent lamp is replaced, a CFL of 20 to 23 watts is used.
  • Compact fluorescents last approximately between 6,000 and 10,000, which is 8 to 13 times the life of an incandescent lamp (approximate life of 750 to 1000 hours).
  • Most compact fluorescent lamps have improved color reproduction. The light of CFL is a warm tone that is almost identical to that of an incandescent lamp. Most people cannot tell the difference.
  • Compact fluorescents are more cost-effective when used at least 4-5 hours per day.
  • Although compact fluorescent lamps may look different from ordinary incandescent lamps, they fit most of the standard accessories found in homes today. The threaded base is the same in both lamps.
  • The typical incandescent lamp wastes 90% of the energy it uses, producing heat instead of light.

Parts of CFL

There are two main parts in a CFL: the gas-filled tube and the magnetic or electronic ballast. An electric current from the ballast flows through the gas (mercury vapor), which causes it to emit ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet light then excites a phosphor coating inside the tube. This coating emits visible light. Standard CFLs do not respond well in attenuation applications and special lamps are needed when attenuation is required.

Life expectancy of CFL

The average life of a CFL is between 8 and 12 times that of incandescent lamps. CFLs typically have a nominal service life of between 6,000 and 10,000 hours, while incandescent lamps typically have a useful life of 750 hours or 1,000 hours.

CFLs produce less light with aging. The fall of the light output is exponential, and the fastest losses occur shortly after the first use of the lamp. At the end of their lives, CFLs can be expected to produce approximately 70-80% of their original light output.


Cost of CFL

While the purchase price of an integrated CFL is generally 3 to 10 times higher than that of an integrated CFL equivalent incandescent lamp, the extended service life and less energy use will be more than offset the higher initial cost.

Where do they come from?

Although compact fluorescent lamps are considered a fairly recent technology, this type of bulb actually had more than 100 years of manufacture.

Edward Hammer, an engineer at General Electric, invented modern CFL but it was not produced at that time due to high production costs. In 1980, Philips became the first manufacturer to mass-produce a compact fluorescent bulb with a screw base.

In the last 30 years, technology has continued to improve. Today’s CFL is smaller, produces more light per watt, warms more quickly, has better light quality and is much cheaper than previous years.

How do they work?

CFLs produce light differently than incandescent bulbs. In an incandescent, the electric current passes through a filament of wire and heats the filament until it begins to shine. In a CFL, an electric current is conducted through a tube containing argon and a small amount of mercury vapor. This generates an invisible ultraviolet light that excites a fluorescent coating (called phosphor) inside the tube, which then emits visible light.

CFL Longevity

It’s no secret: cheaper CFLs often burn out quickly. Sometimes, even a lot of branded light bulbs can be bad. I strongly recommend that you buy only CFL with the Energy Star seal or that you have a warranty. Energy Star bulbs must meet stringent service life specifications and must maintain 80% of the initial light output at 40% of their rated service life. (Energy Star)

It is a myth that frequent cycles (turning lights on and off) greatly reduce the life of the CFL. When CFLs fail, it is usually because they are cheap and poorly made, not because they have been turned on and off too. For example, a bulb with a service life of 6000 hours is switched on for 5 minutes and switches off for 5 minutes, a total of 3000 times.

Do CFLs need a ballast?

For a CFL to work properly, it needs to receive voltage through a ballast. There are two types of CFLs:

  1. Ballast not integrated CFL;

A non-integrated ballast is the type of CFL technology that we usually call a “complement”. This means that you will buy the ballast separately from the lamp and the ballast will be configured in the accessory. This is similar to linear fluorescents but is much smaller than a linear ballast.

  1. Integrated CFL or with its own ballast;

In order to replace incandescent and halogen lamps, Integrated ballast CFLs are created. Literally, remove the incandescent or halogen bulb and place a CFL bulb in the same socket. BUT, do incandescents and halogens need a ballast? No. Therefore, for these CFLs to work on a regular medium base screw socket, a ballast must be integrated into the CFL.

Where are they used?

Compact fluorescent lamps are continuously being improved and are ideal replacements in an increasing number of commercial and residential applications. In particular, screwed CFLs are ideal replacements due to the ease of updating. One can simply remove the old lamp and screw the CFL. Plug-in CFLs require both a specific socket and a ballast and therefore are more difficult to modernize.

Start time

Incandescent lamps reach full brightness a fraction of a second after being turned on. As of 2009, the CFLs are activated in a second, but even so, they can take time to warm up to reach the maximum brightness. Some CFLs are marketed as “instant” and do not have a noticeable warm-up period, but others may take up to a minute to reach full brightness or more in very cold environments.

Spectrum of light

The CFL light is emitted by a mixture of phosphors inside the tube, each of which emits a different color. Modern phosphor designs are a compromise between the shadow of light emitted, energy efficiency and cost.

The color temperature is indicated mainly in Kelvin.

Kelvin color temperature

‘Warm white’ or ‘Soft white’ ≤ 3000 K

‘White’ or ‘Bright White’ 3500 K

‘Cold white’ 4000 K

‘Light of the day’ ≥ 5000 K

The color temperature is a quantitative measure. The higher the number in Kelvin, the “colder” (bluer) will be the tone.

CFLs are also produced in other colors:

  • Red, green, orange, blue and pink, mainly for novel purposes.
  • Blue for phototherapy.
  • Yellow, for exterior lighting, because it does not attract insects.
  • Blacklight (UV light) for special effects.

Design and application problems.

An integrated compact spiral fluorescent lamp, with combined tube and electronic ballast. This style has a slightly reduced efficiency compared to tubular fluorescent lamps, due to the excessively thick phosphor layer at the bottom of the turn. Despite this, it has become one of the most popular types among consumers since its introduction in the mid-1990s.

The main objectives of the CFL design are high electrical efficiency and durability.


The CFL light output is approximately proportional to the phosphor surface area and the high performance CFLs are often larger than its incandescent equivalents.


Only some CF lamps are labeled for attenuation control. The use of regular CFLs with a dimmer is not effective to attenuate, can shorten the life of the bulb and will void the warranty of certain manufacturers.

However, adjustable CFLs are available. The attenuation range of the CFL is generally between 20% and 90%. Adjustable CFLs are not a 100% replacement for incandescent accessories that are dimmed for “mood scenes,” such as wall sconces in a dining room.

The perceived coldness of low-intensity CFL

When a CFL is dimmed, the color temperature (heat) remains the same. This is different from most other light sources (such as the sun or incandescent lamps) where the color warms up as the light source is dimmed.

The Emotional Response Test suggests that people find that dim and bluish light sources are cold or even sinister. This may explain the persistent lack of popularity of CFLs in rooms and other configurations where a dim light source is preferred.

Time to achieve total brightness

Compact fluorescent lamps can provide only 50-80% of their nominal light output at initial start-up and can take up to three minutes to warm up, and the background color may be slightly different immediately after turning it on. This compares to around 0.1 seconds for incandescent lamps. In practice, this varies between brands/types.

Outdoor use

CFLs that are not designed for outdoor use will not start in cold weather. CFLs are available with ballasts for cold climates, which can be rated as low as -23 ° C. Standard compact fluorescents will not work at low temperatures. The light output drops at low temperatures.

CFL light switches and illuminated.

The light switches that light when the main light is off may cause problems with the CFL. Illuminated light switches work bypassing some of the currents through the switch to turn it on when the switch is off, and that small amount of current also goes through the bulb.

Some CFLs are sensitive to even small amounts of current and may flicker when the switch is off. In addition to being annoying, this can also potentially burn CFL bulbs faster.

How good are CFL bulbs?

CFLs are a good compromise between the purchase price and energy savings. They are reasonably cheap to buy, with prices starting at just £ 2. This means that they will be paid for along with the energy savings compared to traditional incandescent bulbs.

They have a prolonged useful life of approximately 10,000 hours (approximately 10 years of use). This is not as long as the LEDs, which claim to last up to 25,000 hours. But it’s better than halogens, which last about 2,000 hours.

When should you not use a CFL?

The relatively high purchase price is justified less when the energy saving is small, in facilities that are rarely used. Instead, focus your investments on widely used accessories, for example, where the lamp will be on for an average of at least 3 hours per day. CFLs are not designed to be used with the vertical base position and not with electronic timers or photocell sensors, and their use with such devices can significantly reduce their life and cause other problems.

What are the disadvantages of CFL bulbs?

One of the main complaints about CFL bulbs is that they take a little time to warm up and shine when they are turned on for the first time. The newer CFLs are better at this, but it means that CFLs are not always the best choice for lighting on stairs or bathrooms, where you want your light to shine instantly.

When we tested light bulbs in the What? In the test lab, we measure the time it takes to light up to make sure we only recommend the fastest and brightest.

  • CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, so they must be recycled and you must be careful when handling them (especially if they break).
  • Some CFLs are not suitable for current switches, so if you want to dim your lights, be sure to check the box before buying a CFL.
  • Some CFLs cannot be used outdoors or work poorly in cold temperatures.
  • CFLs are not always suitable for stairs or bathrooms, as some light bulbs take a while to warm up and reach maximum brightness.
  • Some look quite different from old-style light bulbs and can be more difficult to obtain in small shapes, such as candles.

Should I buy CFL bulbs? 

CFLs are a good choice and they are the second type of energy efficient light bulbs behind LEDs. Be sure to look at our independent reviews before buying, as there are some flaws out there. The best examples of these bulbs offer a light that is close to your previous incandescent, lasts a decade and does not cost much.

How to buy CFL’s

When you buy CFL bulbs, the package will be labeled to show you how many watts it is equivalent to. For example, a 15-watt CFL bulb packet will say something like “equivalent to 60 watts”.

Although CFLs usually last years longer than regular light bulbs, the cheap type can burn quickly. Therefore, I recommend buying only CFLs with an Energy Star rating, or at least those that come with a warranty of more than 5 years. If the package says “lasts five years”, that is not good enough, you want a guarantee of more than 5 years.

Make sure you get a color temperature that you are happy with. The light bulbs you are replacing are probably “warm”, around 2800k. Everything above ~ 3500k will have a bluish tint, and the higher the blue, the more “cold” (blue) will be.

The CFL come in adjustable flavors and 3 modes of change, if you want those varieties. A normal 3-way CFL can be used in a 3-way socket (like any other 3-way light bulb), it will only produce the same amount of light as in a normal socket.

If you are in a super cold environment, keep in mind that most CFLs will be attenuated in very cold temperatures, and most will not work at temperatures below 20 ° F. (Paralite makes some of them claim that they will work up to less 20 ° F). If you are using them outside as reflectors, be sure to get the type that is labeled for use in cold weather.

How can I get the most out of my CFL?

  • Make the turn.
  • Thread your CFL holding the ballast (the white plastic part), NOT the glass tube.
  • Do not do it too fast. It will maximize the lifetime savings and effectiveness of your CFLs by keeping them for 15 minutes or more at a time.

Choose 3 for 3.

  • In three-way sockets, use only bulbs labeled as three-way.
  • Do not turn off a non-adjustable.
  • Use only bulbs labeled as dimmable on the current switches.

Check your controls.

Most photocells, motion sensors, and electrical timers are not designed to work with CFL. Always check compatibility with the control manufacturer.

Give them air

CFLs are sensitive to extreme temperatures, therefore, place them inside open installations. Its use in closed indoor installations can create a warm environment that reduces the useful life of your bulbs. Keep in mind that covered reflectors are best used in built-in cans.

Protect them outside.

Protect the light bulbs from the elements by placing them inside the closed accessories outdoors. For colder climates, look at the package for optimal operating temperatures.

Efforts to encourage adoption

Due to the potential to reduce power consumption and pollution, several organizations have encouraged the adoption of CFLs and other efficient lights. The efforts range from publicity to raise awareness, to direct distribution of CFL to the public. Some utility companies and local governments have subsidized CFLs or provided them free of charge to customers as a means to reduce electricity demands (and, therefore, delay additional investments in generation).

How much mercury is in a CFL?

The amount of mercury in each light is very small (an average of 5 milligrams, roughly equivalent in size to the tip of a ballpoint pen) and sealed inside the glass tube of the CFL. In comparison, there is up to five times that amount of mercury in the watch battery on your wrist; notably, between 60 and 200 times that amount of mercury in a single “plated” dental fill in people’s mouths, depending on the size of the amalgam.

How do I discard used CFLs?

Some retailers may have established collection programs where consumers can bring their old CFLs for recycling and some organizations may conduct recycling training. Consumers can also communicate directly with their local municipal solid waste agency to inquire about the delivery points of the CFLs.

What happens if my CFL breaks?

If a CFL breaks in your home, there is no need to be alarmed: the small amount of mercury in the bulb is unlikely to cause damage, especially if you take some simple precautions to ensure safe cleaning of the broken bulb.

Things to do with a broken CFL are as follows:

  • Before cleaning, open a window. Turn off forced air heating or air conditioning.
  • Clean; Collect the shards of glass and dust instead of sweeping or vacuuming, which can disperse the mercury. Use duct tape to collect the glass fragments or the remaining powder. Wipe the area with a damp paper towel or wet wipes.
  • Elimination of cleaning materials; Discard the broken bulb through the local hazardous waste program in your home. Place all cleaning materials outside the building in a garbage container area for the next normal garbage collection, then wash your hands.
  • Future cleaning of carpets or carpets; Ventilate the room during and after vacuuming. If it is necessary to vacuum after removing all visible materials, vacuum the area and remove the vacuum bag, discarding it in a sealed plastic bag. At least the next time you vacuum, turn off the central forced air heating/cooling system and open a window before vacuuming.

CFLs are profitable and energy efficient

CFLs are much more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, which means they require less energy to provide the same amount of light. This energy efficiency also reduces electricity bills, since replacing just five incandescent bulbs per CFL can save you $ 200 or more over the life of CFLs.


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