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CFL's not a bright idea


Anders Hoveland
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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? :P 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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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.

 

:rolleyes:

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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.

 

I generally use Mirabella or Phillips bulbs, both of which are (supposedly) good quality. These bulbs are costing me between 3 and 5 dollars each, so they ain't cheapies. ;) One of the reasons for buying the boxes of 10 is that the price is cheaper in bulk, but still some $30 per box.

 

One thing I do note is that the ones that blow are all in covers of one form or another. I don't mean lampshades but frosted glass or the like. The CFL that has lasted quite some time is a yellow anti insect one that is outside and fully exposed. It's under the awning, but has no cover on it and frankly I would have thought that if they were really fragile it would blow more often.

 

The only thing I can think of is that halogen etc bulbs don't like heat and when in a frosted glass light cover the heat builds up and shortens the life. I wonder this because ever pic I've seen of light bulbs being tested the bulb is always bare, never in a cover.

 

Aside from that it's got me stumped.

 

You're lucky to have no problems, anecdotally the reverse is far more common.

Edited by JohnB
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You're lucky to have no problems, anecdotally the reverse is far more common.

 

That's the problem with anecdotes. People are much more likely to complain when things go bad than register their satisfaction when things go well, so what you hear are the over-represented stories about bulbs not living up to expectation.

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!

Moderator Note

Anders,

This is becoming a case of soap boxing....You cannot possibly claim that those bulbs cannot be purchased, when swansont posted you a link to a site that sells them...

 

Moderator, they are both right! ;-)

 

Yes, replacement incandescent bulbs for ordinary usage can be bought as linked.

 

But they will be banned too in phase 2 of EISA starting 2014 and finishing (at latest) 2020,

and the 45 lumen per Watt end-regulation which then applies

(EU, Europe, banned by 2016)

 

 

 

 

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Incidentally, can anyone point me to a website or a store where I can buy a bulb that is

the right fitting for my lamp (ie bayonet aka BC or B22d)

the right voltage (230+/- 10)

As bright as an old fashioned 60 Watt incandescent bulb.

Based on LEDs rather than tungsten halogen or CFL

and a reasonable price?

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For me the 60w equivalent CFLs all seem to last a longer than incandescent. It is the CFLs with unusual shapes that give me problems. For example, the 'flame tip' CFL bulbs I place in my chandelier burn out much faster than incandescent bulbs.

 

I've also noticed that putting a normal CFL in an outdoor lamp doesn't work well if it gets cold outside.

 

On the other hand, CFLs do much better in places where vibration occurs, such as the vibration in my garage due to the opening and closing of my garage door.

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Moderator, they are both right! ;-)

 

Yes, replacement incandescent bulbs for ordinary usage can be bought as linked.

 

But they will be banned too in phase 2 of EISA starting 2014 and finishing (at latest) 2020,

and the 45 lumen per Watt end-regulation which then applies

(EU, Europe, banned by 2016)

 

This assumes that no new products will be introduced in the interim. This whole line of argument is like saying that new CAFE standards for autos bans the internal combustion engine, when all it has meant is that the ones you get are more efficient.

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The murky politics of the lightbulb ban, how lobbyists seek to increase corporate profits:

http://www.ceolas.net/

 

blog on why CFL's are not as good as the claims, and why consumers deserve the freedom to choose:

http://freedomlightbulb.blogspot.com/

 

Even in many offices, we are seeing employees turn off the fluorescent ceiling lights and bring in incandescent lamps. Obviously some people are very unhappy with the quality of fluorescent light.

 

 

No, there are no "higher-efficiency" incandescent bulbs that will be available. They are essentially being banned. Like I mentioned, you have failed show that these alleged bulbs even exist, much less where we can buy them.

 

Here is an exerpt from the above link:

 

The "Similar bulbs will still be allowed" deceit

 

Consumers are deceived in many ways with the light bulb policy they are told will be so good for them. However, one should particularly note the main defence tactic that will be employed by American politicians and agencies, exactly like in Europe and Australia, when the governments there were faced with concerned citizens...

 

"We don't wan't to have to use the dim unsafe mercury-containing squiggly bulbs with their unnatural light!"

"Don't worry! Energy efficient incandescent light bulbs, similar to ordinary incandescent light bulbs, will still be allowed!"

 

To begin with,

Replacement Halogens have a whiter light type and like all replacement incandescents have constructional differences with simple regular bulbs, apart from costing much more for relatively small energy savings, which is why neither consumers or governments like them, since they have been around for a while now without being sold much.

 

Thereby that in the USA, as in the EU, all currently known incandescent replacement bulbs, Halogen or otherwise, will only temporarily be allowed - as in the regulation references above. [see in the site]

Only if they become as energy efficient as CFLs and LEDs would they be allowed:

Not just unlikely, but if it did occur, it would involve constructional compromise and cost that made them even more different from simple regular bulbs - notwithstanding that any such lighting, like all lighting, would of course have its own advantage too.

 

Moreover, in post-ban 2011 Europe (as in UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, Germany and Italy) and Australia, replacement energy efficient incandescents are only available in limited replacement range, regarding sizes and wattages compared to the pre-ban range of simple regular cheap bulbs.

Also, they are hardly available in general stores and supermarkets, which push CFL sales:

Replacement Halogen types are usually only available in specialist shops, and since LEDS are unsuitable as replacements for regular bulbs (too high a price, especially for omni-directional bright replacements), what is seen in supermarkets and general stores is not just the almost sole availability of CFLs, but also the in-store enticement to buy them, marketed as as "saving consumers a lot of money".

 

Replacement incandescents, like Halogens, will also be banned in the USA and EU.

Post-ban EU already lacks touted Halogen availability, CFL retail sales being pushed.

 

 

 

Specific link RE USA, Canada, EU, Australia regulations,

http://ceolas.net/#li01inx

also with USA amendments and updates

and 10 USA state bills (legalized Texas June 2011)

 

Basically as said incandescent replacements can indeed be bought,

but they will be banned too in coming years, with some exceptions

(For USA, notable exceptions are 3-way types, rough service types, 150W bulbs, as long as sales don't double...)

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I generally use Mirabella or Phillips bulbs, both of which are (supposedly) good quality. These bulbs are costing me between 3 and 5 dollars each, so they ain't cheapies. ;) One of the reasons for buying the boxes of 10 is that the price is cheaper in bulk, but still some $30 per box.

Lucky for me our local utility is rapidly approaching the point where electricity demand will exceed supply. In order to delay that time while new plants are being constructed they are decreasing demand by subsidizing the cost of CFLs, thus encouraging people to buy them. I can usually buy 60w equivalent CFLs for about $0.25 each. I have at least 100 CFLs ready for use setting in my basement.

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This assumes that no new products will be introduced in the interim. This whole line of argument is like saying that new CAFE standards for autos bans the internal combustion engine, when all it has meant is that the ones you get are more efficient.

 

Certainly true that it is about standards.

However, the replacements are 20-25 lumen per W, far from 45 lumen per W

- which is technically not possible - or, equally importantly, profitable.

 

 

One has to be aware that the manufacturers supporting the ban would hardly

seek to further improve incandescent technology:

 

What is at the heart of this ban?

A subsidised and enforced worldwide replacement of unprofitable patent-expired simple, cheap, well known, safe, and easily locally made bright broad spectrum light bulbs in an odd coalition between global capitalist manufacturing executives, left-leaning governments, and environmental organizations.

 

The specific light bulb manufacturer (GE, Osram/Sylvania, Philips) involvement, http://ceolas.net/#li12ax onwards, referenced.

 

Presumably light bulb bans should be done for Society savings

- rather than worrying about what Light Bulb Johnny wants to use in his Bedroom:

 

Individuals might save some with expensive bulbs in common locations,

but Society savings are a fraction of 1% of overall energy use or 1%

of grid usage, referenced Dept of Energy etc data

- and that is still not counting the also referenced manufacture,

transport and recycling energy use of the more complex replacements:

 

Coal plants and CO2 emissions:

Coal power plants are the main emission culprit.

But effectively the same coal is burned at night regardless of what light bulb you use: Coal plants are slow loading steady electricity deliverers, calibrated for higher day use, again referenced.

 

 

Even if the bulbs (or cars, washing machines, TV sets, computers..) had to be targeted, they could be taxed

(tax helping to pay for price-lowering subsidies on alternatives, or give Govmt other income - hello California)

or better still, be subject to increased - not decreased- market competition to improve products while keeping choice.

The deception behind the arguments used to ban light bulbs and other products

http://freedomlightbulb.org/p/deception-behind-banning-light-bulbs.html

.

Edited by lighthouse10
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Presumably light bulb bans should be done for Society savings

- rather than worrying about what Light Bulb Johnny wants to use in his Bedroom

 

And since the law does not specify bulb type, isn't that exactly what it's doing? It does not ban specific types, and it does not mandate specific types. It only mandates efficiency.

 

Individuals might save some with expensive bulbs in common locations,

but Society savings are a fraction of 1% of overall energy use or 1%

of grid usage, referenced Dept of Energy etc data

- and that is still not counting the also referenced manufacture,

transport and recycling energy use of the more complex replacements:

 

So what if it's only 1%? It's still several Billion kWh per year, and it's part of a larger effort (energy star) to have more efficient electrical devices. You can help flatten out demand. That means fewer new plants that have to be built and less stress on a distribution system that's outdated.

 

Coal plants and CO2 emissions:

Coal power plants are the main emission culprit.

But effectively the same coal is burned at night regardless of what light bulb you use: Coal plants are slow loading steady electricity deliverers, calibrated for higher day use, again referenced.

 

And if demand goes down, generation will, too.

 

Even if the bulbs (or cars, washing machines, TV sets, computers..) had to be targeted, they could be taxed

(tax helping to pay for price-lowering subsidies on alternatives, or give Govmt other income - hello California)

or better still, be subject to increased - not decreased- market competition to improve products while keeping choice.[/color][/font]

 

Funny, most people against the law absolutely hate taxes. And you run into the same problem of affordability: if you can't afford a more efficient bulb, how are you going to afford higher electrical taxes?

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Tungsten/ halogen lights like to be kept hot. It's when they are run cool , for example via dimmers, that they fail rapidly.

If the envelope isn't hot enough the chemistry doesn't work.

 

Well, that torpedoes the idea they were getting too hot. :D

 

Lighthouse10 the page you link to is incorrect. The halogen replacements for incandescents are quite widely available in general stores and supermarkets in Australia. It's from the local supermarket that I buy boxes of them. While the range will be smaller or non existent in smaller general stores this is more due to a lack of shelf space than any policy or stock preference.

 

For me the three last the least are the kitchen, dining and lounge room ones. These go on when it gets dark and will be on for 6 or so hours. Each one is in a different fitting and surround so it's hard to blame them. Lights that go on and off as needed, toilet, bathroom etc seem to be lasting as long as the old ones but it's hard to tell as they blew so rarely anyway.

 

For light quality the blue/white of the halogens is a much better light than the older yellow light, although I would prefer a "daylight" light CFL if they were readily available.

 

John, good luck on that bayonet style replacement LED. They are out there but the prices I've seen are hardly "reasonable" somewhere between $45 and $50 AUD seems the standard.

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