Another hockey stick – meanwhile, the death of light bulbs

Kate at SmallDeadAnimals.com points out that there’s a new hockey stick afoot. With some homogenization and principal components analysis, I’m sure the past can be smoothed out.

From: United States Unemployment rate, Aug. 2010

Meanwhile, light bulb workers of America go dim as one of America’s proudest inventions disappears from production. Mr. Edison is scowling, wherever he is.

From the Washington Post, Sept. 8, 2010;

The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison’s innovations in the 1870s.

What made the plant here vulnerable is, in part, a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014. The law will force millions of American households to switch to more efficient bulbs.

Now the hoarding begins.

Expect container loads from China arriving on our shores soon, at least until 2017 when they’ll disappear there tooor will they?

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159 thoughts on “Another hockey stick – meanwhile, the death of light bulbs

  1. The candle power of the new lamps drops off to such an extent that in three months they are not fit for purpose. After several replacements, all culminating in eye strain, I have replaced them with incandescent lamps and thrown the imposters into the rubbish bin where I hope they contaminate the earth leading to an early grave for the greenie weenies and the idiotic politicians who listened to them. Rant over – roger and out.
    [Were the new LED’s or new CFL’s getting dimmer so quickly?] Robert

  2. “Mr. Edison is scowling,”
    No he wouldn’t. Head be beating the AGW drum louder then anyone (but behind the scenes). GE makes a lot more money off of green lighting then they could off of regular bulbs. And didn’t you know, Edison was a class A loony socialist.

  3. Nice add to this post; Beautifull LED lights; 6 build-in’s for E 79,95..
    And what do ordinary light bulbs cost? 6 for E 10,- ?

  4. Where there is a demand, there will be a supply. I throw up at the thought of CFL bulbs in my crystal chandelier.

  5. I suggest we go back to whale oil lamps – it’ll give the govenrmnet incentive to grow pods of whales to supply our energy needs, revive our merchant marine as whalers and start a whole new fire protection industry.

  6. Does that unemployment statistics include those who are not receiving government money anymore?. Any guesses on Mannipulation?

  7. Energy saving light bulbs are efficient because they produce less heat. In cool climates, the difference is made up by your thermostat as it compensates for the heat loss (albeit more efficiently.) The savings end up being less than advertised and heavy metals from the new bulbs create a worse problem once they are disposed of.
    Alas! The specter of unintended consequences!

  8. I have a la-a-a-rge basement with nothing in particular in it. I’m seeing investment opportunity here. Light bulbs will hold their value against inflation better than U.S. dollars.
    (Shhh! That’s my new retirement plan.)

  9. I will never, ever, purchase a compact fluorescent. They are full of toxic metals, and a significant potential hazard in the home (especially with young boys around). I have already stocked up on standard bulbs, and anticipate the availability of bright LED bulbs coming. I’m not worried about the high price since they should last a long time, and consume even less energy. See, e.g., http://www.earthtechproducts.com/energy-saving-led-light-bulbs.html.

  10. At least until the liberal elite decide that us peasants can learn to read by candlelight. And then decide that books are a luxury we can ill afford as they harm the environment through the cutting of trees.

  11. I have been using (some) CFLs for a while.
    I am heartily fed up of:
    * Stumbling around in the dark until they “warm up”.
    * Having to pay a fortune to replace them when they last a fraction of the time they are supposed to.
    * Living in the green-blue light they produce – even the “warm” variety”.
    * Being told I have to live like a caveman by “my betters”.

  12. Well I remember vividly as a boy watching the B&W movie about the life of Thomas Alva Edison; and I recall being totally fascinated. A similar movie about Alexander graham Bell did not grab me nearly as much; although I do recall bits of it. But Edison was something else; and I don’t remember much about the donnybrook with Tesla.
    But his search for the perfect material for his incandescent filament was electrifying (pun intended).
    It so happens that there was a wooden building that was part of the physics Department at the University of Auckland; might have been the radio-Physics building but I can’t swear to that. But there is one thing about that building, and that was that nobody ever turned off the power to that light. I have no idea how it survived through any power outage that might have occurred once in a while due to thunderstorms; but nobody knows of that light bulb ever being off; it apparently had been over that door on day and night for something well over 30 years; and it was a carbon filament lamp.
    It became the subject of conversation once in a while; and there wasn’t anybody in the department who would dare to turn that light off. Come to think of it; I’m not sure if anyone even knew where the switch was; if there was one.
    I think it has burned out since then; that was 50 years ago.
    So maybe all the “Science Guy” type cheats; can try to reproduce their CO2 heating experiment using a CFL lamp; or better yet try an LED bulb.
    So now building designers will have to increase the heating capacity for their building heaters to compensate for the lost heat from the absence of incandescent lamps.
    Well I am among those who collects incandescent lamps and stores them in the garage for the day when they will no longer be available for sale; They can have my incandescent lamps after they pry my cold dead fingers off them.

  13. Ironic that the Google advert shown with this entry is …….
    Ads by Google
    100 Watt Light Bulbs UK
    Huge Inventory Still Available! Low Prices. Fast Delivery. Buy Now.
    TheLightBulb.co.uk/100-Watt
    These incandescent bulbs have been ‘illegal’ here for a year or more. Everyone I’ve met who has tried the CFL bulbs has binned them as they are effectively useless for domestic purposes, even though the electricity suppliers have been sending them out free! (They get some form of rebate for their attempts at ‘greening’ the population.)
    One problem raising it’s ugly head is the Factory Safety legislation which requires all rotating machinery to be illuminated by an incandescent bulb to prevent the optical illusion that machinery spinning at a certain rate appears to the human eye to be stationary when illuminated by fluorescent lighting which flickers 50 times a second. This flicker can cause all sorts of other problems, too.
    I have a goodly stock of incandescent bulbs stashed away!

  14. Joseph said: “I’m not worried about the high price since they should last a long time, and consume even less energy.”
    Joe — that’s the same crap they gave us with CFLs.

  15. DesertYote says:
    September 9, 2010 at 1:31 pm
    “Mr. Edison is scowling,”

    And Mr.Tesla is having a party…

  16. Oh the times they are a changing…I guess we will have to wait for the good guys those capitalists from Asia to ride in and save our bacon from the socialists in Wash, DC.

  17. It’s already happened in Oz. Just an excuse by the manufacturers for massive price increases of the alternatives. You can also now put solar cells on your roof and sell power back at 3 times the price that you buy it from the power company. “Alternative” energy is wonderful … as long as you’re in the business of manufacturing related to it.

  18. Robert Austin says:
    September 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm
    Where there is a demand, there will be a supply. I throw up at the thought of CFL bulbs in my crystal chandelier.
    ___________________________________________
    My crystal chandelier was converted to electric way back when. Is it time to convert it back to gas, whale oil or candles????

  19. I thought it was the same people that told us to not eat fish?
    Now they want light bulbs with a magnitude higher mercury content, and a house full of them at that.
    If this was anything else, those same people would be raising hell about those light bulbs.

  20. Speaking of China and light bulbs, someone just mentioned on the radio that China is planning on using the “Sears business model” on the USA. Sears was notorious for hooking a small business into expanding their business because of a lucrative short term contract. Then once hooked the second contract had prices that barely covered business expenses but the business having expanded (with bank loans) to produce for Sears is now between a rock and a hard place and has to take the contract or bankrupt.
    Once US manufacturing is gone who is going to produce the products once the prices are hiked up by China??

  21. CFLs suck, anybody that has bought more than one and used them for a year knows what happens to the little “dimmer by the week” bulbs. What do you do with the mercury?
    LEDs win, until you figure out we have a 115 VAC power system and components to convert the AC power to something a 3.6vdc LED can use are expensive and short lived.
    Bring back the incandescent.

  22. re: unemployment rate H-stick, “It’s worse than we thought!”
    re: incandescent bulbs, we’ve been stockpiling for more than a year. Like squirrels facing a long, long winter.
    OT, but relevant: Go BUY and read Roy Spencer’s “Great Global Warming Blunder” for a dose of rationality and optimism. Very readable description/discussion of variable cloud cover as Earth’s thermostat. PDO alone can account for three-fourths of the 1900-2010 temperature record – both warming and cooling. Absolutely shoots down the hyper-sensitivity condition built into the fancy-schmantzy GCMs. A joy to read.

  23. Yet another “nudge” towards global tyranny. We’re being nudged to death, and don’t even realize it. Lighting, RFID’s in garbage cans, told what to eat, what to drive, control of your electric use thru net monitored power, what medical care you can receive, etc., etc.

  24. I will not EVER use CFL. Hate is too mild a word for how I feel about them and what they symbolize.
    After my stockpile of Edison bulbs are gone. I’m piping my house for gas lights!

  25. 100W incandescance bulbs are still legally available in the UK, they are called “Rough Service” bulbs, such a definition is outside of the (EU) legislation banning such bulbs for home use.

  26. When I was in the Australian Navy we were required to (but usually didn’t) treat flourescent lamps as radioactive material, requiring the wearing of thick rubber gloves, masks, etc for the cleanup if one of them shattered. I’ve not seen anything about this aspect of modern CFLs or the longer flourescent tubes, only the worry about the inclusion of mercury.

  27. The govmint has been up to its dirty tricks again, read zerohedge. A week’s or quarter’s reports are repeatedly revised down after the next two or three are published.
    Right now, in advance of the elections, the Fed is buying longer term treasuries and the sellers are propping up the market as we are getting early distributions and piling out of the market. Govmint is hoping to keep things together thru Nov.
    I’d bet on their success except for the PIIGS-treasuries took a hit as the week’s 30 year auction was met with trepidation. Things could get ugly in a matter of weeks.

  28. I’ve found you can buy new incandescents at thrift stores very cheap. I prefer the halogens, especially in winter.
    Here, we can also get surplus CFLs, 2 for $1. The boxes say that they are subsidized by SoCal Edison, meaning we’ve already paid for them via our electric bill and our legislators.

  29. Gail Combs says:
    September 9, 2010 at 2:03 pm
    ===========================
    Gail, I’ve got a house full of lamps, track lighting, recessed lighting, you name it,
    that those CFL’s will not fit.
    Making someone change bulbs is one thing, making you have to replace almost all of your fixtures is another….

  30. Enneagram says:
    September 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm
    DesertYote says:
    September 9, 2010 at 1:31 pm
    “Mr. Edison is scowling,”
    And Mr.Tesla is having a party…
    Oh yes, the Electrical Genius Nikola Tesla went straight to heaven when he died. 😉
    (Warning: Facetious comments may contain some slight theological inaccuracies for fun.)

  31. “there’s a new hockey stick afoot”
    ===================================
    We certainly managed to “stimulate” something,
    unfortunately it was the unemployment rate…..

  32. Our politicians have nothing better to do than to mandate neurotoxins in our lighting, and make electricity harder to get and more expensive.

  33. “America’s proudest inventions” Sorry to break this to you but Edison didn’t invent the light bulb. Henry Woodward(Canadian) invented an electric light bulb in 1874 and sold the patent to Thomas Edison. Edison was no Nicola Tesla, Tesla was a genius and left many inventions in the US.
    Still sad to see a factory closing, people need to wake up and put an end to the insanity of Milton Friedman free markets. China is strictly a one way market they sell to you, but will only buy raw materials leaving trade deficits for every country in the world. The Chinese only want “joint ventures” so you give them you intellectual property with the faint hope you will see some profits for awhile. They will copy everything including recently Russian Fighter jets SU-27’s. The only way to reverse the economic disaster is to put up tariffs against Chinese goods, put up a solid trade barrier to protect your valuable consumer market and you will have the Chinese factory owners quickly making plans to set up factories on the other side of the barrier which could very likely be US factories so US workers will have wages to buy the goods produced by the factories. The idea that there will ever be a consumer market in china that will buy US made goods is a myth meant to pull off this trade deception. China ruthlessly protects their consumer market, including using the censor board to pull Hollywood films out of the theatres there on Chinese new years and replacing it with Chinese movies, because that is the most profitable days of the year.

  34. With the incandescent goes the Big Three of American Lighting Industry. Backed by Boxer & Co. as a good tradeoff to support the Energy bill of that day: goodbye American jobs, hello expensive imports. GE joins Westinghouse and Sylvania, off to China for GreenBack Pastures.
    Lost in the equation is the expense to ship all those bulbs back over here, the Hazardous Waste fee for disposal (All of them contain Mercury … read the warning label and what to do when they twist apart in your hands or pop spontaneously)., and the fact that they are every bit as prone to on/off cycling failre as an incandescent.
    We lose:
    Jobs
    Exports
    and we suffer
    Import expenses
    Hazardous Material Contamination
    Poor manufacturing risks
    and we do all of this for no tangible gain in throughput.
    Next time you screw in a light bulb, think about it.

  35. PJP says:
    September 9, 2010 at 1:58 pm
    * Stumbling around in the dark until they “warm up”.
    * Having to pay a fortune to replace them….
    * Living in the green-blue light they produce – even the “warm” variety”.
    * Being told I have to live like a caveman by “my betters”.

    Same problem here in Spain…
    Thankfully, there is a very Spanish response to these new rules: switch across to new fittings with Halogen light bulbs… bright light… no mercury… no warming up period… no stumbling around in dull dim light.
    Add a dimmer switch for more versatile lighting and lower electricity bills… works very well for me… but I am sure the EU will make this illegal as it is far too sensible.

  36. I am OK with using CFLs outside. Outside, the waste heat of a incandescent bulb is actually wasted.
    [But consider each region’s environment and summer/winter power needs: “wasted” heat inside (in the winter, in cold climates) is valuable. “Wasted heat” inside (in summer, in A/C required areas) requires even more power to be put in the AC units. Robert]

  37. @ Richard says September 9, 2010 at 1:33 pm:

    Nice add to this post; Beautifull LED lights; 6 build-in’s for E 79,95..
    And what do ordinary light bulbs cost? 6 for E 10,- ?

    Ah, come one, Richard – when the CFLs came out they were expensive as hell, too. The LED price will come down. LEDs are really cheap in industry already and have been forever. These LEDs will come down and push CFLs – WITH THEIR MERCURY – right off the shelves. And in the process, we will save what? another 80% in electricity? The LEDs use like 95% less electric than incandescents, so WTF is the argument here? The white light LEDs put out full spectrum light.
    (Not bad for a lab accident, really… they weren’t even TRYING to create white light – they’d all given up on that long ago. They just pasted some crystal mixture on the outside of a blue LED, trying to do something else, and “Holy crap!!” they had white light coming out. They totally fell into it.)
    Also, the LEDs last umpteen times longer, so they pay for themselves, even at the high price – and when the price comes down, we all save at both ends.
    If – actually, WHEN – China shifts over to LEDs, they will save a whole lot more than half of Germany’s electrical needs. Same thing for the U.S.
    It’s a no-brainer.
    CFLs suck.
    BTW, the worst thing about Edison was that he was a thief who invented the U.S. system of workers creating new products and the company giving the guy squat for it, putting their name on it and making all the money – and fame. Edison pulled that on Tesla, and Tesla told him where to stick it. 95% of the inventions with Edison'[s name on them he had nothing to do with except slapping his name on them after someone working for him did the real inventing.
    TESLA is the individualist hero. Edison was a corporate thief.

  38. I remember reading somewhere that..
    the mercury from a single compact florescent light bulb can contaminate six thousand gallons of drinking water.
    [Any contaminant can completely contaminate any volume of the diluting medium. But check what the limit is on mercury-in-water, and how much mercury is in a given size (and era) of light bulb first.] Robert

  39. John – Re careful disposal of broken florescent bulbs:
    Florescent bulbs normally actually generate ultra-violet light, and so are useless for us humans. They are coated on the inside with florescent material (hence the name) which glows brightly when exposed to ultra-violet radiation (the “black light” bulbs you can by simply omit the florescent coating.
    In early versions, the coating included a beryllium compound. Beryllium is a fairly toxic metal, and breathing in dust of its chemical compounds is not recommended.
    So treating early broken florescent bulbs as if they were radioactive was actually a pretty good practice. You definately didn’t want to breath the dust, and you don’t really want it on your clothes or skin.
    For the last 40 years or so, alternative florescent materials have been used, but people that were bought up handling the old lights are sometimes not aware of this, and even if they are, ingrained safety procedures are hard to overcome.
    Of course, modern florescent bulbs still contain mercury, in small amounts. The vapor is required for operation. You don’t want to breath that either. But it is nowhere near as toxic as Beryllium was, no matter if they do seem to call out the hazmat team and evacuate for 20 miles around if you drop a thermoneter these days.

  40. Edison didn’t invent the light bulb. He was about the 22nd person to patent a working light bulb. He was the one who bought it into peoples homes by building a power station and ripping up the streets of New York to lay cable.

  41. A strong driver for the innovation of new types of lamps (LED, CFL) is that the incandescent lamp, after more than a century of life, is a commodity with absolute minimal profit margins. In reality they can only be manufactured profitably in a low cost country using very lean manufacturing techniques. New technologies break this cycle and have the promise of a new product life cycle, better features (more light, less power, more green) and different positioning in the market. The vast development cost of the new product has to be recovered. As with any new product, important impacts remain undiscovered until the product is in the market. I am thinking here about e.g. the environmental impacts due to hazardous chemicals (mercury). The regulators and manufacturers have a very important responsibility to understand the product and its impacts and agree on regulation and standards as early as possible.
    In the end, it is the market that will decide, but if there important lessons to be learned from mass volume production I would expect that:
    1. a legacy technology will fight for its place in the market as long as there is demand and can do so at very low cost as the industrial base is available and ongoing development cost are low
    2. cost is mainly driven by volume and a technology that can reach high volume first will almost certainly out-compete others
    Finally, for companies that invest strongly in R&D, new lighting technologies offer opportunities to take market share quickly against companies that innovate slower. This is, in my view, one of the reasons why we see major lighting companies announcing the end of the incandescent light bulb: these companies trust the new products they have developed.

  42. And then there is this headline: Efficient lighting equals higher heat bills: study
    see here: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2009/03/04/mb-light-bulbs.html
    I am keeping a huge stash of incandescents. I just like them better, I don’t give a darn about the $150 a year savings best case, $30 worst case with CFLs.
    Think about it, we are altering our lifestyles for the equivilant of a night out at the movies. Its just silly talk.
    I am waiting for the next generation of LED, thats where we get real savings.
    JT

  43. Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine breaks a CFL on the carpet–cleanup bill 2,000USD
    “The DEP specialist recommended Mrs. Bridges call an environmental clean-up firm which, reportedly, gave her a “low-ball” estimate of $2,000 to clean up the room. The room was then sealed-off with plastic and Mrs. Bridges began “gathering finances” to pay for the $2,000 cleaning. Reportedly, her insurance company wouldn’t cover the clean-up costs because mercury is a pollutant.”
    We should all be asking our insurance cos if they cover CFL breakage. A break in the house could result in mercury levels in “excess of 6 times the state’s “safe” level for mercury contamination of 300 billionths of a gram per cubic meter.”
    Sorry if this story is redundant to the thread,
    Zeke

  44. Stephen Brown says September 9, 2010 at 1:59 pm:

    One problem raising it’s ugly head is the Factory Safety legislation which requires all rotating machinery to be illuminated by an incandescent bulb to prevent the optical illusion that machinery spinning at a certain rate appears to the human eye to be stationary when illuminated by fluorescent lighting which flickers 50 times a second. This flicker can cause all sorts of other problems, too.
    I have a goodly stock of incandescent bulbs stashed away!

    Really??? In what fantasy world?
    Probably 75% of the machining areas in U.S. machine shops are lit with 48″ long fluorescent bulbs. I’ve been working with such companies since forever, and I have never even heard of any such problem. For one thing, all fluorescent bulbs charge up and discharge independently of each other, so any “strobe light” effect from one is offset by the others in the area – and in machining areas they use a LOT of them, for maximum illumination.
    Those shops that are not lit by fluorescent bulbs are almost all lit by mercury vapour lights, which are even MORE stroboscopic. And with fewer of those per shop. they would have less offsetting charge-discharge strobe effect, but the danger you talk about isn’t happening here, with either kinds of lights.
    Maybe the 50-Hertz used in Europe makes it all different from our 60-Hertz in the U.S. – but I’d bet against it.
    ALSO – to have such an effect the machine rotation would need to be an exact multiple of the 50- or 60-Hertz and stay there. Semi-automated machines are set to run at ALL KINDS OF RPMS, to maximize the metal removal rates. VERY infrequently would those frequencies be a multiple of 50 or 60 Hertz.
    ALSO – even in small machine shops, VERY LITTLE machining is still done on semi-automated (“Bridgeport” type) milling machines, or on semi-automated lathes. Those machines are dinosaurs now. The vast majority of parts are machined on CNC (computerized numerically-controlled) machines, with the machine not even capable of running without the guards engaged.
    SUMMARY: Bad, sloppy thinking and talking about obsolete machine shop practices and almost nothing to do with reality in the year 2010. When was the last time you were in a machine shop? All the shops with old machines went out of business in the 1990s. Either that or they modernized.

  45. Oddly, filament bulbs would last longer with a thicker filament. The idea that you have a bulb that “only” lasts 1000 hours (42 days of continuous usage, or 6-12 months for the average user) was nothing but a marketing gimmick. Most CFL buyers were more interested in the 3-5 year longevity of the CFL. I’ve moved my CFLs between three different residences now, and they still work well.
    However, had GE just made a bigger filament, it would have made an incandescent with 3 to 5 times the life with equivalent power usage and a small sacrifice in lumens.
    But the real culprit here is Congress, banning something that they really shouldn’t have.

  46. I replaced most of my household with twisties several years ago. Here are some lessons:
    1) Twisties do not work in the cold (below about 5C). They just don’t turn on or eventually glow at half brightness. Outdoor lights need to be incandescent.
    2) I’ve not kept accurate numbers, but I seem to be replacing them at about the same rate as incandescents.
    3) A 200W incandescent in the bathroom overhead saves heating because you can dry off and not feel as cold.
    4) I really HATE the packaging that claims “same as X watt incandescent” What’s wrong with actually admitting how many lumens? More people would become numerate if they had a chance to calculate lumens/Watt. But then they’d become skeptical of government………………..

  47. The few cfls I have tried (mostly spots for my kitchen) have been terrible . They don’t work well in systems with a dimmer switch and their failure rate is abyssmal . As far as incandescent bulbs go – most of the ones I’ve bought in the last several years have been made in China and don’t seem to last as long as the old US ones . Halogen bulbs get too hot .

  48. That is to bad, that is the plant shuting down and all.
    In northern contries, the $0.50 light bulb was 100% efficient, for about 6 months of the year. If you had cheep hydro, it is probably the best thing since sliced bread. Especially since there are no enviromental issues with incandescent bulbs.

  49. Another political lunacy. Switching to low energy light bulbs will reduced the energy consumption of the UK by ~1% or less. F***ting against thunder if you’ll excuse the vulgarity. If we really want to save CO2 production which is, according to the great minds that control our destiny to object of the exercise, we should look at more efficient ways of generating “low carbon” energy i.e.: nuclear. Of course this will get the green lobby incandescent with rage. When we have power outages in the UK and our economy completely shatters I hape that the fingers will be pointed firmly at the EU and the major green movements and they will have to account for misery their total idiocy has inflicted on us.

  50. I use CFL’s for only the lights that are left on for a long time…the family room, the office, etc. They are not good for closets, bedrooms, bathrooms as they will burn out rapidly with the short and numerous on cycles. But in general, I like them a great deal. Especially if I choose the 3000K variety.
    Foe all the other, incandescent, lamps I have them on a dimmer. They last for 10 years, at least and allow all sorts of ambiance settings as well as use a less energy and produce a lot less heat while dimmed.
    Jim

  51. For all you people having a fit.
    As far as I know you still will be able to buy high efficiency Quartz-Halogen incandescent bulbs. The Philips “Halogena Energy Saver” bulbs already are available at Home Depot. They are exempt.
    They are far better than old incandescent bulbs at maintaining there light output over the life of the bulb and far more efficient than conventional incandescent bulbs and are available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.
    I do believe within 10 – 15 years cheap LED lamps, will make everything else obsolete.

  52. Zeke the Sneak says:
    September 9, 2010 at 3:01 pm
    Your post is very relevant, and the $2,000 price tag for mercury cleanup is typical.
    Now that most people cannot afford the cleanup cost, or have failed to read the label, home contamination has begun.

  53. Incandescents are only going to offset heating costs if you are using electric resistance heating. Heat pumps provide more heat to the house for a similar amount of electricity and gas heating, may provide cheaper heat depending on the rates in your area. In areas of moderate winters and warm summers like mine, the net win is for lower heat output bulbs.
    I know when my house was built the builder used non-standard incandescent bulbs because he said they would be available after the ban. Not sure if that is true, but I hope so. I have bought some LED bulbs for exterior use, but so far the costs are so high and the light output so low I have not use any inside. I have installed some CFLs as well but most of my fixtures can’t use them.

  54. I normally read at least most of the posts before commenting, but figured I would throw this out there.
    I have replaced most of the light-bulbs in my house with the new energy efficient variety simply because I am lazy and would rather have the higher run-times from them. I really like not having to replace light-bulbs especially the ones that require a ladder, its a convience.
    That being said, I have moved three times in the last 5 years, and in each house, there were built in sockets that would simply flicker from these “brand new” lights and would only work with normal incandescent. It would require replacing the entire light fixture and possibly rewiring to put them in. I have no issues with the new light bulbs, but there probably should be something out there to address this issue…

  55. The mentioning of 50 (or 60Hz) flicker above is incorrect. The variation in luminance is caused by the power cycle and not by the voltage cycle. Within one 20ms cycle power cycles twice through a light bulb. Once for the positive voltage phase and once for the negative voltage phase. During both phases the light bulb will light up. Hence the luminance changes with double the frequency of the voltage, which will be 100Hz (Or 120Hz).
    http://www.olino.org/us/articles/2010/04/12/the-flickering-of-light-bulbs

  56. “SUMMARY: Bad, sloppy thinking and talking about obsolete machine shop practices and almost nothing to do with reality in the year 2010. When was the last time you were in a machine shop? All the shops with old machines went out of business in the 1990s. Either that or they modernized.”
    Not in the uK !
    All the new machines were “exported” to China/India when the companies went out of business and the foreign companies bought the assets. The old machines still run in old companies….they were built to last !
    Loads of places still use manual centre lathes and capstan lathes, not to mention mills.
    Anyway, you’ll soon find that LEDS go out of favour….look at the amount of rare minerals used in their production….

  57. Feet2thefire:
    I’m not sure Steven Brown was addressing a non-problem of strobing so much as some law (he doesn’t give the jurisdiction) that supposedly assumes such a problem. I would suppose the ‘problem’ is two laws that contradict each other.

  58. I use mostly SMD LED lighting, but there are a couple of places where the thermal extremes are such that incandescent is the only possibility. So I will be there with the rest of you getting a lifetime supply for those areas. Bah, I wish the Congress would learn how to read.

  59. I don’t know what problems others are having with CFLs, but I converted my whole house to them back in 2001 when energy costs in California went through the roof. I haven’t had any problems, and they regularly last 4+ years with multiple hours of daily use. Since I also live in Chico, I have the same tiered electric rates as Anthony (topping out at 40 cents per kwh), which means that any power savings is subtracted from the most expensive rate. Being in Chico also means that I’m only using the heater for 4 months out of the year, and the air conditioning for 6 months, so extra heat thrown off my incandescent bulbs is, on the whole, a bad thing. I crunched the numbers, and with low price of bulbs purchased in bulk from the local Costco, they paid for themselves in power savings in less than 3 months.
    And the mercury thing is overblown. Every house in built in California for the last few decades has had regular fluorescent bulbs in the kitchen and bathrooms, and all these bulbs have mercury in them. When any fluorescent bulb burns out, whether CFL or regular, you just put them in the garage next to the old paint and dead batteries until you make your annual run to the local hazardous waste facility. If you’re concerned about breakage, don’t put a CFL into a tall top-heavy lamp.

  60. One of the first actions taken by GE was to drop Edison’s filament and replace it with the filament developed by Joseph Swan. Swan went to the bother of inventing man-made fibres to create his superior filament.
    His brother Alfred invented the modestly named Edison screw and also the bayonet fitting.
    And, Joseph Swan had a far superior beard.

  61. Greg says
    “If you’re concerned about breakage, don’t put a CFL into a tall top-heavy lamp.”
    Really? What if you have a child around the house or a cat? The comment that it is only a tall top heavy lamp that is a risk seems to lack common sense.
    Also the tubes that have been used in bathroom and other overhead lights are not in a physical location that is likely to be broken unless someone is foolish enough to store them in the garage awaiting disposal.
    The main problem is that this is mandated by a bunch of idiots in congress, the safety issues are ignored, and applications where conventional light bulbs make more sense and are safer are being ruled out by these idiots.
    Finally for many of us the use of lighting is primarily in the winter when the day is short and heat is not wasted. Unfortunately the Government has exaggerated and lied about the potential savings and the risk. Also they ignore the fact that much of our lighting is on Dimmers which don’t work well with CFL.

  62. James says:
    September 9, 2010 at 2:40 pm
    “America’s proudest inventions” Sorry to break this to you but Edison didn’t invent the light bulb. Henry Woodward(Canadian) invented an electric light bulb in 1874 and sold the patent to Thomas Edison.

    Some say there were 22 ‘inventors’ of the incandescent lamp. Go figure! :o)
    Friedel, Robert, and Paul Israel. 1986. Edison’s electric light: biography of an invention. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. pages 115–117

  63. Hoarding is definitely part of the plan.
    But then there are the specialty uses, where cost makes hoarding impractical. One that I have lots of experience with that will be badly impacted if not an exception (I’m hoping it will be an exception due to the industry political ties) is use of high-power incandescent bulbs in theatre lighting. Flourescent won’t work – it doesn’t dim smoothly below a threshold and isn’t the right color spectrum. LED lighting has started use, but it’s only good beyond a fixed distance or for specific color effects, because even the 5-color (red, green, blue, amber, and white) variety don’t color mix smoothly enough below a particular distance, which excludes them for the many thousands of small black-box theatres. Halogen bulbs are an option, so maybe that’s the main out. But a lot of older equipment won’t take them and there are a lot (most really) of small theatres that cannot possibly afford to replace all their older instruments. Without incandescent, there will definitely be some theatres permanently ‘going dark’.

  64. From: Dr A Burns on September 9, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    It’s already happened in Oz. Just an excuse by the manufacturers for massive price increases of the alternatives. You can also now put solar cells on your roof and sell power back at 3 times the price that you buy it from the power company.

    Make sure you have about enough battery storage to last a week, with a grid-tie inverter at least twice as large as your maximum usage. Make some good money selling them excess power during the day. (And the emergency battery charger in the closet is just something you hook up to the over-sized battery storage as absolutely needed, which will be every night as you drain down the batteries pretty far during the day to keep the inverter supplying lots of power to the grid.)
    Better check if there is demand metering, electricity is expensive during the day and cheap at night. If there isn’t, insist on it! You have a planet (and a bank balance) to save and improve!

  65. PJP said: Joe — that’s the same crap they gave us with CFLs.
    Maybe so, but LED lights are not toxic, and I’ll wait a while hoping the price comes down. I may try one or two to see whether they perform as claimed. Hopefully, they are not made in China. Then they would be crap for sure.

  66. JT says:
    September 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm
    I am OK with using CFLs outside. Outside, the waste heat of a incandescent bulb is actually wasted.
    _________________________________________________
    Try using a CFL outside at 30 below — it might not even get above dim for hours.
    I replaced all my incandescent light bulbs with CFL’s years ago … then I replaced them with incandescent’s when I realized how lousy they were for light, flickering and slow starting. I have a box full of useless CFL’s in the basement next to my boxes of replacement incandescent bulbs. LED’s may be the future when the price comes down.

  67. “”” Jim Johnson says:
    September 9, 2010 at 3:38 pm
    I use CFL’s for only the lights that are left on for a long time…the family room, the office, etc. They are not good for closets, bedrooms, bathrooms as they will burn out rapidly with the short and numerous on cycles. But in general, I like them a great deal. Especially if I choose the 3000K variety.
    Foe all the other, incandescent, lamps I have them on a dimmer. They last for 10 years, at least and allow all sorts of ambiance settings as well as use a less energy and produce a lot less heat while dimmed. “””
    Well actually Jim, incandescent lamps when dimmed use far more energy; not less; that is when you rate them for a certain number of Lumens output.
    As you dim incandescents; you lower the average electrical power fed to them and that drops their Temperature; which does two things; first off it drops the total radiation output probably by about the 4th power of that Temperature; but it also shifts the color to a longer wavelength where the eye sensitivity drop s rapidly.
    So you get af less light for a given amount of power with a dimmed Incandescent. I don’t like CFLs although my house is full of them; it is also full of EM interference that messes with other equipment in the house,
    LEDs can be dimmed without much of a loss in efficiency; and the color doesn’t change nearly as much as with dimmed incandescents.
    The problem with LEDs is that they are far too “bright” in the sense of surface Luminance; spectacularly so if you are looking at the yellow AlInGaP lamps. At just a one Watt power level these lamps are quite dangerous to look at.
    So that means they are usually assembled in fixtures with some sort of diffuser. and the diffuser sends a whole lot of light to some other place where you don’t need it.
    The future of LED lighting requires a complete re-engineering of the living (or working) environment. A typical Office desk situation calls for something like 100-200 Lumens per square foot on the desk. If this is provided by the usual overhead fluorescent fixtures; then a whole lot of light is lost in 1/r^2 losses. Well the light still goes somewhere; but not where you need it.
    So future office environments will have much lower ceiling lighting; regardless of whether it is LED or fluorescent; in fact the lightin levels will be dictated by safety in the office; can you see well enough to get a round and don’t forget a possible fire emergency where smoke might lower visibility.
    Then there will be application lighting by high efficiency LED fixtyures; that are much closer to your work space, and concentrate their much lower total flux ouptut on the place where you really want to be able to see fine detail.
    Present fluorescent fixtures use all kinds of gimmics such as Fly’s eye lens sheets or egg crate structures to restrict the viewing angle of the fixture Both of these structures scatter a whole lot of light; into directions where it is not useful to have light.
    And it is too bad because it doesn’t have to be that way. A tubular (not spiral) fluorescent lamp is an absolutely ideal light source to use with a properly designed ideal flux concentrator back reflector. Theoretically you can collect almost 100% of all of the flux emitted in all directions from a fluorescent tube, and reshape that into a reasonably uniform restricted angle beam exiting from some larger illuminated aperture than the tube itself; so that it is visible over a certain viewing angle (say 40 deg off axis) and then quite invisible beyond that. The ideal concentrator geometry swaps viewing angle for illuminated area; so you don’t need either the egg crate to restrict the view angle or the fly’s eye lenses. When those sheets of lenses are molded with dirt cheap tooling; they are full of cusps that create a whole lot of uncontrolled scatetred light over non useful scattering angles; including a ton of back scatter.
    I have a patent of a structure called a “wave eye” lens which does exactly the same light diffusion as a fly’s eye lens; but it is completely devoid of any cusps or uncontrolled surfaces so it has essentially zero back scatter, and zero scatter outside the design viewing angles; and it can be made into a thin plastic film, a la 3-M only 5-10 mils thick; which is more than an order of magnitude less plastic (fossil fuel) material.
    You can tailor the design of the surface waves to create almost any practical flux distribution that a fly’s eye lens can create.
    At the moment nobody actually makes the material for use in lighitng but one of the big LED lighting companies is looking into using something along those lines.
    We do use it but for a completely different application; namely the optical low pass filtering necessary to eliminate aliassing noise in digital imaging systems. You might even have one on your desk; and not know it is there. I know I have one on my desk.
    LED lighting is going to change a lot of old habits’ but it isn’t going to be a 1:1 replacement scheme.
    Sadly the red LEDs are still the easiest to make and the Green (bright ones) among the hardest whcih means it is always going to be cheaper to put in red stop lights than green go lights; and that in itself wastes an astronomical amount of imported oil; burned up in cars that are sitting at lights that are mostly red most of the time; instead of going through lights that are mostly green most of the time.
    Well traffic lights are programmed by the sort of thinkers that gave us M$ Windows. A two year old child can make better traffic stop/go decisions than typical city traffic lights. I find myself constantly stopped with a whole bunch of other cars at an intersection we could all safely drive through; but the traffic lights are simply waiting for some other cars to eventually arrive from somewhere else. Totally ridiculous.

  68. Odd. I’ve been using nothing but CFL lighting for three years now, and I haven’t had any problems; the light is comfortable, the bulbs work consistently, and I haven’t had any burnouts yet that I recall. Certainly no noticeable flicker, either.
    …And, erm, for those arguing that incandescents help with heating–well, sure, they do, but as far as I can tell not much. I assumed 45 bulbs in an average house, assumed that they were all 100 W (the most energetic household bulb listed on a highly non-exhaustive trip to Wikipedia), and assumed that ALL light, visible and IR, ended up heating the home eventually, giving 4.5 kWh of heating. The energy used by an average household for heating was surprisingly hard to find, but from this: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/tips/home_energy.html and this: http://www.eia.doe.gov/ask/electricity_faqs.asp#electricity_use_home I calculated a value of 3420 kWh used for heating. So, maybe 0.13% of a household’s heating comes from incandescent (that value comes with massive error bars, of course, considering my highly ersatz collection of data points, but it’s probably accurate to within an order of magnitude, which will do for my point). If anyone’s willing to devote the patience to improving that calculation, ten thousand blessings be upon you.

  69. Ian – when I moved from EU to the USA one of the first things that I noticed was the lack of PF correction on florescent light fittings.
    In the UK at least, every light fitting has a PF correction capacitor.
    For those that don’t know:
    Once it has fired up, a florescent light bulb (tube) has VERY low resistance. It will allow huge currents to flow, to the point of self-destruction.
    The current has to be limited somehow. The obvious answer is to put a resistor in series, but this has a big drawback – the resistor will get hot, and waste a lot of power (as heat), so the big advantage of the florescent light will be lost.
    The answer is to put a big inductor (the “ballast”) in series in place of the resistor.
    An inductor behaves like a resistor, and limits current with AC current. It does this in a way that is completely different than a resistor. It actually limits current without absorbing any power (except for the small resistance of the copper wire it is made from, and losses in the iron core). It does this by magic by having the voltage and current 90 degrees out of phase – lots of current when there is no voltage, and lots of voltage when there is no current. Since power is the product of voltage and current, power consumption is zero.
    The big problem is that fairly large currents flow. They may not result in power loss in the inductor, but those currents do heat the wiring and other components getting the power to the light.
    A capacitor also limits current in the same sort of way, but with the difference between voltage and current being exactly opposite of an inductor.
    By using both in the light fixture, the capacitor cancels out the phase difference caused by the inductor, and voltage and current are again in phase, but the the current is still limited.
    Of course, a capacitor costs money. In the US, fittings are sold without. They still work, but end up costing the power companies and the consumers more in wasted power costs than the manufacturers save – but that’s ok, they are not paying for it – you are.
    CFLs don’t use a plain inductive ballast, so they don’t suffer from this quite as badly.
    However, I don’t believe that even they are fully PF corrected.
    Incandescent bulbs, being purely resistive, have no such problems.
    Power factor correction is a big deal. Large industrial users with lots of electric motors (for example) spend a lot of money monitoring their PF and switching in capacitors to correct it. The power companies require it, and the companies save money from not having lots of “useless” current cause unnecessary heating.

  70. Feet2theFire says:
    September 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    BTW, the worst thing about Edison was that he was a thief who invented the U.S. system of workers creating new products and the company giving the guy squat for it, putting their name on it and making all the money – and fame. Edison pulled that on Tesla, and Tesla told him where to stick it. 95% of the inventions with Edison’s name on them he had nothing to do with except slapping his name on them after someone working for him did the real inventing.

    If that were true, then Edison’s factory and labs would have kept running after his death. Instead, things collapsed quickly without his drive – it’s one reason http://www.nps.gov/edis/index.htm is so well preserved.
    I worked for a person once who I think had a personality very similar to Edison’s. Some of us would get into some substantial arguments with Sandy over something that just wasn’t going to work, but his persistance often got people to come up with a solution. Some other folks were almost devoted to him. One came in one Saturday to fill a planter that we really didn’t have anyone to take care of it.
    Edison was part inventor, experimentalist, and entrepeneur. He had little patience for more theoretical types like Tesla who favored design over experimenting. I’m not at all surprised they didn’t get along.
    I read somewhere that Edison didn’t make much money off the electric light, a lot of it got burned up in patent defense and other corporate shenanigans. Things really haven’t changed much since then, e.g. Edwin Armstrong and FM radio, see http://www.ccrane.com/library/fm-invention.09.09.02.aspx or many of companies Microsoft squashed in their climb to dominance.
    Disclaimer – I’m more than a bit partial towards Thomas Edison. His daughter, Marion (nicknamed Dot from Morse code) and lived in Norwalk CT next door to my grandparents. They became best friends and “Aunt Marion” to my father and uncle, and me. She was devoted to her father, but despised his young second wife, and gave me my first books about Edison. To Eric John Werme. Hoping you will be interested int the story of a little boy whose hobby was electricity. – Marion Edison Oser
    It’s really remarkable that just one person links me to a kid who converted newspaper sales into chemical purchases (the “good stuff” too!) and who practiced Morse code during the Civil War.

  71. RE: Sorry to break this to you but Edison didn’t invent the light bulb. Henry Woodward(Canadian) invented an electric light bulb in 1874 and sold the patent to Thomas Edison. Edison was no Nicola Tesla, Tesla was a genius and left many inventions in the US. – James says September 9, 2010 at 2:40 pm
    Here’s the rest of that story.
    “As the 1900 article mentioned4, earlier workers had advanced to the same or higher degree in their work as did Woodward and Evans. To name a few: J. B. A. M. Jobard in 1838, C. de Changy in 1856, John Wellington Starr in 1845 and Joseph Swan in 1860. All these workers contributed, in one way or another, to the eventual development of the incandescent lamp, but it was Thomas Alva Edison who put the necessary ingredients together to make the lamp and system practical.”
    http://home.frognet.net/~ejcov/evans.html

  72. The main point on this issue is the matter of personal choice. I don’t care what kind of lighting you have in your house. Why should anyone else care what I choose. The right of personal choice is being taken away by force. The debate about which type of bulb is better is a distraction. What else are they going to take away?
    Does anyone here know what an Aladdin Mantle Lamp is? I have several of these and I use them not only when the power goes out, but also when I WANT to use them. They put out as much light as a 50 Watt light bulb and make a whole lot more heat than light. I don’t care. It’s my choice. I like them. If I want to pay the power bill for Edison bulbs or buy Kerosene for an Aladdin Mantle Lamp why should the Government get involved in my household affairs?

  73. “Carl says:
    September 9, 2010 at 1:55 pm
    Hoarding begins? There are some of us who began quite awhile ago……”
    You are correct, I started and completed my hoard of about 500 (various wattage’s)
    more than a year ago!
    I have found that incandescent light bulbs last essentially forever if you use a dimmer control
    and if there is no loose connection in the socket.
    Can’t remember how many years ago it has been since I’ve had one burn out.
    My hoard could last me hundreds of years; too bad I can’t live long enough to use them all up!
    If a “really useable replacement” comes along I plan on using my collection for target practice.

  74. Just to repeat my favorite post:
    William,
    “The main point on this issue is the matter of personal choice. I don’t care what kind of lighting you have in your house. Why should anyone else care what I choose. The right of personal choice is being taken away by force. The debate about which type of bulb is better is a distraction. What else are they going to take away?
    Does anyone here know what an Aladdin Mantle Lamp is? I have several of these and I use them not only when the power goes out, but also when I WANT to use them. They put out as much light as a 50 Watt light bulb and make a whole lot more heat than light. I don’t care. It’s my choice. I like them. If I want to pay the power bill for Edison bulbs or buy Kerosene for an Aladdin Mantle Lamp why should the Government get involved in my household affairs?”
    That’s the way I see it, too. The government, which always makes the wrong choice, deprives me of choices that I might freely make, at no cost to anyone else. At my house, those choices are based in a history of expertise about the subject, and on an installed system that precludes my use of the mandated products without considerable investment on my part in the modification of my lighting system.

  75. Thanks everyone,
    I’ve learned alot: buy, buy, buy ordinary light bulbs as if they are going out of business.
    Personally, I’ve tried the alternative in a number of applications and they don’t work as an incandescent. I have alot of dimmer lights and ceiling spots. The alternatives cannot fulfill those functions.
    Buy, buy, buy…

  76. I use a LED torch so as I can see what i am doing around the house while the CFLs warm up it is another global warming con job

  77. Well I find this debate very funny as I have been using florescent lighting since 1990.
    I have 2 globe bulbs made by Philips that I bought in 16 years ago and they are still going strong and the light from them is great. They cost £11 at the time which was expensive but they have saved me about £40 over their life time.
    The problem these days is that many new florescent bulbs are low quality and will not last very long but then what do expect from a bulb that only cost £2 !
    I have tried LEDs (and do still use some) but the problem at the moment the light is too white, but as they improve I’ll use them.
    As to the US loosing jobs I find the whole situation very sad 🙁
    When I was a boy the US was the great innovator the US went to the Moon the US led the world, but even then I saw the seeds of it’s downfall 🙁
    The US doesn’t like innovation that isn’t its own, Concord was an example of this (when I was younger at 6pm everyday Concord flew over my parents house and I used to always look out and be inspired and think even the Americans don’t have that).
    This dislike of outside innovation is the US’s Achilles heal as if it isn’t American all I hear is complaints of it being un-American and Jobs being lost. This is so sad as I really, really like America and have many friends there.
    What happened to the great innovator? You got taken over by accountants/bankers (plus so called capitalists who are just fat cats calling anything that stops them creaming it in socialists) and now you are falling behind the rest of the world, your broadband speeds are pathetic your innovating firms like Apple make everything in China. Microsoft are a classic example of what has gone wrong, they had it all and blew it!
    Come on America wake up and become the great country you are again, don’t curse the darkness light the candle!!!!!

  78. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Swan
    “Sir Joseph Wilson Swan KBE (31 October 1828 – 27 May 1914) was a British physicist and chemist, most famous for the invention of the incandescent light bulb for which he received the first patent in 1878. His house (in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England) was the first in the world to be lit by a lightbulb.”
    “Swan received a British patent for his device in 1878, about a year before Thomas Edison…… In America, Edison had been working on copies of the original Swan patent, trying to make them more efficient. Though Swan had beaten him to this goal, Edison obtained patents in America for a fairly direct copy of the Swan light, and started an advertising campaign which claimed that he was the real inventor. Swan, who was less interested in making money from the invention, agreed that Edison could sell the lights in America while he retained the rights in Britain….. In 1883 the Edison & Swan United Electric Light Company was established. Known commonly as “Ediswan” the company sold lamps made with a cellulose filament that Swan had invented in 1881.”

  79. The longest lasting incandescents I ever used were found at a discount store over five years ago. IIRC they were made in Poland. The trick: they were rated at 130VAC. As I had learned in an electrical course, incandescents tend to blow when turned on since heating up puts mechanical stress on the filament. So use the 130V bulbs, the filament is stronger and it’ll still work at 120V with a negligible lessening of illumination versus a 120V bulb of the same wattage. They’re normally available from industrial and electrical suppliers.
    For “normal” fluorescent tubes (not the CFL’s) there are low-mercury versions available, frequently seen version (commercial setting) is 4 foot and larger straight tubes. The metal caps on the ends are green colored. For companies there is a significant difference, provided they haven’t changed the laws recently when I wasn’t looking. The ordinary ones must be saved and sent off for recycling, which can have a per-bulb cost. The green caps can be thrown out in the regular trash.

  80. Byz says: Well I find this debate very funny as I have been using florescent lighting since 1990.
    I’ve been using them since before 1988! And I used to manufacture LED lighting around 2000 (before it was commercially available at £50 each!)
    But like all things the so called “waste” of lighting is often not waste, but useful heating (as our chickens know!)
    Moreover, I suspect fluorescents merely lead to an increase in lighting and not a reduction in electricity and I use my own example:-
    When we moved into the current house a decade ago, it had two 60W incandescents. I then replaced these with (in sequence)
    2x 20W fluorescents.
    6x 8W fluorescents
    Which my wife has quietly replaced with:-
    6x 20W fluorescents.
    As for life, we seem to replace fluorescents as often as we used to replace incandescents – indeed in the early days of fluorescents, they seemed to get very dull very quickly making the projected “life” completely meaningless, I can remember waiting for many minutes after switching on a light to get any useful light.

  81. The law as it went through our department of EU state gov in Whitehall was that you cannot buy incandescent bulbs over 60W for domestic use. This means if you want them for “other” uses you can still legally buy them! Though not many suppliers stock them.

  82. 1.) My two CFL’s outside (each 7 Watts) work well all night long for more than 5 years. But last year inside my house I had an explosion of a CFL near my head. A smoking capacitor with a very bad smell mounted on a board and the CFL-tube were dangling out of the socket. The CFL-tube was’nt broken so I had no mercury-problem in my living-room. But the smell of the capacitor dislodged me for the rest of the day.
    2.) A test in Germany shows a strong depedency of CFL-life on mounting-position. Downwards mounted CFL’s can have a very short life due to heat problems.
    3.) I now pay attention where and in which way to place my CFL’s inside the house but the major problem is the widespread mercury all over the country from within the CFL-tubes. The recycling-rate will never be 100% and there will be accidents in living-rooms which free mercury. It is not so easy to get rid of this.

  83. Byz says: I have tried LEDs (and do still use some) but the problem at the moment the light is too white, but as they improve I’ll use them.
    In reality, “white” LEDs are blue LEDs with a yellow fluorescent material which absorbs blue light and gives out wide spectrum light around yellow. If you look at the spectrum of the LED lights you will find there are massive “holes” in the spectrum, which means that some colours will not show correctly, and from memory it can really help to add a red LED because they are so deficient in deep red output.
    The other “problem” is that (last time I looked), fluorescents gave out more light per/watt than LEDs. Manufacturers would try to suggest they were “brighter” by only counting the light given out directly in front, but anyone with an ounce of intelligence could put a director on a fluorescent and make it brighter than an LED.

  84. Wow, this is funny.
    I was going to write something on the availability of dimmable fluorescent ballasts for regular fixtures, as found on Amazon although pricey. Dimmable CFL’s should be available now or in the near future, and expect to pay a good deal to use the dimmer switches you already have.
    However, from Google I first found this unit which is an adjustable ballast for other types of lights that use a ballast, including metal halide (MH) and high pressure sodium (HPS). Apparently they’re used by horticulturists who need adjustable lighting.
    Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought:
    Marijuana Horticulture: The Indoor/Outdoor Medical Grower’s Bible.
    Marijuana Garden Saver: Handbook for Healthy Plants.
    pH Control Kit – General Hydroponics.

    Ah, the miracles of modern technology! How did our ancient ancestors get along without them? ☺

  85. It is a fact that the components for a light bulb were invented by Woodward and Evans, Canadians and then the patent was sold to N. Tesla who finished the whole idea.
    To close down the factory wasn’t that necessary, by my opinion. If the management would find the way how to change an operating cycle, to change suppliers, etc… I know that is not that easy but to save jobs for people should be the priority. Otherwise we will very soon buy products that are all made in China…

  86. Joseph: That ad you mentioned claimed that incandescents needed to be replaced two or three times a year. Not true…we have some that have been going for years. Others, of course, do need replacing from time to time. I hate the CFL bulbs…they are hideous and the light is ghastly. Those LED ones in the ad look pretty hideous too. I hate the LED lights you see on some cars and I loathe halogen lights. I worry about the amount of energy and material that goes into these so-called ‘green’ products and I certainly worry about the pollution they cause when they cease to work. I deeply resent our various nanny states’ interference in our lives; all costing US a lot more of our hard-earned money and making a fortune for the manufacturers of these abysmal lights.
    Give me the old incandescents every time!

  87. “[Were the new LED’s or new CFL’s getting dimmer so quickly?] Robert”
    CFLs were the culprits. I don’t care what anyone says, my measure of their incompetence is irrefutible – I find it difficult and then nigh on impossible to read the Daily Telegraph as the weeks pass by. By the way, this is exacerbated by the low ink level usage – accountants or greenie weenies to blame? Does less black ink lower one’s carbon footprint? Or should that read fingerprint?
    No cracks about the D. T. please and also be aware that many of us over 70s are increasingly challenged in the eyesight department.

  88. Anthony, please: “one of America’s proudest inventions” Eh? I don’t think so! We all know lots of inventions have come out of the US, but Edison wasn’t even born when the first light bulb was invented by an Englishman (yet again!) one Humphrey Davy. When Edison was 13 years old, another Englishman, Joseph Swan had made a light bulb, AND made a incandescent electric one independently of Edison in 1880. All Edison did was to improve an ALREADY existing patent that he bought! You’ll be telling us next that the US invented the jet engine, the internal combustion engine, radar, television, and the web! ALL British inventions.

  89. Smokey:
    Really interesting article but not the same bulb. The one in the article I was remembering had been shining continuously in a fitting room of a men’s clothing shop!

  90. @ Feet2theFire says:
    September 9, 2010 at 3:02 pm
    In my own workshop I have a lathe and other rotating machinery. My workshop is well-illuminated by four 6′ neon tubes. If you re-read my original entry you will see that it is Government legislation which requires rotating machinery to be incandescent-bulb illuminated, not me!
    “… Factory Safety legislation which requires all rotating machinery to be illuminated by an incandescent bulb …”

  91. Here in South Africa, we have largely CFLs as the power authority gave them away a couple of years ago in an attempt to lessen the demands on the rapidly deteriorating national grid. In the light of the now horrendous cost of power, (the rate designed to provide the capital cost of more nuclear stations) the populace was grateful enough for the CFLs despite their shortcomings. Chinese incandescents are still available if one looks around for them. As for mercury, we don’t have a problem, firstly because the matter has received exactly zero publicity, and, secondly, because all domestic waste ends up in landfill anyway so we don’t have to worry about it! Pollution of the ground water?….. You tell me.

  92. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    September 10, 2010 at 12:25 am

    The longest lasting incandescents I ever used were found at a discount store over five years ago. IIRC they were made in Poland. The trick: they were rated at 130VAC. As I had learned in an electrical course, incandescents tend to blow when turned on since heating up puts mechanical stress on the filament. So use the 130V bulbs, the filament is stronger and it’ll still work at 120V with a negligible lessening of illumination versus a 120V bulb of the same wattage. They’re normally available from industrial and electrical suppliers.

    For the same power consumption and filament length, a 130VAC lamp will need a thinner filament. It’s higher resistance means less current, needed to keep power consumption the same.
    The gain in lifetime usually comes from the lower temperature that the filament runs at, and that means there’s less evaporation or rearrangement of the filament. The “burnout when switched on” phenomenon comes from the thermal/mechanical stress acting on a weakened filament, so what you’re seeing is simply less wear on the filament.
    Every so often, people would try selling lamps designed for traffic lights to the general public because those lamps are designed to handle thousands of on/off cycles. However, the filament temperature is so low (there’s no need to generate blue light!) that the color is too warm and light output is too low.

  93. Chiming in here: I just finished a gut renovation about 19 months ago. I had the electric in and working for a several months prior. Amongst all the other fixtures I have approximately 48 can lights. In the kitchen I have 10 R16’s. The rest are 60 watt floods. EVERYTHING is on a dimmer.
    Out of all those bulbs, I’ve had 3 fail in 2 years. 1 flood and 2 R16’s. One of the R16’s was directly beneath the washer (which need to be replaced as it’s old and vibrates). All of the bulbs were purchased from the electrical supply place and were cheap by the case (of which I have a couple down in the basement). Basically, if you dim bulbs, they last a long time unless they get bumped are are subjected to vibration or have a manufacturing flaw. In our prior place, we replaced two of 10 can light spots when we moved in and we lived there for 5 years without any further replacements. They sip electricity if you dim them.
    There’s no need to be much more efficient in the midwest. I’m looking at probably <$10/ year total bulb expense ad infinitam, of which the next 10 years worth of bulbs are capitalized in my mortgage. I love the gentle glow of dimmed incandescent spots. People actually comment on my lighting and the warm and inviting look it creates. There is simply no way that I can get the same effect for anything less than 4 times the cost, if at all. I'm not changing for the foreseeable future.
    That said, I did put cfl's in the basement. First of all, they throw off a goodly amount of low shadow light and it's a workshop and storage down there. Duke gave them to us, for "free" which also makes them make sense. Additionally, I or the Mrs. will occasionally leave them on for a day or two. If we're going to do that, we want to be using efficient lighting. CFL's definitely have their uses, but from a marginal benefit perspective, those uses are limited.
    Now, in a decade or so, when I run out of my incandescent bulbs, led's may be down enough in cost to get me excited. Infact, I suspect that they will be. I also suspect that I'm going to be able to get more and better light for tasks from them, than I can get now. I'm excited about the more distant future, but near term, I advise folks to stock up and hunker down.

  94. I hate the light from energy-savers as much as everyone else, but I can’t help feeling that, a bit like the ICE, incandescent bulbs are an embarrassingly crude solution – barely a step up from whale-oil. I mean, seriously, is the best we can do for light really to heat up a piece of wire until it glows white hot?

  95. Roger 2:17 AM – I had the same problem and then I got my cataracts replaced with lens implants, and the CFL got SO much better.

  96. As an artist, attempting to paint by the light of even the “daylight” CFLs is a miserable experience in squintage. I hate it. HATE THEM with a passion. As your average consumer, the noxious stench emanating when one fries in a tiny bathroom is enough to make you retch, especially when you remember that $5 bulb is only 7 months old. Insult to injury.
    [snip – language! jove~mod]

  97. Meanwhile, light bulb workers of America go dim as one of America’s proudest inventions disappears from production. Mr. Edison is scowling, wherever he is.
    That would be the proud English invention! Thanks to Sir Joseph Swan.

  98. Beege Welborn says:
    September 10, 2010 at 7:00 am
    “As an artist, attempting to paint by the light of even the “daylight” CFLs is a miserable experience in squintage. I hate it. HATE THEM with a passion.”
    Interesting picture of the spectrum of a CFL:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CFLspectrum.agr.jpg
    from this article:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_fluorescent_lamp
    Looks like they slowly improve the spectrum. For the time being i would just use Halogen lamps when painting.

  99. Dave says:
    September 10, 2010 at 6:46 am
    “[…] I mean, seriously, is the best we can do for light really to heat up a piece of wire until it glows white hot?”
    If you want a continuus spectrum, it’s a rather elegant solution.

  100. I use CFLs in some places, but they are simply not suitable for other places.
    1) Many of them have an annoying hum. I didn’t think they were supposed to do that.
    2) They require a “warm-up” period. When I turn the lights on, I want them on, not at 50% slowly going up.
    3) Not compatible with dimmer switches.
    4) They don’t seem to do very well outside when its cold.

  101. What, no complaints about the damage Edison did to the kerosene lamp business?
    Edison fired a scientis who showed him a fluorescent bulb. Ol Tom was not going to let any scientist stand in the way of his sales of incandesents. Where would we be without Edison. O! I know : we wouls have more efficient DC long distance power transmission and more efficient 220 systems .
    When I bought a Kilawatt off ebay a few years ago, I dropped my household use by 50%. Old fashioned bulbs accounted for 20% : cfc’s hardly show up on the meter. Why should I use an inferior technology to make [.] snip feel less inadequate?
    Do You use fluorescent buls in your office? Most businesses do because there are a better ,cheaper more reliable technology.

  102. As mentioned by Adam Gallon above, rough service bulbs, those rated at 130V (here in the US), are exempt, as are flood lamps and decorative bulbs. That is what I usually prefer to buy anyway since they last longer.

  103. Malaga View September 9, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Thankfully, there is a very Spanish response to these new rules: switch across to new fittings with Halogen light bulbs… bright light… no mercury… no warming up period… no stumbling around in dull dim light.
    Add a dimmer switch for more versatile lighting and lower electricity bills… works very well for me… but I am sure the EU will make this illegal as it is far too sensible.

    Be aware that Halogens require to be operated at or above a specific temperature such that the Halogen cycle is operative:

    The function of the halogen [cycle] is to set up a reversible chemical reaction with the tungsten evaporating from the filament.
    In ordinary incandescent lamps, this tungsten is mostly deposited on the bulb.
    The halogen cycle keeps the bulb clean and the light output remains almost constant throughout life.
    At moderate temperatures the halogen reacts with the evaporating tungsten, the halide formed being moved around in the inert gas filling. At some time it will reach higher temperature regions, where it dissociates, releasing tungsten and freeing the halogen to repeat the process. In order for the reaction to operate, the overall bulb temperature must be higher than in conventional incandescent lamps.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halogen_lamp
    .

  104. Murray Duffin conveying an ignorance of history on September 10, 2010 at 6:48 am writes:
    OMG that bill was passed in 2007, by the RIGHT. We are doomed!!

    Completely wrong, but hey, you’re still doomed.

    United States House of Representatives elections, 2006
    The 2006 US House election was held on November 7, 2006 to elect members to the United States House of Representatives.
    All of the 435 seats in the House were up for election. Those elected served in the 110th United States Congress from January 3, 2007 until January 3, 2009.
    The incumbent majority party, the Republican Party had controlled the house since the 1994 election and was defeated by the Democrats who won a majority in the House ending 12 years in opposition.

    From wickedpedia …
    .

  105. Mark Young September 10, 2010 at 5:36 am
    .. . Basically, if you dim bulbs, they last a long time

    An X10 wall switch has kept ‘alive’ the same incandescent bulb in a hallway for over a decade now in daily service …
    The moral of the story: apply the mains voltage at the zero-crossover point on a cold bulb AS OPPOSED TO some random point (determined by a random flip of a simple SPST wall switch) on the incoming AC sinusoidal mains voltage.
    AC 120 (RMS) yields a peak voltage = 1.414 x RMS = 170 V pk (approx), and this could be applied to a *cold* filament which has a fraction of the resistance of a hot filament.
    For example, a 100-watt, 120-volt lamp has a resistance of 144 ohms when lit, but the cold resistance is much lower (about 9.5 ohms) (credit bulb R: wiki)
    .

  106. Ian L. McQueen September 9, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    An interesting trivium about CFLs is that their power factor is 0.5, meaning that the power supplier has to pump twice as much energy into the power lines as is used by the bulb (and pardon the oversimplification of power factor!!).

    [snip]
    The figure is not “twice as much energy” but instead is “twice as much current” (the figure may not be exactly twice… [snip]
    There *is* a difference, most people conflate/confuse the two … I^2 * R losses (‘energy’ or power losses) will occur in the lines, and must be supplied by generation, but the losses only occur out to where the first power-correction capacitor banks are placed on the distribution lines (yes, the power co has at least gotten this wise).
    [please be polite when correcting other people – some are only striving to make sure they are also understood by less technical readers, of which there are many ;-). Your tone leaves something to be desired. jove ~mod]
    .

  107. The greens have to let engineering do its thing. A typical green product (Dr. Suzuki figures prominently in Canadian ads) the curly light bulb concentrates on one aspect of environment- saving energy while they ignore that it is a comeback for mercury. Also, my daughter had a mysterious illness – dizziness, nausea, itching after installing the curliques. Her doctor didn’t know what it could be but asked what was new at home. She removed the bulbs and the symptoms disappeared. Anyone here of such a thing in connection with these bulbs?

  108. You might be amused to know that the EU has also outlawed the sale of traditional mercury barometers, on the grounds that they would be difficult to dispose of, ignorant of the fact that they were very expensive and most people planned to keep them forever.
    Mercury in CFL’s and dental fillings is OK, of course…

  109. The death of incandescents will have other unintended consequences: no more bubble lights or lava lamps! 🙁
    I don’t mind the LED lights, except in my Christmas decorations. There’s just nothing like the soft golden glow of incandescent Christmas lights shining through the snow. The new LEDs are still too harsh and blue, and when you get the colored strands they end up looking purple from a distance. The full-spectrum white light is over rated. It is cold, not warm and inviting, which makes a big difference in a Michigan winter.

  110. First they ban incandesent lights.
    Then they ban the internal combustion engine.
    Then come the come the re-education camps for “Denialists”.
    Then comes “Don’t worry, it’s only a shower”.
    OK, maybe there will be a few intervening steps. 🙂
    [. . . ] snip . . is it helpful? . . .mod

  111. Hehehe….. I stocked up!
    I tried one of the new bulbs in the utility room – my wife told me to leave the light on so she did not have to turn it on!
    So I replaced it with a “less efficient” bulb that would not be left on.

  112. Murray Duffin says:
    September 10, 2010 at 6:48 am
    OMG that bill was passed in 2007, by the RIGHT. We are doomed!!

    Pelosi and Reid are right? You must think Mao Tse Tung is a soul mate of Rush Limbaugh!

  113. From: Ric Werme on September 10, 2010 at 5:05 am

    For the same power consumption and filament length, a 130VAC lamp will need a thinner filament. It’s higher resistance means less current, needed to keep power consumption the same.
    The gain in lifetime usually comes from the lower temperature that the filament runs at, and that means there’s less evaporation or rearrangement of the filament. The “burnout when switched on” phenomenon comes from the thermal/mechanical stress acting on a weakened filament, so what you’re seeing is simply less wear on the filament.

    I carefully said stronger not thicker, with “stronger” used synonymously with “more durable,” applicable for 120VAC versus 130 at 120.
    It’s basically as you said, which can be read about here, but not necessarily so. You did mention filament length, however from a manufacturing standpoint it may make more sense to simply use a slightly longer filament rather than stock and worry about different sizes of the ultra-fine tungsten wire when switching between making 120 and 130VAC bulbs. The machinery is set up to handle a certain diameter wire, so do you readjust all the wire-handling machines, or tweak the finished length?
    There is also the issue as to whether the filament is pure tungsten or alloyed, which represents another possible way to change the resistance.
    In any case, it’s still the same effect as mentioned in these comments with regards to using dimmers. With the bulbs so cheap, they’re designed for efficiency over lifespan by running the filaments very hot. A slight drop in voltage from as designed, whether by the 130 on 120 change or by dimmer switch, drops the operating temperature thus greatly increasing the lifespan. However since dimmers, as with the mechanical rheostat versions and even the electronic ones, reduce the output voltage in ways that generate heat, if longer life is the sole goal then 130V bulbs make more sense.

  114. Jim
    “Be aware that Halogens require to be operated at or above a specific temperature such that the Halogen cycle is operative”
    This is perfectly true, but that feature is built-in (one reason they are particularly bright), so I’m not quite sure what point you’re making.
    They certainly give a lovely light. They are widely used in stage lighting, where you need power and an even spectrum. LED’s can be used for colour mixing, but are generally too feeble, and CFL’s don’t feature at all.

  115. Phil
    “I tried one of the new bulbs in the utility room – my wife told me to leave the light on so she did not have to turn it on!”
    That’s the Law of Unintended Consequences for you. The only CFL’s we use are in utility areas where they tend to get left on. The overall power consumption is about the same as a (switched) tungsten bulb…

  116. Roger
    “Does less black ink lower one’s carbon footprint”
    Probably, but the likely cause is the switch from oil to water-based ink, for elf’n’safety type reasons. They don’t light fires so well, either…

  117. slp said on September 10, 2010 at 8:36 am:

    As mentioned by Adam Gallon above, rough service bulbs, those rated at 130V (here in the US), are exempt, as are flood lamps and decorative bulbs. That is what I usually prefer to buy anyway since they last longer.

    I dug a new but old GE “Ruff-Service Bulb” out of the cabinet. Specs on the package: 100W, 120V, 1160 lumens, 1000 hours expected life. Seems best to check the rated voltage regardless of whether it is “rough service” or not.
    For comparison, I dug out a 24-count “contractor pack” of Sylvania standard light bulbs, 75W at 130V. The numbers are on the box for use at both 130 and 120V.
    130V: 75W, 750 hours, 1210 lumens.
    120V: 66W, 1875 hours, 895 lumens.
    For equal 100W 120V numbers, I found the following on the on-box “comparison chart” of a Sylvania halogen bulb.
    Soft white: 750 hours, 1750 lumens.
    Halogen: 2250 hours, 1850 lumens.
    Clarification: That was a mere rough service bulb, which has a “heavy duty” filament that withstands shocks better, as in you can drop the trouble light (aka drag light, service light, work light) on the floor and the filament will not automatically break. Unlike the ones with the rubbery coating, don’t expect the globe to be more shatter resistant than a standard bulb, nor able to withstand water (snow, raindrops) any better.
    By the numbers, rough service bulbs for normal use don’t make sense. They may only be 120V, you have to check. The light output per watt is less. The moderate lifetime increase (120V) doesn’t justify what I have found to be a huge price difference. If there was an odd case like vibration from a nearby appliance was causing regular bulbs to die quickly, then a rough service may be indicated.
    Now, while you can, stock up on the 130V standard light bulbs. As far as the light output difference goes, you can use a 100W 130V in place of a 75W 120V, or a 75W 130V for a 60W 120V (not exceeding the maximum wattage rating of the socket, of course), and still be ahead money-wise over standard bulbs.
    BTW, rough service bulbs may be on the way out regardless. Cheap fluorescent trouble lights have been on the market for awhile, LED ones are now on the market that are also rechargeable (no cord to drag around the drag light with). That rough service incandescent bulb I have is new yet old because I switched to the fluorescent ones, and no longer get burned when working close to the light. I foresee that market forces driven by customer preferences will make incandescent trouble lights a thing of the past, and with them will go their rough service bulbs.

  118. Without incandescent I’m going back to gas lighting. It’s very romantic and produces a lot of CO2 to keep my house plants happy.
    Count me in to buy up the incandescent line and put it in mothballs until sensible people in government, (i.e. the ones who actually believe in the idea of limited government), repeal the silly law.

    kadaka: A slight drop in voltage from as designed, whether by the 130 on 120 change or by dimmer switch, drops the operating temperature thus greatly increasing the lifespan.

    That’s true but also … The inrush current for the first few AC cycles is what does the most to suck the life out of a filament. The initial current is many times the operating current resulting in a very fast rise in temperature which them results in a very hard mechanical jolt from the sudden thermal expansion of the material. So while it’s still cold and brittle, the mechanical jolt during the first few cycles creates cracks on the surface of the tungsten. Those cracks then become points of higher resistance creating hot spots one of which becoming the ultimate point of failure in the future.
    Using a dimmer to ramp up the light bulb every time you turn it on ought to approach the life of a bulb left on continuously.

  119. We run a series of on-line experiments since January 2009 comparing incandescent lamps and CFL’s, especially regarding their different switching withstand.
    You may look here: bmb.lcd.lu; this site also contains a lot of other information and comments regarding CFL’s.

  120. For me, the primary advantage of the new fluorescent bulbs is that they do not need to be replaced as frequently. So far, however, the local waste disposal service has no provision for collecting them. I do not expect to save any money as a result of their high efficiency.

  121. Thank you for the Wiki pic, Dirk. Quite cool. And the second the cooler spectrum CFL’s started appearing in higher lumens, I started buying them to replace the blue “daylight” incan. bulbs I loved so much (But which, oddly enough, also seemed to have their own longevity issues.)
    My only problem with halogens is the heat ~ boy, can they warm up a summertime Florida studio.

  122. Several grumpy comments:
    Flicker? Yes, with magnetic ballasts. Old florescents, maybe. New electronic ballasts eliminate that, usually 20KHz flicker, which can confuse some infrared remote controls, but no hazard with rotating machines. CFL’s have to use electronics, as magnetics are too big. They sometimes flicker randomly due to partially defective switches (what?!?) yes, they draw so little current that a poor connection shows up as flicker. A good ol’ incandescent has a big inrush current that slightly welds the switch contacts and overcomes this. LED’s may or may not have this problem depending on electornics inside. Some CFL’s don’t do it, some do.
    Efficiency (or efficacy)? Regular incandescent, 12-15 lumens/watt. Halogens can approach 20 lm/watt. CFL’s average about 50 lm/w. LED’s? Depends on what you chose to believe. 70 lm/w is realistic, based on what you can buy. 100 lm/w touted by the greens, valid in the lab, but not on the shelf. So a bit better than CFL’s, but nowhere near “95% less” than incandescents. And far more expensive. CFL’s contain 3-5 mg of mecury. LED’s use some of the most toxic stuff on the planet in production, much safer in use. Easier to dispose of.
    Incandescents will last longer on reduced voltage. Wire two in series (60 volts each in the U.S.) and they last forever. Don’t produce much light, but you never replace them. CFL’s do last longer, but suffer greatly if you turn them on and off a lot. This is probably due to cheap electronics more than anything else. LED’s will suffer the same fate. Driving circuit will fail long before the light emitter.
    What about heat? Filament bulbs get rid of their excess heat by radiation of mid IR. The socket and globe get hot, but not near as much as the LED gives out, as all of it’s waste heat (1/5 of incandescent) comes out as really long wave IR. Get rid of it by conduction. That’s why bright commercial LED’s have heatsinks. Tiny LED’s don’t have this problem, but don’t produce much light. CFL’s are in the middle. The electronics get very warm. They work outside, even in the cold, if you leave them on all the time. Don’t try them in ovens, refrigerators or on dimmers (some newer ones claim to overcome the last part).
    The gotcha: older CFL’s, like the Sylvanias I had in my kitchen ceiling cans, lit up full power right away. Lasted 7 years, just like the package said. $25/ea. The new CFL’s, $7 at Home Depot, from China, take 30+ seconds to wake up, and one died in the first week. Many stories about electronics catching fire. The technology isn’t the problem, the source is. You get what you pay for.
    For the shop: 4 ft T5’s (even smaller than T8’s) electronic ballasts, and good reflectors, can produce nearly 100 lm/w, comfortable on the eyes, last forever, and at least as far as my spectrum analyzer says, produce no measurable RF. I question claims to the contrary, as any electronic device sold in the U.S. using frequencies above 15 KHz, must meet the applicable part of FCC rules for RF leakage.
    LED’s will get cheaper, but the usual economy of scale in microchip production, yield, doesn’t really apply. MFR’s get zillions of good parts per wafer, that won’t change much. Production and assembly costs may drop a bit if they build them in Asia, and use the cheapest electronics they can find. That may reduce the reliability.
    Bottom line: there isn’t one. Use whatever you like best. I’ve had good luck with some CFL’s (mostly older ones, produced outside of China) but newer ones fail more often. LED’s are 10-20 times as expensive. Lousy ROI. Incandescents? In some places, nothing else will work.

  123. John Innes said on September 10, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    The thing about CFLs that I like is that they draw so little power you can leave them on permanently.

    I like how you can “overload” a socket. Provided it physically fits, you can, for example, use a 100W-equivalent CFL using 23W in a desk lamp rated for 40W max. I’ve done this for several ceiling fixtures, one of them enclosed, and it works well.
    The downside is you have to watch out for “fluorescent fixtures” as I’ve found at Lowes. They’re actually made like standard incandescent fixtures, except by specifying them as only for CFL’s they can use cheaper low-wattage sockets and perhaps less ceiling-side heat-deflecting insulation, might have wires with lower heat ratings as well. If you run out of CFL’s and try to use an incandescent “on an emergency basis,” or someone tries to change bulbs who doesn’t know the fixtures are CFL-only (like the person you sold your house to)… Might not be an acceptable outcome.

  124. Ed Murphy says:
    September 10, 2010 at 3:36 pm
    That hocky stick also looks like the graph of Foreclosure Phil Gramm’s activities.
    –…—…—
    Er, uhm, how do I say it? No.
    The root cause of the the world’s recession was the oil and gas price hikes resulting from Nancy Pelosi’s control of the US House of Representatives beginning in 2007 (For our overseas readers, she is a radical democrat environmentalist from San Franciso who took control in Jan 2007 after the November 2006 elections. Her policies and her bills stopped oil exploration completely, began raising taxes and raising the deficiets, and – most importantly – allowed her to single-handedly – promote her chosen liberal extremist politicians to chairmanship of tax, housing, energy, financial, banking, and all other congressional committees.
    Their new policies – unfortunately not stopped by Bush, and very much promoted by the liberal/socialist media in America – began the recession. Increasing energy costs cost jobs and increased prices in many other industries (manufactoring, automobile, farming, airplane and travel and shipping, etc etc etc. ) Those rising prices, drops in the market, and drops in available work killed the housing and commercial real estate markets. Those losses in fall and winter 2007-2008 killed the over-extended Wall Street stocks and highly levered/derivative markets and short-term investors/banks/insurance companies through the late spring and early summer of 2008.
    Those financial losses in summer 2008 were (perhaps deliberately) what caused the collapse in Sept 2008, “bailout, and ultimate democrat election of the other socialist/liberals including Obama in November 2008.
    So it STARTED with the deliberate energy-limiting/price increasing/CAGW-inspired policies of Pelosi in mid-summer/late spring 2007.
    Coming soon to ANY other government who follows a CAGW-derived national energy policy.

  125. Tried CFL’s – most free from my energy supplier – only a small saving from the 23 bulbs tried. Not enough light from CFL’s, drained house of colour and had on ‘go pop’ on me. So I’ve gone back to a mix of incandescent and halogen, as before. Have now bought large stock of incandescent until LED or alternatives improve in quality and get cheaper.
    Here in UK can still bulk buy incandescent bulbs cheaply on the internet!

  126. I have had only CFLs in my house except for the oven for six years – yes I have a CFL in the fridge. They take at most 30 seconds to warm up. I also have a CFL in my outside light which wasn’t noticeably affected by last year’s cold winter.
    In that six years I’ve only needed to change one CFL which was one of the two I leave on for most of the evening most of the time (as I’m security conscious). I did initially have a problem with two cheap bulbs I tried, but the main manufacturer’s products are fine. Based on the comments here and elsewhere I think a lot of problems may be with quality control in the US.
    Since I have lights on more often than I have the heating on they do save me a lot of money.
    They’d also save money for those with air con.

  127. RE: Steve Milesworthy says:
    “I also have a CFL in my outside light which wasn’t noticeably affected by last year’s cold winter.”
    What part of the country are you from, Steve? I’m a bit worried about the lights in my stables up here in New Hampshire. When it gets well below zero outside, with a screaming wind, it can be below zero inside. The goats all huddle together (with a stray cat) and tend to warm an area with body heat, but during the darkness of long winter nights I need the lights to come on fast.
    What will they do about heat lamps? I need them when the weather is coldest.

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