March 28, 2009

The compact fluorescent bulbs scam.

At some point the light bulb over your head should go on.

Incandescently.

52 comments:

Meade said...

Today's themes brought to us by the letter D:
Dopes, Deceits, Dimness

Richard Fagin said...

“In the pursuit of the holy grail, we stepped on the consumer.”

Read that quote. Then read it again. Then once more. In fact, why not spend the entire morning memorizing it. Then the next time you want the government to fix something for you, maybe having memorized that quote will make you stop and think about your water-saving toilet that isn't worth a poop (pun intended), not to mention your CFL bulbs.

rhhardin said...

I'm gradually switching over to incandescent as the new bulbs crap out, except for the lamp next to the computer which is on the uninterruptable battery power supply, so the fewer watts the better for it.

Jason (the commenter) said...

When you put the government in charge of lighting, you should expect to live in darkness.

EnigmatiCore said...

We installed these in every socket.

Some still work, others have failed already (after about 3 months).

As they fail, we are putting back in the incandescent.

Didn't see any harm in trying them out, but they simply are not worth the cost.

American Liberal Elite said...

We use a mix of incandescents and CFs. I haven't experienced the quality issues referred to, except in the case of one bulb that blew out and smelled like my old Lionel transformer when it gave up the ghost. The CFs are particularly good in places like the cellar where the kids are likely to leave them on, undiscovered for hours. We also use them for porch lights, which sometimes stay on all night.

SteveR said...

Any story that starts with: Inspired by watching the movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” is almost certain to demonstrate a failed combination of poor science and wishful thinking.

former law student said...

Feits are garbage.

An elaborate GE three-way we had caught on fire.

The best ones are Panasonic, but they are just about impossible to find (Gresham's law of CFLs).

PatCA said...

I will be keeping my old fashioned light bulbs on tonight in honor of geniuses like Edison.

Resist!

Hey, is that a photo of Meade?! Very nice! Congrats again to both of you.)

AllenS said...

The ceiling in my shop is 12 feet. I had been using GE crystal clear 100 incandescent bulbs. Unfortunately, when I turn on the lights in the winter on days when it's really cold, they blow out far too often. Most don't last a full winter. Since this winter, when they failed, I've been replacing then with CF Feit Electric Daylight 100 (natural color). I've been buying them from Menards at a cost of $4.48 a piece IIRC. So far so good, none have failed. With 16 overheads lights, I had to try something.

former law student said...

We also use them for porch lights

Be careful and read the fine print. Most cheap twisties are for indoor use only. Others are rated only over a narrow temperature range. Still others cannot be used in sealed fixtures, like the traditional glass jar porch light.

Big Mike said...

@AllenS, thanks for the tip. I had tried CFLs in my unheated garage but they wouldn't come on on cold days. You're right about the GE incandescents not lasting long under those circumstances, but I didn't know what else to do -- better frequent replacement than not working at all.

AllenS said...

Mike,

What I think was blowing the incandescents so often, was the fact that they came on full force when the bulbs were cold. With the CFL's they don't immediately produce their full lighting capacity. They do take a while to warm up. The natural color ones are the best for putting out good light.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

And let's not forget that our enlightened elites in Congress have mandated the disappearance of incandescents just three years from now.

former law student said...

elites in Congress have mandated the disappearance of incandescents

Elitism is truly when you don't trust the ordinary citizen to do the right thing without being forced to.

A tale of two cities, San Jose and Ann Arbor. Both wanted residents to recycle more, to keep usable materials out of the landfills.

Both cities provided recycling bins. Only Ann Arbor proposed a garbage police, to go through your waste bin and fine you for putting recyclables in it.

JAL said...

PatCA -- Funny thing, we are planning to forget to turn off all our lights tonight from 8:30 to 9:30 pm.

Over the years, after watching (and being required to participate in) things like "T groups" and "consensus buiding", I have decided I do not like people telling groups of people what to think and do for their own good which do not involve saving someone from immediate danger.

Especially over something like shut-your-lights-off-save-the-planet crap.

Not to mention the horror which will engulf all the mercury deniers when they break a bulb in the baby's (only one, to save the planet) nursery. And they realize what they have done....

JAL said...

BTW Meade. Thanks for the picture.
(Assuming that is you. ;-))

Do you really have green jeans?

Kev said...

(the other kev)

PatCA -- Funny thing, we are planning to forget to turn off all our lights tonight from 8:30 to 9:30 pm.

Just be careful. I think this is how the Gaia cultists will out the heretics.

Daryl said...

You have to be a Democrat to think widespread introduction of mercury into our society is a good thing.

Or, I should say, a "Dim-ocrat." The CFL bulb scam shows just how corrupt Democrat environmentalism is.

They want to sabotage our industries with cap-and-trade, and for what? So they can replace harmless CO2 with mercury.

If you're stupid enough to be selling CFL bulbs, expect the trial lawyers to come after you in a few years.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

“We’re both college-educated and pay attention to labels we read,” Ms. Zuercher said. “It feels like someone forgot to put a place to find the information.”

Why is that some people believe that a college education protects them from being stupid?

First they believe that Al Gore didn't lie to them in his 3-reel commercial for ALGORE Inc.; then, because they bought the cheapest light bulbs they could find, they figure it is somebody else's fault that the experience didn't turn out as expected.

After all, it can't be THEIR fault; THEY'RE college educated!

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

And another thing...

Who thinks the push by Congress for banning certain products and foisting others on us is purely for "our own good"?

How many believe every decision Congress makes is based on how many campaign bucks it will bring in from the affected parties?

Do we need to have Trooper conduct a poll, or are we fairly sure of the outcome already?

bearbee said...

Only Ann Arbor proposed a garbage police, to go through your waste bin and fine you for putting recyclables in it.

Your 'stimulus' package at work.

Been using CFLs for quite a while without problem.

And let's not forget that our enlightened elites in Congress have mandated the disappearance of incandescents just three years from now.

Was legislation passed?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

PatCA -- Funny thing, we are planning to forget to turn off all our lights tonight from 8:30 to 9:30 pm.

"Just be careful. I think this is how the Gaia cultists will out the heretics."

No problemo here. We are usually asleep or in bed by that time so our lights, with the exception of the bedside reading lights, will be off anyway. nyah nyah nyah.

Other than the florescent lighting in the recessed ceiling kitchen light and the laundry room, there is no way I will EVER substitute for my incandescent bulbs. Being in Calif, I have stocked up on lightbulbs.

The CFL bulbs suck. The lighting is terrible and they take forever to come on in our cold winter climate. They are full of poisons that will be added to the environment because the reality is that people will not properly dispose of the bulbs.

In addition, we use a 75 watt incandescent bulb to keep the pump house from freezing at the well head and to keep the temperature up just a bit, when it is -12 degrees at night and doesn't get above freezing for days. It is cheap and efficient. Just put the bulb near the floor, connect to athermal cube and ta dah. Much more efficient and less costly than a pump heater.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Much more efficient and less costly than a pump heater

Make that a pumpHOUSE heater.

We do have florescents in our workshop garage area, but that is heated so we don't have a problem with the time issue of turning on the lights.

Beth said...

I haven't have a single CFL fail to work, nor have I had to replace any that I've put in yet, going back two years. I have 12 foot ceilings, so I appreciate not having to climb up a ladder a couple times a year to replace bulbs.

Larry J said...

I've had mixed results with CFLs. I use one in an outdoor light and it lasts for years. We have others in various lamps around the house and they work fine. When we bought some CFLs marketed as replacements for canister lights at Costco, they took so long (several minutes) to reach full intensity that we returned them.

AJ Lynch said...

That is a superb idea "We plan to forget to turn out my lights tonight"

We may forget as well.

AJ Lynch said...

It's hilarious to see a generation that once bragged "Don't trust anyone over thirty" turn around and obey unproven enviro edicts.

traditionalguy said...

What we have here is a failure to communicate. The raw capitalist ways of seeing what works as valuable versus the Socialist ways of telling an inspiring story about what will work after we surrender our minds to Noble Bullshit to prove we are worthy of being allowed to live. The NPR reports do sound so intelligent as they talk about the latest noble ways to pretend that the things they are examining are real. How exquistely well educated. When the Love for the Truth has been deemed offensive to politically correct thinking, then the Delusional Level of all political life goes thru the roof. And when the Bulbs Don't Work, you are supposed to blame yourself for being alive. Somebody needs to challenge the whole environmental scam with rude truth. If we don't do that, we will become voluntary slaves under a World treaty that pretends to work on climate just like these bulbs pretend. Energy is not running out. It is being rationed to drive up the Taxation powers of the Goverment Mob. When will anybody tell us why no drilling for our own oil is permitted by our Government Mob?? And no more using our own coal resources under Obama's Mob. These energy resources have been criminalized using a fantasy joke about Global climate control being the Mob's goal.

BJM said...

Richard @10:03 I have one word for the dim bulbs in Congress and green think tanks who push solutions and enact laws without thorough research: MTBE.

Richard Fagin said...

"If you're stupid enough to be selling CFL bulbs, expect the trial lawyers to come after you in a few years."

Crap, Daryl, did you have to remind me?

Peter V. Bella said...

I tried them. They sucked. I threw them in the trash, yeah screw everything, I threw them in the trash. I stocked up on incandescents. They work fine, the light is better, and they do not make my paint look like puke.

Now I am looking for a used toilet to replace the one that was in the house when I bought it. I do not care how much water I use. When I flush, I expect a full flush. Flusing three times is stupid; just like the people who come up with this greenie weenie crap.

EDH said...

Aren't they talking about eventually banning incandescents?

After all the remaining bulbs are horded, it'll be interesting to see where people draw the line between those who are and those who are not "incandescent-worthy."

PatCA said...

AJ, I also think it's tragic that so many "counterculture" people have turned into such sheep.

What's next to go, Western civilization? The human race?

Forget to turn them off! Resist!

AllenS said...

I have incandescents in the house. I also have two of my ceiling fans/light fixtures that require the thin threaded caps on the bulbs. They don't make CFLs with the thin thread. Before they outlaw incandescents, I'll buy a hundred of them.

CFLs put out an ugly light, if they're not the natural color type. There is a big difference.

Palladian said...

Fuck the CFL. It has a limited place, but it is not a replacement for the incandescent bulb.

A lot of classic light fixtures use the incandescent bulb shape as a part of their design. Here's an Italian modern fixture from 1970 with the right bulb and the wrong bulb.

Imagine these fixtures which hang in Grand Central Terminal in New York City, with CFLs instead of incandescent bulbs.

Methadras said...

In the governments zeal to follow in the global warming footsteps of the Goreacle, they in turn of foisted this nonsense on the moronic public that laps this stuff up wholesale. The entire argument is a scam. It's always been a scam and the only people profiting from this scam are people like Gore and his guilt-ridden carbon credit fund. I blame him and people like him for thinking, in their arrogance, that they know better than I do or others do what is right for us to do with our homes and our property for the sake of the dream of saving the planet from the evils of consumerism, which in turn causes to much heat. In their small minded narrow world view.

Charles said...

Ron Rosenbaum's beautiful essay defending the incandescent bulb.

http://www.slate.com/id/2183163/

Chip Ahoy said...

Meade! Is that you?

I like fluorescents. I even like the word, the u before the o makes it interesting.

I had an incandescent above the doorway inside a glass shade of deplorable design, a globe that resembles a full moon. The incandescent bulb kept burning out inside the shade, and it's a bitch to replace. I put in a fluorescent and that's the last I've had to bother.

I have 4 powerful and expensive compact fluorescents on the aquarium that deliver a very pleasant white light. The plants inside the aquarium grow stupendously and must be continuously.

There are also two very strong full-range compact fluorescents on each Aerogarden, and Man, do they ever work.

I do no understand the bad rap fluorescents get from photographers. I get great photographs, if I do say so myself, in contradiction to what the pros write, with good fluorescent lamps, and with the white balance on the camera set to fluorescent.

The bulbs I hate are those little halogens that fit in the kitchen tracks. They're expensive, they need replacing all the time, they're difficult to change, and I had one burn out just by adjusting the shade. I hate having to keep a dozen of them around just to keep them all going.

Plus, I like really bright light.

Chip Ahoy said...

Last year I started tomatoes from seed indoors. A few friends dropped by the day I was building the frame for the earth garden for the tomatoes I assumed would grow to five feet. When my friends asked about the proper mess I had going, they laughed at my presumption that the plants had a chance of growing that tall. My frame allowed a shelf that held two fluorescent lights intended for photography to be raised as the plants grew to a maximum height of five feet. They thought that was hilarious and that I'm a silly loon.

Those lights were awesome! The tomatoes grew like mad. Spring came late last year and transferring the plants outside was delayed. I had to extend the frame by two feet, and the plants extended beyond that. Altogether, it was a total pain in the butt and I'm not doing it this year. For now on, I'll just buy tomatoes from farmers.

srfwotb said...

My ex-physics prof really pushed these - they were invented by his friend and lit the Notre Dame! etc. It is a fun idea, a cool solution to a problem so I can understand why a physicist would be excited about them, but he did admit and dismiss one other flaw:

They are ugly. And cold. And efficient. And like all fluorescents they make you look ugly, cold, and efficient - bathed in lengthy unadulterated light rather than light and warmth like normal bulbs.

This may not seem like much, but this is huge to me. I try to avoid office environments with fluorescents because it depresses me. I seek out natural light if possible. For whatever reason, it's something I'm hugely sensitive to. Fine, we have to keep costs down in the office, but I don't want that crap in my house by government mandate.

On the positive side, he good-naturedly considered Al Gore's movie to be alarmist propaganda to motivate action by fear.

Big Mike said...

@Palladian, you've got a point. I have a couple chandeliers around the house that take bulbs with a small base, and the "flame" shape of the bulbs is a critical part of the chandelier design. So far there aren't any CFLs that I've seen for sale with the tiny base, but even if there were I wouldn't buy them. I'm not going to replace two expensive chandeliers to be PC.

@Chip, you have to be careful when replacing the halogen bulbs not to touch them with your finger. It's not enough to have clean hands. Apparently the tiny amount of grease that transfers -- even from freshly washed hands -- causes them to fail prematurely. And they're expensive!

David said...

When she died two years ago, my mother had an entire closet full of incandescent bulbs. We thought that it was just the crazy old woman part of her coming out. (She was, certifiably, both crazy and old.)

Little did we know that she had seen the future and begun preparing for it.

We gave the bulbs to a charity rather than ship them half way across the country.

But I have begun my own stash. Yes I have.

former law student said...

I have a bulb stash just for my favorite accent lamp (made from an old glass 1 liter Coca Cola bottle. It has a clip-on shade which won't fit any CFL ever made.

Peter V. Bella said...

The news reported that this is the thirtieth anniversary of Three Mile Island. They even interviewed a so called expert. This expert gave an opinion that we still have not reached a point of relative safety and that wind and solar power are better. Now this expert was not a nuclear power plant expert, an expert from the EPA or any of the wacko environmental groups. Nope. This expert was not an engineer, physicist, nuclear waste expert, or even a stupid, moronic journalist. Nope, this expert was a faded glory movie start who became an expert on nuclear power plants because she made a movie about one. Yep, folks, Jane Fonda is the new face of expertise in nuclear power and its safety.

The only way they will take my incandesant bulbs is to pry them from my cold dead hands.

JAL said...

Well I was out at 8:30, but called my husband to remind him. He had all the lights on. Said he noticed that across the valley there were no lights on the mountain.

Well whoever they are, they know who we are. ;-)

JAL said...

As for CFLs, we do have some.

There is a wide variation in the colors.

I went back and forth in Lowe's one day trying them out on the lamp aisle before I found a brand (which I have forgotten -- Sylvania?) which did not make everything look dead and metallic.

I like choices.

Funny. The "pro-choice" people tend to be the ones who want to limit all kinds of choices ...

Arnold said...

I've been using CFL in most of the lamps in the house for several years -- no problems, and I think only one has burned out. The quality of light is a little different than for incandescent bulbs, but not unpleasant, and I think I've come to prefer it (and have gotten no complaints from my wife). My main problem is that they are a bit larger than incandescent bulbs and don't fit in many light fixtures. I mostly use GE bulbs, which I usually find at clearance prices at Target, so they've been a bargain all around for me. I particularly like the fact that they burn cooler than incandescent bulbs, which helps with cooling costs during our long warm summers. I wish I could use more of them.

Joe said...

RE: Nuclear Power

Jane Fonda is a little right but not for the reasons she thinks. The safest nuclear reactor is a pebble bed reactor; unfortunately if you to build a reactor today, that's know what you would build.

Todd said...

All of my bulbs in the house have been CFL's for a couple of years now, only had to replace 3 out of 20 so far and I've saved a couple of hundred off my electric bill.

If you are going to bash environmentalists at least don't be daft enough to bash your own wallet while doing so.

Total Geek said...

Most of the comments here are derived from an extreme, right-wing position that is simply irrelevant. I happen to be a liberal Democrat and I am also disappointed with CFL's. Not because of some government conspiracy, which is nonsense, but because too many of them die too quickly. It's a simple cost analysis. If I spend more on CFL's, but they last a lot longer and use less energy, then I will save money on my light bill. But, if the CFL's need replacing more often than incandescent bulbs (and they do), then my savings goes out the window. I may still reduce the amount of energy I consume, but then it costs energy to produce more CFL's to replace the ones that died.

So, I think people should consider the issue from a rational, logical viewpoint and not just a political agenda. If CFL's or some other technology can really deliver more light for less energy and less cost, then it's worth it. But right now, the technology is not delivering what it promised.

suchbs said...

A half truth is still a lie- the fact that I (and others) DID NOT EVEN REALIZE that these stupid compact foolescent bulbs contain mercury, is plain fraud! it should be required that you sign a form stating that you know and accept the risks.Where is the class action lawsuit, her lawyers lets get on it! THese cfl's should have huge red warning stickers on them, saying "warning contains toxic mercury"! the fact that they dont, makes me feel that the powers that be must WANT us all to poison ourselves with mercury.How convenient putting mercury in lightbulbs, which are much easier to break than those pesky thermometers. Mercury is widely regarded as the most toxic substance on earth(to humans). Here they go again giving us a new way to poison ourselves.A new convenient way for us to give ourselves brain damage from mercury exposure. I guess they figure the dumber we get the better for them. Governments have no right to push these lights and ban other types of bulbs, wow! THE REAL TYPE OF LIGHT bulbs that should be pushed to save energy is not cfl's but led bulbs! I wish i knew then what I know now. I honestly have broken many compact FOOLescent bulbs and thought nothing of it.I didnt even realize I was poisoning my entire body by breaking light bulbs. This from someone that spent thousands of dollars to have dentists remove all of my mercury almalgam fillings(including pulling some teeth)! Wow, somebody in power has a real kick for poisioning the worlds population with mercury. I wont eat fish cuz of mercury, and now I have 50 little mercury time bombs in my house because it wasn't disclosed to me that the bulbs have them. Im not a scientist and I didnt know flourescent lights all have mercury in them, or I never would of bought or brought a single one of em into my home. I am switching to LED bulbs now 100% and immediatly, I dont care if they cost more money, they are unbreakable and use almost no power. Shame on everyone for even letting mercury containing bulbs be SOLD! wow, they must want to take everything away from us, even our health and our sanity!