Thursday, March 24, 2011

Light Bulbs

Traditional Incandescent
 The US government has mandated that traditional 100W incandescent bulbs be phased out and replaced by Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) by January, 2012

Compact Fluorescent Lamp  (CFL)
Incandescent bulbs utilize a filament that is heated until a glow is produced, thus producing illumination.  Unfortunately, it also produces a great deal of heat as a side-effect, and this results in a huge waste of energy.

Some of the positive features of CFLs are:

---Between 8-15 times the longevity of incandescents (so claims the manufacturers)
---Use only 20%-33% of the energy of incandescents

Some of the negatives of CFLs are:

---These bulbs contain between 3 and 5 mg of mercury per bulb.  Mercury is poisonous and is a threat to the environment.
---Introduction of tens of millions of CFLs to landfills holds the potential to contaminate water, soil and air.
---It is unlawful in some states to dispose of CFLs in landfills.
---It is recommended that CFLs be recycled.
---One broken CFL bulb can release a mercury level that temporarily exceeds U.S.guidelines for chronic exposure.  Strict rules for cleanup of a broken bulb must be followed.
---There as yet is no standardized size for CFLs.  Thus, one must be careful when purchasing them to be sure the size bulb is consistent with other bulbs in the home for aesthetic reasons.
---Very few CFLs are compatible with dimming switches.
---As CFLs age, they emit steadily less illumination.
---The life of a CFL diminishes as it is turned on and off frequently.   The U.S. Energy Star Program recommends leaving these bulbs on when leaving a room for less than 15 minutes. 
---The cost of a CFL is 3-10 times that of an incandescent.

I have replaced all incandescent bulbs in my home with CFLs, except those that operate with dimming switches.  Over the course of the last two years, I can testify that CFLs do outlast incandescents, but not nearly as long as advertised.

Not Quite!
I have not broken a CFL bulb as yet---and I hope I don't.  The cleanup instructions are oppressive.

Virtually all CFL bulbs are manufactured in China.  Incandescents were manufactured in the U.S.A.

What do you think of the pros and cons of switching to CFLs?


  1. I think this is a very controversial measure. I understand the whys, but the risks seem pretty steep. And I, too, don't like that they're all foreign made...

  2. A bright idea of a blog post! Another thing you have heard me complain about is that the sizes not being uniform. Right now in our bathroom, I had to replace one of six bulbs over the vanity and one is longer and protrudes from the globe.

  3. It seems to be out of the pot and into the fire. I prefer the LED but the cost is quite steep. But no dangerous mercury and they have the longest life out of all the bulbs.

  4. I like the new bulbs. They actually have white light which is a huge bonus in my studio. Didn't know about the clean-up issue.. Yikes! But they do seem durable. They also last a lot longer so if I forget to turn off my light the bulb doesn't burn out.

  5. if the g'ment mandates it, i don't want it!=)

  6. Not living in the US I can't comment, I enjoyed what you wrote and it was a most unusual subject, almost as unusual as the poem I did about a garden pea.


  7. Kelli---LOL---you make me laugh. Amen to that!

  8. I want the u s government to stay our of my bathroom, *low flow toilets, out of my house, *mercury light bulbs and out of my life. The local government is fine, but this was never suppose to happen in a constitutional republic

  9. In Germany and also over here on Tenerife you can't buy the "normal" bulbs anymore (since last year). You can get them in different styles and Watt, white light and warm light and you really are saving energy.

    Your purse says Thanks

    Greetings and have a beautiful day

  10. I do not know what to make of the bulbs. on the one hand, they save energy, on the other hand, they are environmentally harmful and must be disposed of at a hazardous waste.

    Have a nice weekend.
    Greetings Sabine