# CFL's not a bright idea

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I simply offered an observation, the government and aid program remarks must have came from someone else.

No, I was responding to your observation. Government aid exists for people in a situation where they truly couldn't afford the extra few dollars required up front to buy the compliant bulbs. What I don't see is how that's relevant to the discussion that was ongoing prior to that observation.

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The shame is that I actually agree that choice should be maintained in the type of lightsource available.

So many discussions seem to take place on the basis of entrenched biased opinions, rather than by presenting facts and using them to arrive at useful conclusions.

I can make comparisons between CFL and Incandescent come out to pretty well any ratio I like by careful selection of the representatives of their respective corners.

Older members will surely remember how long a light bulb lasted in the 1950s, 1960s 1970s?

Anecdotal, but I am sure they were not replaced as often as more recent incandescent varieties.

When CFL technology simply did not exist there were many designs to extend the life of filaments through both materials and configuration (eg the 'coiled coil'). Certainly some lasted much longer than others.

Of course there were the really long life bulbs as used in mines and other inaccessible places. They had lifetimes of at least 10 times normal.

So it was possible. However I think many have noted how the life of bulbs seems to reduce steadily from the 1980s onwards.

Of course, CFL is more efficient at converting input energy to visible radiant energy so there is indeed an energy saving to be had.

However why were the manufacturers so stingy? To my eyes and to the eyes of all the visitors I have received the 'equivalent wattages' are dingy compared to the bulbs they replaced.

I cannot buy CFL sources of equivalent apparent output, they are just not available.

My kitchen used to have a 150 watt incandescent as a work area that required high lighting levels. The largest CFL on offer is 27 watts and of noticeable less output. If I could get a 30 or 35 watt one I would still be saving a huge amount of energy.

Talking of saving I notice that whilst our government is exhorting us to use less electricity for lighting, the amount used for illumination of street signs, floodlighting car parks, and other places is growing rapidly.

Everyone should ask their local council how much electricity was used for this purpose in 1970, 1980 and now. they would be very suprised by the answer.

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Talking of saving I notice that whilst our government is exhorting us to use less electricity for lighting, the amount used for illumination of street signs, floodlighting car parks, and other places is growing rapidly.

Everyone should ask their local council how much electricity was used for this purpose in 1970, 1980 and now. they would be very suprised by the answer.

That's an issue of safety, not efficiency standards.

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That's an issue of safety, not efficiency standards.

Not at all.

I recently photographed an 'give way' sign that was illuminated by an overhead lamp similar to that used for paintings on walls.

When the sign became redundant the triangle was removed, but the pole aqnd its light were left up for nearly two years. Our council paid the electricity bill for a further two years after there was no sign on the post.

I call that gross inefficiency, not safety.

How about discussing the more technical parts of my post?

Incandescents can be made to last as long as or longer than CFL sources.

Or the available sizes of CFL sources?

Edited by studiot
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I don't know about the experience of others, but old style incandescents are banned down here in Oz.

The newer style halogen ones are about 6 times the price and last about 1/3 the time. Where I used to buy bulbs as needed (I just had one spare of each wattage I use) I now buy in boxes of 10. I get about 3 months out of a new style bulb compared to literally years out of the old. The new ones might be more efficient, but they in no way save me any money. What little I save on power is more than eaten up by the cost of buying new bulbs.

CFLs last about a year except, oddly, the yellow anti insect one outside which has lasted a good 3 years.

It might be to do with the wiring granted, but it strikes me that spending $2,000 to rewire the house and save$20 per year might not be a great investment. Actually I'm renting so I can't rewire anyway, but you see the point.

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Are not the CFLs merely a symptom of the deeper problem of faulty wiring in your homes, and not the direct cause of the woes about which so many of you are here now lamenting?

I've had the same bulbs in for six years with no problem... Perhaps you should just shut your lights off more often?

Edited by iNow
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In my case the three that blow the most are the kitchen, dining room and lounge room. These are halogens, CFLs won't fit in the light covers.

Should I cook by candlelight? It's an open plan house and these three are often the only lights on.

I don't know, but there is nothing I can do about the wiring I just have to pay the extra expense. Maybe the brands or standards are different between nations? Perhaps American CFLs aren't as electrically "fragile" as Aussie ones?

I find the "wiring" idea a bit implausible simply because when this comes up in conversation I've yet to meet the Aussie who says the new bulbs last as long as the old, everybody complains about having to change bulbs more often. Anecdotal, I know, but this is the prevailing opinion. It's hard to believe that such a high proportion of homes need rewiring.

It also strikes me that there is something intuitively arse backwards about making the house wiring fit the bulb. It's like making a new rear view mirror and then expecting people to modify their cars to use it. Far more sensible to make something that works with the available designs and technology.

Edited by JohnB
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Well, poor bulbs often play a role, too: http://mnenergychallenge.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/compact-florescent-light-killers/

The link above goes through some good stats.

Also, you wouldn't need to rewire your house... Mostly, just ensure the neutrals are all connected properly and you're properly grounded throughout.

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Also, you wouldn't need to rewire your house... Mostly, just ensure the neutrals are all connected properly and you're properly grounded throughout.

The trouble with having foreign electricians rewiring your house is the difference of standards.

I do believe that the Australian wiring regs are based on those of Old Blighty where it is illegal to connect the domestic neutral to ground.

Of course where iNow hails from it is illegal not to.

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It also strikes me that there is something intuitively arse backwards about making the house wiring fit the bulb. It's like making a new rear view mirror and then expecting people to modify their cars to use it. Far more sensible to make something that works with the available designs and technology.

How easy is it to find a floppy drive or non-usb serial/mouse/keyboard ports on a new computer? Does all your old software run on a new computer? New standards make older technology obsolete, forcing upgrades, all the time.

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New standards make older technology obsolete, forcing upgrades, all the time.

True, but this is more like not making old mouses and requiring a new motherboard when you want to replace a failed mouse with a new one.

I'd just like the choice. If the new bulbs lasted as long and saved me money I wouldn't have a problem, but they don't. So I have had a large extra expense dumped on me so that some greenies and others can get warm fuzzies. If they want warm fuzzies then let them foot the bill and not dump it on other people.

Funny how people (mainly) on one side of the political fence are so quick to deny others any choice when they always demand it for themselves.

Mostly, just ensure the neutrals are all connected properly and you're properly grounded throughout.

Virtually all houses here now have RCDs usually set to about 30 milliamps. If there is any real wiring fault you know about it instantly.

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Yeah, they're called GFCIs here (ground fault circuit interrupter) here.

What fascinates me is how many problems all of you report wherein I've never had any. I am genuinely curious what is the cause of our different experiences.

I've got fluorescent everywhere in my house and have for years. I'm struggling to recall a single one I've had to replace since install. I shared a link above that explained some of the common issues. Perhaps in your focus on thrift you're choosing sub-par products that cost you more in the long-run since they are of lower quality and don't last as long. I really don't know, but I'd like to. Your experience sounds drastically different from my own.

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It is odd, and I wouldn't mind knowing the reasons myself.

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