Glossary of Lighting Icons and Terms

What makes compact fluorescent light bulbs more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs?

Compact fluorescent light bulbs are more energy-efficient than standard bulbs because of the different method they use to produce light. Incandescent bulbs create light by heating a filament inside the bulb; the electricity makes the filament white-hot, producing the light that you see. Most of the energy used in an incandescent bulb is wasted through generating heat instead of light.

A fluorescent bulb, on the other hand, does not have to convert the energy to heat in order to generate light. Because fluorescent lamps don’t use heat to create light, they are far more energy-efficient than regular incandescent bulbs.

What compact fluorescent light bulb do I buy to replace a
60-, 75-, 100- or 150-watt incandescent bulb?

While a regular incandescent bulb uses heat to produce light, a fluorescent bulb creates light using a far more energy-efficient method — in fact, 4-6 times more efficient. This means that you can buy a 15-watt compact fluorescent bulb that produces the same amount of light as a 60-watt regular incandescent bulb.

Here are the watts needed by regular incandescent light bulbs to match the light output of an energy-efficient Earthmate CFL light bulb.

Earthmate Watts
incandescent watts
12 / 22 / 33-watt
50 / 100 / 150-watt
Which Earthmate CFL light bulb do I use in my specific light fixture?

Please refer to our Product Uses and Disposal page to find an Earthmate bulb that will fit your specific needs.

What differentiates Earthmate CFLs from other brands?

Earthmate offers numerous innovative, energy-efficient CFL light bulbs to fit a variety of household needs. Consistent with its commitment to improving the environment, Earthmate developed a line of CFL light bulbs with only 1 milligram of mercury.

Earthmate is the only residential lighting company that is dedicated to fighting global warming and protecting the Earth for generations to come. In addition to creating energy-efficient products that reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by power generation, Earthmate is the only lighting company that packages all of its products in 100% post-consumer waste recyclable material and uses only soy-based ink on all of its printed materials. Earthmate CFL light bulbs represent a new way of living, thinking, and caring for the world to protect it for future generations.

Where can I buy Earthmate CFLs?

To find an Earthmate retailer near you, please type your zip code into the Find a Retailer search box on the Contact page. A list of nearby retailers will appear.

Where can I find information about energy-efficient lighting rebates?

Rebates for adopting energy-efficient lighting are usually offered through local and state utilities. To find out if any rebates are currently available, please check with your energy provider.

Where can I find lighting disposal policies and contact information for my state or province?
Where can I find a CFL recycling center near my home?
Can I use a compact fluorescent light bulb with a dimmer switch?

Earthmate offers three CFL light bulbs that are compatible with dimmer switches: the 20-watt Dimmable Spiral CFL, the 5-watt Dimmable Candle CFL, and the 8-watt Dimmable Reflector CFL. Earthmate CFL light bulbs that are not designated as dimmable should not be placed on dimming circuits.

Can I use a compact fluorescent light bulb in a 3-way fixture?

Earthmate offers a 3-Way CFL light bulb that is compatible with 3-way fixtures. It has the same light output as a 50/100/150-watt incandescent light bulb, but it uses up to 75% less energy.

Can I use a compact fluorescent light bulb with an electronic timer or photocell?

Some electronic timers and photocells contain components that are incompatible with compact fluorescent light bulbs; using CFL light bulbs in incompatible products will result in a shorter light bulb life. It is recommended that you do not use an Earthmate light bulb in an electronic timer or photocell.

Will a CFL flicker or appear dim when I first turn it on?

Due to technological advances, Earthmate CFL light bulbs have an instant on, flicker-free start-up. However, these bulbs do require a short warm-up period before they reach full brightness, which is why they may appear dim when first turned on. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are best used in fixtures that are left on for longer periods of time, rather than in fixtures that are turned on and off frequently.

Do compact fluorescent light bulbs give off hazardous amounts of ultraviolet (UV) light?

Regular fluorescent light bulbs used in your home and office do not produce a hazardous amount of ultraviolet light (UV). Most light sources, including fluorescent bulbs, emit a small amount of UV light, but the UV light produced by fluorescent light bulbs is far less than the amount produced by natural sunlight.

What are lumens?

Lumens are a measurement of light output. The higher the lumens generated by a particular light bulb, the greater the light output it will produce.

How long should light bulbs last?

Earthmate follows a standard industry rating for light bulb life called "rated life." Check your light bulb package or our online product catalog to find the rated hours of life for your particular Earthmate light bulb.

The rated life is a measure of the median time in hours that it takes for a bulb to burn out. This is the point in laboratory testing at which half the test bulbs have burned out and half the test bulbs are still burning.

A typical incandescent light bulb has a rated life of about 750-1,000 hours, whereas Earthmate CFL light bulbs have rated lives of 6,000-20,000 hours!

Why do my bulbs seem to burn out quickly?

Light bulbs can burn out quickly for a variety of reasons. The first thing to do if a bulb seems to burn out quickly is check the fixture it’s in. Light fixtures can wear out over time and develop wiring problems that cause the bulbs to fail early. If bulbs are repeatedly burning out quickly in the same light fixture, it’s probably the fixture. Be sure you’re following the fixture manufacturer’s specifications for light bulb wattage, voltage, and bulb shape.

What should I do if I have a defective light bulb?

For the quickest and most effective service, please return the light bulb to the retail outlet from which you purchased it.