Friday, February 20, 2009

Those Weird Looking Light Bulbs and Why You Should Make the Change

Actually, there's no reason NOT to make the change. Those dim, flickering first generation Compact Flourescent bulbs (CFC's) are a thing of the past. The price has come way way down, the choices of size and wattage are as good as those incandescent bulbs and you can even get floodlights, 3-ways and dimmer bulbs now.

My own personal experience may help to nudge you in the CHC direction. In May of 2007, we used some of our tax refund to purchase enough CFC's to change over every bulb we need. My daughter and I spent an hour or so walking through the house, writing down every bulb, and wattage , as well as any special needs (ceiling fan, oven hood, 3-way lamp,sunlight or natural light, flood lights).

Turned out we needed 29 bulbs (we have a lot of ceiling fans than each take 4 bulbs).

Previously we had researched cost at both Walmart and Lowe's and Lowe's came out less expensive. However, the store brand (and clearly marked "best deal") was not the best deal. The more expensive bulk pack of 6 bulbs saved us almost $3.00 a box.

The net cost for all bulbs was $110.00.

Plus the hour or so it took to change the bulbs out.

We changed ALL of our bulbs. The photo below is of my vintage 1930s floor lamp (much beloved and the first lamp I ever bought for my first apartment, straight from a little antique store on Rue Chartres in New Orleans. I've re-wired it twice, replaced the shade twice,and will never give it up. Now it's continuing into the 21st century.)

The one below is the kitchen ceiling fan. Probably the least attractive, since the glass globe own't fit over the size bulb we need. To us, it's more important to have the CFC bulb than the glass globe. Your mileage may differ.

Also a kitchen light, showing how warm the light is. It does come on slightly dimmer, but not with the characteristic icy-blue light of the earlier CFC's. Probably takes less than a minute to
come to complete light capacity.

Here's the livingroom ceiling fan - again, we didn't replace the center bulb in the glass globe.
Each of these CFC's equal a 40 watt bulb. In the ceiling fan overhead light over my desk, I have 4 "natural light" CFC bulbs -they simulate sunlight, and I love them.

The light on the homeschool table. It's a 3-way bulb, used constantly, and sits on the homeschool table specifically for reading and studing.

Now, remember these bulbs were replaced in May 2007. As I write this it is February 20,2009.
Almost 2 years and no problems with the bulbs (and this is amazing because we're on the east coast, and our power grid supply lines are old, and very hard on light bulbs. Previously, we were constantly replacing incandescent bulbs that would blow out, burn out, or just dim within weeks.

Financially, here are the usage statistics: from June 2007 until the current February 2009, we have saved no less than 7294 kw, which translates to roughly 2.3 months of our normal usage,
or $639.00 in 20 months, or $31.96 each month.

Our $110.00 investment literally paid for itself in 14 weeks.

Now, saving money may not be your primary motivation, so here (from Fast Company) are the more important reasons for switching to CFC lighting:

1. If every one of 110 million American households bought just one ice-cream-cone bulb, took it home, and screwed it in the place of an ordinary 60-watt bulb, the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million people.

2. Compact fluorescents emit the same light as classic incandescents but use 75% or 80% less electricity.

3. A $3 swirl pays for itself in lower electric bills in about five months. (Our personal experience was 3.5 months)
4. Compact fluorescents, even in heavy use, last 5, 7, 10 years. Years!

5. The single greatest source of greenhouse gases in the United States is power plants–half our electricity comes from coal plants. One bulb swapped out: enough electricity saved to turn off two entire power plants–or skip building the next two.

6. In terms of oil not burned, or greenhouse gases not exhausted into the atmosphere, one bulb is equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off the roads. Did you catch that? ONE BULB SWITCHED OUT IS EQUIVALENT TO TAKING 1.3 MILLION CARS OFF THE ROAD.

7. Last year, U.S. consumers spent about $1 billion to buy about 2 billion lightbulbs–5.5 million every day. Just 5%, 100 million, were compact fluorescents (2007 stats - I figure our purchase alone pushed this number higher).

8. A 60-watt classic bulb and a 15-watt swirl are identically bright–the swirl just uses 45 fewer watts.

Chewy gives CFC bulbs 4-paws up, and says make this your year to make the switch!

1 comment:

  1. We use low energy bulbs right throughout the house too - even the spotlights & candle shaped bulbs & as you say, they are really quite cheap these days & last a great deal longer!