Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How many people does it take to change a light bulb?

I guess the answer would be zero in my house because I honestly can't remember the last time I changed a light bulb.

I was reading an article in the latest issue of Popular Mechanics about some tests they ran on light bulbs to determine if the new spiral low wattage kind are as bad as every says they are. They even have some anecdotal story of some old man who bought two cases (240 bulbs) of the old incandescent kind to hoard away. As expected, the Popular Mechanics tests pretty much showed that you are crazy not to be using fluorescents.

To the best of my recollection and sifting through past posts, I'm guessing that I made the switch all in one evening more than five years ago, probably closer to six. I had some three dozen light bulbs in my house, thanks to the previous owners like of ceiling fans that have four bulbs a piece, and I changed all that I could. I had a couple nightstand lights and a small chandelier that had oddball sized lights that I couldn't change but they were all low wattage anyway. I went from changing at least a couple light bulbs a month to replacing only one bulb in almost six years. The rest just keep on ticking. Assuming at best case that my old incandescent light bulbs lasts two years and cost me a fourth of the cost of the fluorescent ones, they have almost paid themselves back just on longevity alone and more so if you count the fact that the fluorescent ones also use a small fraction of the energy. Nor does it count the energy saved by not having to cool your house more in the summer to counteract all the heat that the old ones put out. Remember those easy bake ovens?

I don't think I could go back to those days of ancient technology. In fact, when I finally live out my dream of building my own house, I will not put a fixture in place that can't use fluorescent bulbs and most likely will mostly use fixtures that use LED bulbs which cuts the energy cost of fluorescent bulbs by another 50%, last six to seven times longer and put out even less heat. Instead of hoarding light bulbs as the man in the PM article did, I will hoard something more dear to my heart like books printed on actual paper.

8 comments:

R. Sherman said...

I prefer the quality of light from LED bulbs more than fluorescent ones, but either are quite acceptable. I just don't like the government compelling people to make the switch, even if it is for their own good.

Cheers.

Ed said...

R. Sherman - I whole heartedly agree with the last sentence in your statement. But I still reserve the write to shake my head and blog about what I feel is stupidity.

Ron said...

I love the efficiency and how long the CFLs last. We've been using the same ones for years. The only thing I use incandescent bulbs for is keeping baby chicks warm when they are first hatched.

Vince said...

Must try out those LEDs. They work well enough with a flashlamp and they might sharpen things a bit from the current low energy ones. For that's how I think about those bulbs, sorta blurred, like slightly filmy lenses.
On the Green Goodness notion, honestly, if I was to think in those terms I'd have the place lit like a bloody lighthouse for I find nothing more tedious than righteousness especially from those that fly about the world.

Ed said...

Ron - When I made my switch, I threw out all the old ones (very guilt ridden) and just kept I think a four pack some unused ones for two closet lights that CFL's wouldn't fit. I still have that four pack because we almost never use the closet lights. Perhaps the next owners of my house will use them or I end up buying an acreage and decide I want to raise chicks too.

Vince - The LED's that I've seen in displays have been excellent, especially the newer fixtures that disperse the light more like CFL's or incandescents. You can get them in warmer temperatures that people seem to like though I prefer the cooler temperatures. Best of all, you put one of those suckers in and you will never change it for the rest of your life.

warren said...

Yeah, I don't get hoarding light bulbs. Heck, the technology will improve in 5 years anyhow (and has...you mention LED bulbs). Some stuff is worth stocking up on but light bulbs? Nope

Jeff said...

Having built two major buildings in my work--15 years apart--I can assure you that lighting has changed and outdoor light has really changed--lights over exits now use 7 watts! Good post; I also don't like to be told what to do, but...

Ed said...

Warren - I'm a book hoarder. I have hundreds of them and I expect that if everyone on earth died leaving me the last person standing so that I had no distractions, I probably have enough unread books to last me at least a decade.

Jeff - Our area's similar building project also uses a lot of LED's not to mention motion sensors so you don't have to hunt for switches.