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    « Bits and Bobs | Main | Happy Sunday -- With a Giveaway »

    Friday, November 19, 2010


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    Do you check the color temperature? If you don't want the cold clinical feel, you should look for a color temp of 2700K, which is the same as an incandescent. Regardless, David always complains that they're too bright - even the 9W one I got for the reading lamp in my room.


    I despise them. Haven't we been told for years that hours under fluorescents is bad for us, for our health and morale? Until we were supposed to replace every bulb in our homes with them at $5-10 a pop that is. And they don't last as long as the claims, I've got four burned out already. It seems like LEDs will be the next thing to replace them and while they are much greener and it's possible to get them very bright they still give off a cold, unsatisfactory light.


    Your description is spot on Norma. I hate "econo-crap" lights too! They take forever to warm up and get to their full brightness leaving your feeling blind for a while. I told DH if he replaces my over the kitchen counter lights with them I'll move out. He has wisely left them alone.


    I completely agree. Plus, the DH is the one who buys them for the household, and he just grabs whatever's on sale. So I end up with 500 different kinds/warmths/whatever, and I can't get an accurate view of anything. Things are different shades depending on where I look at them. I have to walk outside to see what color something actually is. Grrr.


    Thank you!! I hate them too and my husband mocks me because I care about the quality and color of the light in the house, as if that means I don't care about the environment. I do care, very much, but until there's a real alternative I'm sticking with incandescents.


    I don't love them but I don't hate them, either. In my experience they have lasted longer but yes, they do take a while to warm up. Maybe I'm just used to it?


    I'll add one more thing to your list - it's an additional item to recycle to your local home center or county trash facility.

    I limit my use of CFLs to the porch and front post lights. They are on for longer stretches of time in the winter so I feel less guilty...


    Listen, green living is not all it's cracked up to be and I was into all that stuff way before it became popular. My new building at work, awards for being greeen, no natural light anymore, building within a building with windows that look inside (yes), reduced lighting to 2 ft. tubes, no thermostat, 32 degrees and no heat in the building, we are all severely depressed, taking mega doses of vitamin D while our old offices, with windows looking to the outside, sit empty and have been for almost two years. Yuck!!!! And...oh yes, we are now in cubicles.


    If this were a facebook post, I would be clicking "Like" quite emphatically.

    Seanna Lea

    I think only have incandescent and older flourescent lights in our house. But the lights range in brightness from room to room without regard to what kind of lightbulb in there. It could be quite maddening if I really thought about it too much.

    Elizabeth in Brookfield

    I agree also (in the graduate program I manage, "me too" posts don't get graded).

    For general lighting I use CFLs, but I have to use a higher watt CFL than what you'd expect. But for reading or knitting I still use the incandescent bulbs that emulate daylight. CFLs are certainly not for "task" work. (However, I didn't know about the color rating.)

    LED light is worthless. Well, maybe for uplights (lighting fixtures on the floor). I will certainly not go down that road.

    Remember that in 2012 the incandescent phaseout will begin. (See

    Kari W.

    I refuse to have them in my house. Not only because of the mercury,but also the last I heard they are shipped in from China. How green is that??? Then add in the fact that fluorescents give me terrible headaches (scientist son explained the reason) and it's a no brainer for me.


    I find fluorescent light sort of creepy, so totally agree with you. I'd rather turn on fewer lights overall to conserve resources than have cfls all over the house. I do try to buy the longest lasting incandescents though, no point in throwing out more bulbs than I have to.


    There is less mercury in a cfl than in many other items -- the mercury myth is way overblown. If you are really concerned, the safest way to clean up a broken CFL, open a window and use a broom. Don't vacuum. Put all the pieces in a plastic bag and tie it up. You can recycle broken CFLs as well as unbroken ones.

    On the color temperature, as others have said, look on the package. The cheapest ones are icky. I bought some daylight CFLs for my office and they are fantastic. I am a graphic designer and they do replicate natural sunlight. Very nice indeed.

    They are not appropriate everywhere. They will burn out quickly in enclosed fixtures--ones with glass completely covering the bulb. However, the savings is real. We pay for electricity by the watt and the wattage on a CFL is far lower.

    They make an incredible difference for our planet. Many countries have outlawed the production of incandescent bulbs because they are such energy hogs.

    Please, reconsider and look for bulbs that say things like "full color spectrum" or "replicates sunlight" or something like that on the package. You will have to seek them out. But you will offset their cost in savings on your electric bill and you will be doing something good for the planet.


    Arsenic is also an all natural but not good for us. Not everything that is all natural is good for us.

    I have a mix of old light bulbs and newer ones.

    Sarah T

    CFL bulbs are considered more efficient than incandescent bulbs because with a CFL, more of the electricity is converted into light. Incandescents convert some electricity to light but also convert much of the energy into heat.

    Which means - if you are heating your house anyway, at least the energy from incandescents is not going to waste. The only time they can be considered to be wasteful is if you have to run an air conditioner to stay cool because of them!

    I like having a mixture of bulbs. Most are CFL, but some task/area lights are incandescent and will stay that way!


    Ruth, there may be less mercury in a CFL than in "many other items," but I personally don't have any of those "other items" in my house to be broken. And I'm guessing Norma would prefer not to open her windows, given that it must be about three degrees in Vermont these days.

    (Exercise for the scientists and math wizards: calculate the energy savings of let's say 2 years of a CFL versus opening all the windows and letting the heat out then reheating a house in Vermont in November.)

    I too suspect that big business has lobbied hard for CFLs. Note that a CFL costs about 20 times more than a regular lightbulb. If you want a decent one - I experimented with several different brands until I found one I like - it costs like $12 PER BULB. How could GE not be a fan of that?

    I'd rather keep my incandescents, and lobby for renewable power resources. Wind, solar, hydro. There are no perfect solutions, but CFLs definitely fall into the category of what I've heard called "hair shirt environmentalism."


    Wow, what brand are you buying? I switched all my bulbs over to CLFs 4 or 5 years ago. I got the ones that are designed to have warm light, and I didn't notice a difference in the color or intensity. They take about 30 seconds to warm up to full light, which is slower then incandescent bulbs. But I haven't had to replace one yet, and my electric bill dropped $25 the first month I change them and has stayed nice and low.

    Sorry you're not having the same experience :-(


    I use them only in the ceiling lights on our stairs because we leave them on a lot for safety for the kids. I understand that the incandescent bulbs will not continue to be available long-term, unfortunately. It will be a sad day when they are gone, especially for my kitty who loves to sit on the arm of the couch with her head up inside the lampshade, warming her head. She has such a blissful look when she does it. We have named the lamp "Ra".


    I'm with you on this one, Norma!

    Rosemary McN

    Norma, I'm w/you totally on this also! CFLs are cold, distort colors and simply too expensive for their "shelf" life.


    If you get the full spectrum ones, they're basically much cheaper (though still somewhat expensive) OttLites. The wattage equivalency is definitely off, though. Get the 125-watt+ equivalent full spectrum CFL (or something similar--I prefer the "bright white," from the big box store because I find "daylight" to look quite blue next to incandescent lights at night). They *do* take a bit of time to warm up, but that may be true of OttLites too.

    Ger Prenderville

    I absolutely agree with you on this one. However I've been returning the broken ones as I feel if it says 8 to 10 years on the pack it should mean it. I am now keeping the bulb wrappers and receipts and if they give up after a short while I'll return them and get my money back hopefuly. The light is really dreadful and we won't have a option here in a short while except to purchase CFL s


    I'm with BeckyinVT - I switched over years ago, have never broken one, have never had to replace one, and am actually fond of the fact that when I first turn on the bedroom light in the morning, it introduces me to the concept of light gently. That room and one lamp are slow to warm up. All the others come on brightly instantly.

    The LEDs we've tried put out way too much heat.


    Gosh, I first put them in to a four light bathroom vanity fixture as the old ones burned out, and not only were they brighter, I have had no lag time whatsoever...and they are the 15w = 60w ones...they do glow a bit after you turn the lights off, but that's the only unusual thing I've noticed. I just checked, and my box was marked 'general use' rather than any special type of lighting.... I wonder if, since my apartment building is only 10 years old, there is some difference in the wiring where energy is conducted better than in older houses? =( I am sorry your transition was not as smooth as mine... Hope you can find something that works for you, as soon you won't get a choice =(


    We have one in the kitchen and I have to turn on the light over the stove to see while getting my lunch together in the morning. Then, when I am done, it is at full brightness. Urr, drives me crazy every morning.

    elizabeth a airhart

    i agree you need to buy different
    lights and i find it hard in a big
    box store to find the odd wattage
    one needs and the colour

    i am a seasonal and i need my lights

    as the song goes- lets turn out the
    lights and go to bed


    I thought about the mercury thing too. How are all these people going to dspose of their mercury contaminated bulbs? By thrwing them in the trash, where they go to the dump nd then into the groundwater. There is no 'safe disposal' system. at least not in my area. I checked. Granted it was a year or so ago, but if they DID open a depot or something, they sure haven't advertised it. Grrrrr

    Lori in MI

    Dang Norma! You ain't kidding! These ARE a LIE...and probably being shoved down our throat by the govt. I tried to be a good, green consumer, but they take a while to 'light' up and when I turn a light 'on' it's because I want to SEE something! Who the hell is behind this crap??

    Starshadow Rivaulx

    I guess I must be one of the lucky ones - we've been shifting our bulbs from incandescent to CFLs (the "tornado" bulbs) over time, and they last for ages.

    We use the "daylight" bulbs in the utiility areas and where reading is necessary; "warm" bulbs in the areas where "ambiance" is preferred. They're bright, and warm up in seconds. There's also a "cool" bulb, I think their light is more blue-tinted than the daylight.

    What a pity whatever brand of bulbs you tried out are making your experience a nasty one.


    Lots of varying opinions here. We have almost no incandescent bulbs left in our house, and I don't mind the light the CFLs give off even though I have always hated the cold light that tubular fluorescents give. The ancient 3-way table lamp next to my knitting chair has a 3-way CFL, and I have no complaints about the quantity or quality of the light -- and these aging eyes need GOOD light. As far as the heat of incandescents not being wasted, that is true but it is also true that producing heat from electricity is a very inefficient way to do it.

    In general, though, I kinda suspect that GE and Sylvania and all those bulb-producing companies love this.


    One more thing -- as good an idea as conserving energy is, by itself it will not save the planet. The thing that will is producing energy from renewable resources like wind and the sun. I am on the grant-funded committee that is writing the plan to produce 25% of our county government's energy usage from renewables by 2025, and the hard data we are collecting tells us that. Conservation reduces the amount we have to get from renewables, but only gets us to about 10% or so. A household is certainly a different energy-consuming animal than a county government (over half our energy consumption is diesel and unleaded fuel for county trucks and cars), but I suspect that only the proportion will change, not the overall conclusion. It is not an easy fix for anyone.

    Beth in Ohio

    I agree with Norma - The Emperor has no Clothes!

    Now in reading the comments I see I need to try different (and more expensive) ones. I resent that as well. I just want a light bulb that gives off LIGHT. Fuck me and Bah Humbug!


    Sorry you've had trouble with them! I switched years ago. The first ones were kind of sucky, but the ones now are great--almost instant on, warm color temperatures and BRIGHT light. I've only had trouble with the really cheap ones burning out quickly. I've still got some that I put in years ago.


    Interesting exchange.


    Okay, here's what I don't get: We are producing plug-in electric cars but switching over to CFLs? Surely a lightbulb uses a fraction of the energy an electric car uses. And here's another question: to what extent is electricity a renewable resource? Or is that question moot; e.g. hydro-electric plants are probably wasteful in themselves.

    The comments to this entry are closed.


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