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Why Paul Wheaton is Wrong About CFLs  RSS feed

 
Posts: 1125
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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because i think it would be boring to look into to this too deeply, i havent and likely wont so my terminology on the types of lights might be off etc
but i do have to say that when a certain type of light is banned (incandescents i believe) and another is promoted(CFLs) even if promoted by someone SEEMINGLY unconnected to the govt who banned the other bulbs, i get extremely suspicious of the bulbs being promoted
government always have and always will seek to take power from the general populas and concentrate it, and if they play a part in things as simple as light bulbs, it is one thing of many that our government is doing that would have me concerned, and with our govt's track record, i'd rather buy incandescents more simply because they were banned

i guess my point is that anything scientific that shows CFL's arent really all that great just validates how quick we are to jump to banning and prohibiting things before we even know much about them, and i hope my post didnt get too political for this site, i know that the purpose of the site isnt political discussion by any means
 
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Location: McKee, KY (zone 6a)
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I just finished reading through this thread, with great interest in the topic. I think its clear that for anyone who uses lighting the way Paul does, any savings by switching to CFL or LED bulbs will be negligible, at best. For the rest of us, however, there is a very real savings potential, depending on usage patterns. It is currently winter here in KY, and gets dark by 6:00 PM. This means that we use one light, with a single bulb, for 4 to 5 hours per day. On sunny days we try not to use electric lights during the day, but on overcast days we find it is more efficient to keep the windows covered with insulated window coverings and use electric lighting than it is to leave the windows uncovered to have access to sunlight, which also allows some heat to escape. On these days we may use a single light for as much as 12-16 hours, depending on how much overlap their is in my wife and my schedules.

Light intensity and quality is very important to me when I'm working. I use 27 watt bulbs in my office that output 1300 lumens and have a color temperature of 5500. This gives me comparable light to a 75 watt incandescent, with only 36% of the electricity use. I've been using the same bulbs for a year so far, with no problems, but clearly I can't guarantee how long they will actually last. My primary point is that, for those who find CFLs to be too dim, or who do not like the color of light, it is very likely that the problem is with your selection of bulbs, rather than the CFL technology itself. I agree that manufacturer claims that list an incandescent equivalent for a given CFL bulb are often exaggerated, or worse. The problem, however, is that consumers continue to rely on these equivalencies, rather than shopping based on lumens, and actually knowing the output needed for a given lighting task.

Lastly, I feel compelled to respond to comments regarding the banning of incandescent bulbs. I haven't researched all of the state laws, so it may be that some states have passed laws that ban such bulbs. However, no such federal law exists, contrary to popular belief. There are federal laws that require increased efficiency, which most incandescent bulbs did not meet. However, there is no requirement that manufacturers stop producing incandescent bulbs, just that they improve their efficiency. Many have opted to abandon the technology completely, and focus on the more popular CFL and increasing popular LED technologies. There are, however, some manufacturers that have already developed high efficiency bulbs, that are not CFL or LED, that do meet the new requirements. Suggesting that the law bans incandescent bulbs simply because none met the requirement at the time the law was passed is like saying a minimum MPG rating for automobiles was the same as a ban on trucks, simply because no truck met the requirement. Clearly auto manufacturers would develop new trucks that met the new MGP requirement. Likewise, if there is a great enough demand, lighting manufacturers will develop more higher efficiency bulbs to meet the new law.
 
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Allow me to add a bit of clarity: the standard 100 watt incandescent bulb has been banned. Supposedly in the name of saving energy - but I think that is a steaming pile of horse potatoes.

That which is luxuriant, beautiful, clean, healthy and known has been banned.

It is illegal to sell a standard 100 watt incandescent light bulb. Because it has been banned.

Banned banned banned. Banned.

I can use a larger font. And color.

The language of the law bans all light bulbs that do not meet some bullshit criteria for lumens per watt in the home. So if the bulb consumes ten times more energy to get it to the home, that doesn't matter. The only thing being considered is the power consumption in the home.

So I have one light bulb on right now. I live in Montana and it is currently below freezing outside. This standard 40 watt light bulb is keeping me warm and, thus, saving me gobs of electricity because the electric heat is turned down significantly lower. This single 40 watt light bulb is saving me hundreds of dollars in electricity. But it has been banned - so that scoundrels can make more money. Not to save energy.

here is a video of camille sitting in my chair with my 40 watt light bulb.



That 40 watt light bulb gives off light and lovely radiant heat. Heat which is so valuable in the dark cold Montana nights.

What a magnificent energy saving device. Heat and light. From one simple, clean, cheap contraption. Which has been banned.

I wonder why clothes dryers have not been banned. Or why baseboard heaters have not been banned - and people are required to install rocket mass heaters. Or why is the wofati not required.

Here's a weird idea: if incandescents are so terrible, then won't people just stop buying them? Oh right - because incandescent light is awesome. And cheap. And clean.

Yes, there are the new lights that have a different gas in the bulb. I am still concerned. It might take years to find out why I might not like those.

I want to continue to buy the standard incandescent lights. I don't like such a wonderful thing being banned.

 
Jonathan Combs
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I should clarify my earlier comment. Paul is correct that what is thought of as the "standard" 100 watt incandescent bulb has been banned. You will no longer be able to be a 1750 lumen, 100 watt incandescent. It is possible, although admittedly unlikely, that someone could develop a 100 watt incandescent bulb that does meet the lumens per watt requirements of the new regulation. However, it is true that this would not be the "standard" 100 watt bulb that we are use to, and many seem to prefer. I'm not taking a position on whether the new regulation is a good idea or bad idea. I think that Paul did a fantastic job of laying out a case for showing situations where the standard incandescent bulbs are a good solution, as did the OP for showing the other side of the issue.

Assuming the OP is correct (I'm not doubting it, just haven't done the research) that the long life 100 watt Fiet Incandescent bulb is only 900 lumens, it is my understanding that this bulb would not be impacted at all by the current regulations, as they only apply to bulbs that are 72w or greater with an output of 1490-2600 lumens. If that is the case, at least those bulbs should still be available to those who prefer them until the 45 lumen per watt requirement kicks in in 2020. I'm not saying that's great news for those who prefer using those bulbs, but at least it is some, although temporary, good news.
 
paul wheaton
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I think that an intelligent person with incandescent will use far less energy than a fool with fluorescent.

Further, if you factor in the total energy cost including the manufacture and subsidies and health costs, i think a fool with an incandescent will use far less energy than a fool with fluorescent.

Therefore, I think the energy cost for the incandescent is always less.

Even further: I think the continued use of the CFL is poisoning us all. Surely there is a cost to that. Including an energy cost.

Between my article and my videos, I feel like I am trying to show the most basic and obvious points and allowing the reader/viewer to draw the richer conclusions.

Hey, and if nothing else: how much less do you earn when your IQ is dropped by 20 points?

Will I be able to buy prescription light bulbs?
 
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paul wheaton wrote:I spend $8 per per year on electricity for light. In 20 years that works out to $160. I don't think I'm going to see an ROI in 20 years.

Plus, I find the light quality of the LED poor. And the LED is loaded with toxic gick.

The heat that comes off the incandescent is a bonus in the winter. In the summer, I rarely turn on the lights due to natural sunlight.



What toxic gick? Not aware of that. That would be important for me to know. I have bought LEDs from assorted manufacturers, and there is no uniformity as to the quality of light. And yes, there was a period of adjustment, but a few days of use my eyes adjusted very well. You might criticize my kitchen light though, as there are 3 different style bulbs in 5 sockets to get a light my wifey actually liked. I replaced five 60 watt bulbs with two 1.5 watts, two 7 watts, and one 13 watts. Together they cast a very nice light.

You are taking payback, I am talking return on investment, using less electricity without compromising the quality of life (much), with the goal of not using any utility energy.
 
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LED bulbs have way less toxic gick than CFL's. But there was all kinds of toxic gick used to make the LED's, it just stayed in China...

 
Rick Larson
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R Scott wrote:LED bulbs have way less toxic gick than CFL's. But there was all kinds of toxic gick used to make the LED's, it just stayed in China...

Is it more or less toxic gick (I like that new word) than making incandescent?
 
paul wheaton
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What toxic gick?



The electronics that are in the LED. capacitors, resistors, etc. Plus - so much plastic. There is simply much more material and sophistication in one bulb. And how does it compare in the waste stream to an incandescent.

Granted, an LED is about 50 times less toxic than a CFL. But an LED is about 15 times more toxic than an incandescent.

I think that at $8 per year for electricity for light, combined with the idea that it is a heat source in winter .... for me, the incandescent is a clear winner.
 
paul wheaton
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R Scott wrote:LED bulbs have way less toxic gick than CFL's. But there was all kinds of toxic gick used to make the LED's, it just stayed in China...



A lot stayed in china - and will find it's way here on the currents.

And a lot is packed right in the bulb.

 
paul wheaton
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Plus, i like ernie's approach: I want to own my own environmental disasters. I don't want to destroy china so I can have things. Or put smoke in the air which fouls the air for somebody else. We might not ever be able to be perfect, but I think it is worth considering how to be better. And then better still. And then better still again.
 
Rick Larson
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paul wheaton wrote:

What toxic gick?



The electronics that are in the LED. capacitors, resistors, etc. Plus - so much plastic. There is simply much more material and sophistication in one bulb. And how does it compare in the waste stream to an incandescent.

Granted, an LED is about 50 times less toxic than a CFL. But an LED is about 15 times more toxic than an incandescent.

I think that at $8 per year for electricity for light, combined with the idea that it is a heat source in winter .... for me, the incandescent is a clear winner.



Ok. If we count the toxic gick burning coal to produce more electricity for the incandescent? Brings this closer to par. Look, on the up front financial and having a choice side, incandescent is a clear winner. But I want to lower my electrical use down to my solar electric system production without compromising too much on the quality of life. Its what I want. I think this is more responsible than wanting to buy a Hummer, or some such other wasteful polluting device, with my extra money.

And hey, I'm totally with you on the CFLs.
 
paul wheaton
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Ok. If we count the toxic gick burning coal to produce more electricity for the incandescent?



Okay. Let's look the TOTAL energy picture. I suspect that the energy for the manufacture and the shipping of all the materials to the factory, plus the shipping after the factory, plus the additional energy to manufacture the LED ... I think it is possible that the total energy footprint of the LED is higher than the long life incandescent.

Further, what sort of pollution was created in the manufacture of the LED vs. the incandescent?

Further still, I think we should be exploring TOTAL solutions - so a solution with less pollution for our energy as well as less pollution for our manufacture. So when we look at "how can our lighting needs be met and make everything ten times cleaner?" I think wind+incandescent beats anything+LED.

Overall, I think the value of LED is marginal at best. I forsee a lot of subsidy and planned obsolescence for LED. I think ten years from now, a long life incandescent will still be the best choice. In fact - i would like to see an incandescent with a thicker glass and a way to replace the filaments. Something with a tiny garbage footprint.

 
Rick Larson
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paul wheaton wrote:.

Overall, I think the value of LED is marginal at best. I forsee a lot of subsidy and planned obsolescence for LED.



I didn't use subsidy and I think these LEDs are very long life at the moment. Since there is little you or I can do about government policy, a good plan would be to buy the LEDs when a subsidy is instituted, before the engineers can incorporate an obsolescence into them.

paul wheaton wrote: I think ten years from now, a long life incandescent will still be the best choice. In fact - i would like to see an incandescent with a thicker glass and a way to replace the filaments. Something with a tiny garbage footprint.

In ten years there might not be any, and you know darn well industry has no interest in producing high quality. You would have to have a glass blower and a electrical tinkerer to make you one. Then the cost advantage goes out the window.

Give me an apple for logical reasoning!

 
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My two cents:

I'm mostly leaning to Paul's side of the argument. Specifically in that SMARTER use of electric light will probably put the average person ahead on lighting costs than
switching to the "new improved technology".

Also, incandescents have uses that simply cannot be filled by CFL or LED. Neither would work in my oven or lava lamp, nor as supplemental heat in my greenhouse, and other places where the heat generated is as important or more so than the light generated.

I use a combination of incandescent, LED and CFL in my house, each doing the job for which it is suitable.


LEDs I use for most of my lighting though. Important note here is that I have very few commercially made 120v LED bulbs, most of my LED fixtures were built by me (I'm an electronics technician) and made for the specific amount of light needed for an area. For instance, I don't need the equivalent of a 60w incandescent to find my way down the hallway at night, just a 1 watt LED fixture.


As for gick in the LEDs / their construction, the up to 100,000 hour lifespan will cut down on stuff ending up in landfills.

OLEDS (organic LEDs) are not quite right yet, but certainly may be a possibility in the future.



 
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My experience with CFL:

When I bought my home it was full of 75W flood lights in recessed ceiling cans. Massive waste of power, especially since the heat produced was just in my attic. So, I wanted to replace with CFL, BUT, I also wanted to be able to dim them.

So at HD, I bought "dimmable" CFL floodlights, 17W each, at $9 each, and "CFL/LED ready" dimmer switches. (It said on the CFL package that such a dimmer was required for them to work) The dimmers cost $30 each.

The installation instruction has you install the dimmers as per any dimmer. There is one important step, though: Since CFL bulbs will fail to ignite if the power is too low, there is an adjustment to set the lower limit of the chopper circuit. (These dimmers use an electronic chopper circuit, which cuts off part of the AC sine wave; this reduces power transfer without dropping the Vmax, older dimmers were simple rheostats)

So I set them all, had the CFLs working good, but immediately I noticed that I really could not dim these bulbs very much. Probably down to 50% brightness (or -3dB).

Then the things started flickering and burning out. One by one my $9 bulbs ate it. Within months. I kept taking them back to HD to get replacements but eventually I got tired of it after returning 20 of the things.

Turns out, and this is important: The "dimmable" CFL bulbs only work correctly with the dimmers if you have only one bulb in parallel on the circuit. Who does that? Having multiple bulbs in parallel screws up the chopper circuit and leads to bulbs burning up on undervoltage.

Then, HD had a sale on 9.5W LED floodlights. $21 each, so I had to cough up more than $200 for them, but now I will never go back. They are a great color, dim down to candle brightness, don't flicker, and use hardly any power. If I turn every light on in the house I am still using half as much power as my new EnergyStar clothes dryer.

And yes, they contain a lot of plastic. Perhaps if one ever burns out, though, I will figure out how to simply replace the LED and not the entire housing.

 
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Hello,
Paul's example about using a clothes line is a great point from the start. I have not had good luck with CFL's. Could you imagine if refrigerators were this reliable? Why was this unproven product forced on the public? Was there technology available at the time to make incandescent bulbs efficient enough for EISA2007 standards? Please follow the money here.
 
Cris Bessette
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mark adams wrote:


Hello,
Paul's example about using a clothes line is a great point from the start. I have not had good luck with CFL's. Could you imagine if refrigerators were this reliable? Why was this unproven product forced on the public? Was there technology available at the time to make incandescent bulbs efficient enough for EISA2007 standards? Please follow the money here.



Making an incandescent 25% more efficient (per EISA2007) would be equivalent to making a 100 watt bulb use only 75 watts to produce the same light.
Being that incandescent bulbs are basically a wire shorting across the power line, I'm not sure if there is anything left to squeeze out of them.

The filament in the bulb is a delicate balance between electrical resistance, physical strength / mechanical shock resistance, and lifespan.
So for instance, maybe they could change from tungsten to some other metal alloy and get that 25% savings- but the bulb would only last a week or two.

The incandescent bulb has been around since the late 1870's, somehow I doubt there is anything new to discover about how to build them.

 
Posts: 43
Location: The Netherlands
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Well, our LED lights are giving alot of light and not so bright that it wil burn your eyes in the morning while you wake up.
But there isn't another choice. In the Netherlands, regular glowing light bulbs aren't sold anymore so you have to choose from LED, CFLs and halogen.


 
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Heres the latest LED offering, made in the USA, and cheap...forget CFL's they shed a terrible light.

$10.00 LED Bulb
 
Cris Bessette
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Lance Wildwood wrote:Heres the latest LED offering, made in the USA, and cheap...forget CFL's they shed a terrible light.

$10.00 LED Bulb




Thats pretty cool. I Might buy one of these and try it out.
 
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Those posters who dismiss the mercury issue in CFLs are probably the folks that say radiation is actually good for you. It seems to me they are just parroting a talking point of the promoters. I heard this lady on the radio who made the mistake of calling the authorities to ask what to do when she broke one. They sent a hazmat crew and a bill for thousands of dollars! I thought Home Depot took them too, but when i took a broken one to the local store they declined. I ended up leaving it in a shopping cart in the parking lot, but i was a bit nervous doing that with all their surveillance cameras. Regardless, if for whatever reason i wish to purchase an incandescent bulb it is repugnant for big brother to tell me i can't...
 
Cris Bessette
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Woody Anderson wrote:Those posters who dismiss the mercury issue in CFLs are probably the folks that say radiation is actually good for you. It seems to me they are just parroting a talking point of the promoters.



I see this is your first post. Just a reminder, the one and only rule on these forums is "Be Nice". Doesn't matter if you are the worlds foremost expert on mercury/tree hugging, and the other poster is a liberal spy from mars that drinks mercury for breakfast.

Woody Anderson wrote: I heard this lady on the radio who made the mistake of calling the authorities to ask what to do when she broke one. They sent a hazmat crew and a bill for thousands of dollars! I thought Home Depot took them too, but when i took a broken one to the local store they declined. I ended up leaving it in a shopping cart in the parking lot, but i was a bit nervous doing that with all their surveillance cameras. Regardless, if for whatever reason i wish to purchase an incandescent bulb it is repugnant for big brother to tell me i can't...



You are referring to Brandy Bridges of Prospect, Maine. In the end, they decided sending hazmat was overkill, but did raise the important consideration of just what to do with CFLs when being disposed of.

What strikes me as odd is that there are so many people worried about CFLs, but we have had florescent lamps since the late 1800's , a CFL is just a "compact" version of them. (IE be careful, like always with florescents, but don't panic)

IN MY OPINION, The tiny speck of mercury in a CFL is less than the amount in a standard 4-6 foot long tube, and less than the amount of mercury released into the air by coal fired power plants creating the power to run a 60w incandescent. IE- we are decreasing the amount of mercury being released with every new idea that comes along, and just the same, CFLs will naturally be surpassed by something even better.

IN MY OPINION, CFLs are just a transitional phase as we switch to LED, OLED and other technologies being developed.
 
paul wheaton
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The tiny speck of mercury in a CFL is less than the amount in a standard 4-6 foot long tube, and less than the amount of mercury released into the air by coal fired power plants creating the power to run a 60w incandescent.



I wish to make my position here clear: the amount of mercury pollution from a CFL is always greater than an incandescent. It doesn't matter what the power source is. The 2008 data sheet that suggested this theory turned out to be riddled with flaws to make the CFL look better. As was thoroughly addressed in my video:



CFLs are just a transitional phase as we switch to LED, OLED and other technologies being developed.



Cris, you have stated your opinion as fact which makes is really awkward for me to state my opinion which is different. As we now seem to entering into something adversarial rather than simply sharing differing positions.

As much as I think CFLs are one of the worst environmental shit storms to happen to our planet, propped up by all sorts of subsidies that were born of lies and wickedness, I think the LED will soon be traveling a path that is not quite as bad, but almost as bad.

The bottom line is that I think the incandescent is the best form of lighting we have now.

Further, I think that anybody that is talking about saving energy with lighting, when they have done nothing to save energy with heating, has been duped by bad guys singing greenwashing songs.

Consider this:



The idea is that there is a lot more money to be made with LED than with CFL.

 
Cris Bessette
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Paul, I watched the video, and I can't argue with superior logic. You've done your math.

I edited my post to preface my comments with "In my opinion" (which may change at any time)

I still THINK LEDs are going to be superior to any previous artificial lighting. I'm slowly replacing all incandescents, CFLs, standard florescents,etc. with LED lamps.
(except in stuff like my greenhouse heat lamps, oven, lava lamp, etc. where only incandescent works.)

 
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Just a point on the reliability of brightness claims.

Back when I had a job, the electric company (The Utility, not the childrens show with Morgan Freeman and Rita Moreno) came into my firehouse to replace our fixtures with "energy saving florescent." In one room, for example, we had about 20 ceiling fixtures each with 2 100W bulbs. The 20 fixtures were in 4 banks. We hardly ever turned on all four banks, except when cleaning. Most of the time we'd be using 1 or 2 banks, maybe 3 if someone was reading or studying. The power company came in, turned on all the lights, and took a light meter reading. They then replaced all the fixtures. When they were done they took another reading and declared that the brightness was "the same." But it wasn't. It wasn't even close. Everyone who walked into that room knew it, but there was no convincing the man with the meter that it was dark in the room. The room was unusable for anything requiring more light than watching TV. All four banks were on, all the time, and it still wasn't enough. We ended up buying a bunch of those halogen floor lamps. You know, the super bright ones that throw the light to the ceiling and, as a side effect, cause house fires whenever a curtain blows in their direction? Without them the room was dark, with a dull cold light. The room was impossible to clean properly and it was impossible to read in there without some sort of task lighting.

I assumed that things being like they are, technology would have improved things over time. Fast forward to 12 or so years later. I've installed solar panels, and before the power company would let me tie them in, they had to do an energy audit of my home. It really just involved replacing about 50 lamps with CFLs (and one LED). I;ll admit that the corkscrew lamps were much better than I remembered. They came up to full brightness quickly and I only had to reject 2 because I could see them flicker. The problem was all the "exposed" bulbs. The ones in ceiling fans, recessed lighting, and chandeliers. Those lamps are still TERRIBLE. Super dim, they take up to 10 minutes for a bank of them to reach full brightness, and they flicker. A lot. At least the power company guy this time was more reasonable. He told me to just put my old lamps back after he left.

I'm going back to incandescent until LEDs are more practical. As penance, I rack dry a load of clothes once a week. I think I'll be way ahead. I make most of my own power anyhow. What gives the federal government the right to tell me how to use it? (I know. The Commerce Clause. If we could stretch a gallon of fuel as far as they've stretched that thing, the whole country could be powered by one bottle of rubbing alcohol.

Does this mean my Mercury is now retrograde?
 
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paul wheaton wrote:I spend $8 per per year on electricity for light.  In 20 years that works out to $160.  I don't think I'm going to see an ROI in 20 years.

Plus, I find the light quality of the LED poor.  And the LED is loaded with toxic gick.

The heat that comes off the incandescent is a bonus in the winter.  In the summer, I rarely turn on the lights due to natural sunlight.



It is still possible to buy incandescent bulbs in any wattage if you know where to look and what to search on. See https://permies.com/t/31062/incandescent-light-bulb#594263
 
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Chris Burge wrote:

Consider this: one broken CFL can poison (poison, not just contaminate) over 1000 gallons of water. It really is time to stop buying them.



Is there somewhere I can read more about that?  I'm having a lot of trouble believing it.  Mercury thermostat switches are still in many houses and according to Scientific American, contain as much mercury as 600 CFLs.  The same article says this: "At least one case of mercury poisoning has been linked to fluorescents: A 1987 article in Pediatrics describes a 23-month-old who suffered weight loss and severe rashes after a carton of eight-foot (2.4-meter) tubular bulbs broke in a play area."  One case, from a carton of 8 ft bulbs, broken in a very young child's playroom.

I researched this on several other sites as well, from Snopes, to Scientific journals in the US and Europe, and I'm just not seeing anything that is alarming to me.  
 
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I have put all my thinky-bits about LED into this thread:

https://permies.com/t/58990/incandescent-LED


 
Todd Parr
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paul wheaton wrote:I have put all my thinky-bits about LED into this thread:

https://permies.com/t/58990/incandescent-LED




Thank you.
 
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The debate of CFL bulbs is an old one.  There are many that felt that CFL was an agenda of the green movement, which was simply a process to increase earnings.   At the heart, you get into some delicate global warming discussions, with each side claiming "science".  Unfortunately, it's like many studies.  The data is open to interpretation.  Different viewpoints is not saying that someone is wrong, just that they have differing perspectives.  I know where I stand on the issue.  

There was a time when the replacement of CFL bulbs was almost forced upon people.  It was given that these are the best choice for our future.  I find it ridiculous that there were suggestions of changing out functional "antiquated" bulbs.  This simply created more waste.  If the science is split, who do we listen to?

The answer was given by Paul.  I'm not suggesting that we listen to him, because he's some sort of leader of this community.  I am suggesting that you listen to him, because what he said was smart.  He said that he thought CFLs gave a lower quality light.  To me, that's the who key.  Which do you like better.  YOU are the only person's whose decision matters.  

----------------------------------------------------------
Section about the comment promoting this reply removed
---------------------------------------------------------

(Suggesting that we could) talk about something interesting about light bulbs instead.  

I would much rather talk about the dual-purpose-ability of each of the bulbs.  
We know that there are finite life cycles to both bulbs, but what can we do with each after they die?

We could discuss if there are ways to dispose of the bulbs to mitigate the mercury danger.  

We could ponder what will happen to all of the mercury in landfills on a large scale.  
Does it drip down and pool together?
Would it congregate into blobs, or just leech into the subsurface?

An opposition to the easy disposal of CFLs could be made, by bringing up natural disasters.
In an Earthquake, Tornado, or Hurricane, are we adding kilo-tons of mercury to gaia?

--------------------------

I had deleted the text entirely, because the initial reply that it was in response to was deleted.
I then thought that there were some interesting opinions to discuss on the topic of CFL.  

In a true Yin/Yang situation, the comment that I found offensive was highly constructive.
It definitely got me thinking of things we should be talking about.
 
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William Wallace wrote:
----------------------------------------------------------
Section about the comment promoting this reply removed
---------------------------------------------------------

(Suggesting that we could) talk about something interesting about light bulbs instead.  

I would much rather talk about the dual-purpose-ability of each of the bulbs.  
We know that there are finite life cycles to both bulbs, but what can we do with each after they die?

We could discuss if there are ways to dispose of the bulbs to mitigate the mercury danger.  

We could ponder what will happen to all of the mercury in landfills on a large scale.  
Does it drip down and pool together?
Would it congregate into blobs, or just leech into the subsurface?

An opposition to the easy disposal of CFLs could be made, by bringing up natural disasters.
In an Earthquake, Tornado, or Hurricane, are we adding kilo-tons of mercury to gaia?



Many states and countries banned mercury thermometers for toxicity concerns since LED thermometers are an option, and yet for some reason CFL's got a pass - likely because of having "less mercury" among other reasons. I find it odd for example that Canada is passing bills to make it so CFL's don't make it to the landfill, when that is only eliminating one part of the danger with them.

As for the disposal system, Paul's right on the money there. It's easy to avoid recycling regulation when poor countries will accept payment in exchange for taking garbage.

The only thing I am left to ponder is: Why should consumers, usually ignorant or unaware ones, be in any contact with this kind of substance? At the very least, why is something so dangerous being held in thin glass? Batteries or equipment that use mercury are encased in durable material to prevent direct contact.

 
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I don't see a point in discussing who thinks what is right, wrong, bad or good.

Each type of lamp has their usecases, and buying a "good lamp" (read: appropriate) requires to think about the application.

Incandescent lamps are great if you can use the heat, need good color representation (for photography, cooking, ...) and have the power to run them.
For offgrid usecases, they might be useful for closets and anything that is almost always off. They are dead simple, and their only danger is the glass.
CFLs are great if one needs a lot of light for a long time. They have nontrivial electronics to start them up and you have to dispose them correctly.
LEDs area great if you need the best light/power ratio and can affort the extra expense of regulating electronics and cooling. Just don't expect accurate color representation. If peoperly build and installed they can last "forever" and withstand shocks that would break the other lamps.

There area "good" and "cheap" lamps of every category. Any good lamp can outlast any cheap lamp (except low power LEDs).
CFLs and LEDs need control circuits that, if build improper, create electromagnetic noise and/or flickering. LEDs can be operated using simple (or no) electronics in DC systems, avoiding the issue.
CFLs and LEDs share the same mechanism to convert the initial light (ultraviolet for CFLs, blue for LEDs) into white light. consequently they may have similar problems with color representation. CFLs have the advantage of starting with UV light, which makes it possible to cover most parts of the visible spectrum. (but not all lamps do that.)
 
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My entire off-grid home is lighted with warm white LED "5 meter, 300 led's" 12vdc strips from ebay.

I usually pay about $2 each.

My favorite are 3014 LED's - the most light for the least power draw. 2835's are a close second.

5050's draw too much juice for the light, and 5630's are too expensive.
 
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