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February 21, 2007



As I understand it the low energy bulbs don't work with variable brightness control. What happens to all these fixtures in households already? Am I mistaken?

mike teachman

LED lights dim quite well unlike CFL's. In a couple of years the price on them will come down.


There's a few types of CFL that work quite well with dimmers around now too.

My problem is that some people much prefer incandescent light... I reckon that instead of banning them they should be taxed 1000% higher or so...


First let me say I have put compact fluorescent lamps in those places where the lights are on a lot.

But it would be really silly to do this for a number of other places in my house. For example, the (incandescent)light in my attic is on for maybe two hours per year. There is a part of my basement where I go every week, but the (incandescent)lights are on for only a minute or so each time. The original bulbs (31 years old) are still there. Even the ceiling light in my master bedroom is a marginal candidate - it took 20 years before I had to change the (incandescent) light bulb there.

Seems to me that putting compact fluorescent lamps in those locations would be a mistake. The electronic ballast in the lamp would probably fail (electrolytic capacitors dry out) long before the fluorescent tube would wear out.

I am sure the manufacture of a CF lamp is more energy intensive than an incandescent light bulb. If I have to replace CF lamps due to old age, I may actually be using more energy than if I had used incandescent lamps in the first place.

My solution: Tax incandescent light bulbs so that the initial cost is a bit higher than compact fluorescents. There are a lot of people who see only that initial cost, and don't understand the ongoing cost.


donb regarding "Seems to me that putting compact fluorescent lamps in those locations would be a mistake."

Now don you are trying to bring reason, common sense and logic into the argument. This just doesn't fit with emotional environmental politics. :) JohnBo

Janis Mara

Just in the interests of completely unbiased information - is there an actual drawback to using compact flourescents? Seems to me I saw a comment on some blog somewhere suggesting they're not as bright, and cost more. Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor (and maybe this post simply shows that *I'm* not as bright) but I'm just curious.



I don't what web site to send you to for more info, so I will relate my personal observations:

1. Yes, compact fluorescent lamps do cost more, but they are getting cheaper all the time. I bought some multi-packs at Costco, and I think it came out to about $1.50 per bulb. This is getting to within spitting distance of incandescents. Since they (usually) last much longer than incandescents, the per-hour cost of the bulb is quite a bit cheaper (as is the energy cost).

2. When I first put in compact fluorescents, I noticed they were not as bright as the incandecents they replaced, even though they claimed to be a replacement of equal brightness. So I got out a photographic light meter, and the meter confirmed what my eyes were telling me. My rule of thumb now is to use the "next wattage up", that is, if I am replacing a 60 watt incandescent light bulb, I used a compact fluorescent that claims to replace a 75 watt incandescent light bulb. This satisfies both my eyes and the light meter.

Note that compact fluorescents ARE dimmer when first turned on. They need to warm up a bit to get to full brightness. I find this to be an advantage when I first go to the kitchen early in the morning before my eyes are fully awake.


when you first go to the kitchen in the morning you should be relying on natural light, rather than wasting precious energy resources

Kit P.

Aside from cost, CFLs get dimmer with time and do not last long in fixtures that trap heat.


I've replaced incandescents everywhere I can with CFLs, and personally, I don't find them less bright. As someone said, most of them cannot be dimmed. But the biggest drawback for me is that they can't be put on electronic timers or electronic controls, such as photoelectric switches. I tried it once anyway, despite the warnings on the package, and after some days the base turned black and nearly caught fire.



I don't know about where you live, but here in Spokane, WA., when I wake up and go to the kitchen at 4:15 AM, there is no natural light to be had this time of year.


There are a few applications where CF bulbs simply won't work, like for an oven light! Banning incandescents is not a good solution, there are better ways of encouraging energy savings.

As for use with electronic timers and photo-eye switches, get the right type of switch. I was shopping for photo-eye switches, and noticed that the cheap ones were for incandescent lights only, but the better ones will also work with fluorescent and sodium vapor and metal arc lights!


It isnt about the $$ you are going to save this week or this month or even this year. Its about the lack of energy that you use and with an entire country using less, The "oil rich nations" wont get the $$ they need to bring the rest of the world to their knees....


My eyes are extremely sensitive to light, and any type of fluorescent light, including CFL's used in homes and offices, strains my eyes when reading anything black printed on white paper. At times my eyes will simply start tearing up because of the brightness. This is a huge issue for me. At work, our overhead hanging light fixtures each use 1 CFL bulb. As a graphic designer my job depends on looking at the computer screen all day with a discerning eye. So with the CFL bulbs turned on, my eyes strain very quickly. I am forced to turn off the light altogether, and rely on daylight. I am all for saving energy however banning incandescent light bulbs is not the solution!

Payday Loan Advocate

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Business Electricity

Great read, and thank you for raising the subject.

Online Furniture Stores

I am always impressed with how health and earth contentious that Australia is. I have also heard that they band plastic for any food products. I feel that they are a great leader in those departments. I wish that the FDA would take a lesson from them.

Dentist Los Angeles

I am glad to hear that... Now when is America and everyone else going to take some responsibility too?

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