Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Florescent vs Incandescent Bulbs

I have been experimentingin our home for the past three years, with the new curly-topped florescent bulbs. While certainly less-than-scientific, the experiment has actually been more about how the bulbs work/don't work in different applications around the house. My efforts began when I saw the considerable savings offered by the longer-lived bulbs as they burn up to eight times longer while consuming up to 75% less energy.

WalMart is now working to make the curly bulb the norm for most folks an effort not meeting with complete success! (HT: Instapundit)

That dry fact being said, let us proceed to my results....

+ I first tried all my applications which were either a) hard to reach and/or b) where bulbs seemed to give up the ghost quickly. These included my front porch light....a dual lamp fixture of enclosed glass with metal venting. The bulbs there burned out at least two to three times yearly. Note: I burn my porch lights all night. Result: the new lamps did as well as the old in light providing, and in my three years I lost only one lamp....not sure why it failed. Downside...the fixture still collects bugs which die and leave a mass of bug-bodies which must be emptied at least annually.

+ Lamps for my bathroom fixture, a four-lamp setup behind frosted glass. Result: Wonderful! The original bulbs are still burning. Note: Duchess, meanwhile, still employs the old type in her bath....she uses a dimmer which does not work with florescents, and the curly bulbs give a side effect of almost all florescents....they distort color and are bad for makeup application.

+ My office fan. The three antique-type glass holders shield the new bulbs from most viewers. They have all lasted the three years. Result: They are great as one of the killers of incandescent bulbs is vibration and the florescents seem immune. Downside: (Minor-annoyance variety) The curly bulbs in my fan take about a full 1 to 2 seconds to light when turned on. For some reason this annoys me. At first I thought they were not going to light and would flip the switch a couple of times. Now I am used to it, and I still find myself annoyed that I am part way into the room before the lights catch up. Funny what annoys us.

+ I tried them in my back porch patio lights which are coach lights. I thought they looked kind of cool. Result: Duchess helped me see the error of my anti-esthetic ways, and thus we returned to the ever-popular "flame" or rippled-surface bulbs.

+ Work light installation. I don't use my work light as much as I once did, however breaking bulbs in a work light is a regular event. I found my new florescent to be much more impervious to shocks and breaks.

Summation: I find that many applications are great for the little curly-tops. Some simply do not work well. I have wondered why someone has not yet come up with a round-bulb enclosure of glass for a florescent bulb to make it appear as a standard incandescent? That just might take away the stigma of those who find curly tops to be less-than-attractive. (OOPS! Someone has! & and they are in lots of shapes!)

All-in-all I am a strong advocate. You know you will save money, and you know you will change fewer bulbs. What's not to like? Try a pack......most places sell them in 2 to 6 packs. I keep several on hand. Given their life span you do not need many spares!