Friday, December 10, 2010

Let there be twisty, cheap, efficient, compact fluorescent light.

I went to Ace Hardware yesterday, ostensibly to go to the post office. 

But who doesn't like to browse the merch at Ace? Ace has almost everything a person needs to fix, to clean, to create. The store even has that OCD aisle of nuts and bolts, each housed in a little teeny bin, marked with an informative visual rendering of the bin's contents. 

Solvents. Ace has lots of solvents. 

And seasonal stuff. As well as furnace filters. Tissue paper. Barbeque grills. Paint. 

An incongruous panoply of useful items.

Plus, Ace has that seemingly Prozac-addled helpful hardware man. 

And as I mentioned, the Ace right up the street also has a post office, tucked way in the back. So yesterday, my intention was to mail some stuff. 

But then, on my way back to the post office, I saw a dizzying display of compact fluorescent bulbs. Let's call them CFLs from here on out.

The CFLs were on sale, each bulb a mere 99 cents. Each.

So I bought six.

The cost of each bulb, when they're not at this freakishly low less-than-a-buck price, is 6.49. Each.

So essentially, I got six bulbs for the cost of one.

I call that a bargain.

But there's more!

I not only saved at the point of purchase. Once I twist these swirly bulbs into their sockets, I'll save even more.

Each CFL uses a fraction of the energy than their bottom-heavy incandescent counterpart. And CFLs have the lifespan of Superman, providing light where once there was none up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. This translates into approximately $30 a year per bulb in energy savings.

There's no down-side. Especially when each bulb can be purchased for less than a buck.

Of course, like people who think global warming is a hoax or Elvis is still alive, there are folks who refuse to take a peek at the evidence. There are people who actually hoard incandescent bulbs, refusing to see the obvious benefits of CFLs. 

Let me shed some light on what I think of incandescent bulb lovers. They're dorks. They're the ones who'd bitch about how cashmere is just too soft, or baby kittens are cloying, manipulative attention-seekers.

But soon, these incandescent-hoarding naysayers won't have a choice.

Not unlike placing a high priority on education or the eradication of poverty, America is behind the curve when it comes to transitioning from incandescent to CFL bulbs, despite the data.

The change is coming, people.

Other countries are mandating CFLs and eliminating the availability of incandescents within the next year or two. America, in all its progressive glory, will mandate the change very gradually, state by state, and eventually, most likely by 2020 (irony not intended), we'll all be hooked into the twirly goodness of CFLs. 

Change is hard when it comes to light bulbs, apparently.

But really, there's no boogie man in the closet when it comes to this innocuous switch. Especially when you can catch a bargain like I managed to find yesterday.

I bought a whole bunch of bulbs yesterday, and their combined cost was comparable to a venti whatever at Starbucks.

I'd say that's nothing less than illuminating.


  1. Right.

    1. CFL's are known fire hazards when non dimmer bulbs are used with dimmer circuits. I caught them on fire myself with a test rig. Enjoy burning your house down. End of life, and this is documented, includes melting of the base, smoke, and actual flames.

    And yes I can provide links and information.

    2. If you read the package on CFL's,they cannot be used on dimmers, in cold weather, upside down, in ceiling fans (my 70 - 80 year old ceiling fans destroy them in a matter of days and electrical interference from the bulbs makes the transformer based speed controls on these fans overheat), in recessed cans, in enclosed fixtures, basically just about every instance where a cfl is supposed to be used.

    3. There is NO organized recycle program for these bulbs and that guy is that lives in the rural areas, WILL NOT drive 15 miles to a recycling center. That bulb is going into the trash, or worse yet, burned. Mercury, you can't have it both ways.

    4. Try to understand this, lighting makes up about 6% of the entire draw on the grid. Power gens have to keep a certain amount of reserve on the grid to avoid brownouts and spikes, and for emergencies. That never changes. Removing incans will do NOTHING toward reducing the draw on the grid,and on top of the fact that most lighting is used on the off peak hours. So, please explain to me how something that has so little effect, is really going to shut down power plants? Especially when say, during the hot summer months, pwr gens ramp up to handle a/c, but cut back during the evenings, only to ramp up again the next day? The logic is just not there.

    5. The push for CFL's has zero to do with "saving the planet". 1. Incandescents were low hanging fruit (actually, hell with that, on the ground, rotting) and were a way to do something without doing anythingt to fix the real issue and look at ways to clean up and find better sources of energy. The second issue was money, and greed, plain and simple. GE and Phillips WANTED THE INCANS gone because they couldn't make decent profits off of them.

  2. I've been reading a lot of issues about CFLs and the danger it may bring. I don't know if I already need to change my bulbs at home. All of my bulbs are CFLs. My contractor who took his Electrician Online Course said that LED is much better to use.