Sunday, May 2, 2010

The econo-bulb revolution

Light bulbs used to be so simple when I was growing up. When one burned out, you would look at the glassy ball and see if it said 40, 60, 75, or 100 watt. If you had one of the REALLY fancy ones it would have three wattages in one, for 3-way lighting fixtures. Except for bulbs that went in chandeliers, all bulbs had the same type of screw in base and wattages. Life was easy before the bulb revolution.

Now, with the advent of energy savings bulbs and fixtures, ‘Honey Do’s’ are suddenly more complicated. They make those curly bulbs but they have funny numbers like 13, 22, 31 watts. As you can imagine these bulbs approximate the same light output as the old bulbs but only use a third of the energy. That is great except they cost 3 times as much to buy these bulbs in the first place? So if electric is 18 cents a kilowatt I save just over a penny per hour of use but they cost me about $2 more or 200 hours of that savings.

The economic realities of the new light bulbs really extend to the fancier circle fluorescent bulbs or the ‘hidden’ fluorescents that look like a traditional round bulb. These ‘designer’ bulbs claim to last 3 times as long but they are a staggering 5 to 10 times the acquisition cost per bulb. What bugs me more than that is that I have had two of these 5 year bulbs burn out in less than 2 years. Where is my big savings with these things – they may be good for pumping up the hardware store’s economy but they sure aren’t an ‘economy buy’ for me.

Even the chandelier and overhead fan bulbs are all weird these days. Some have pin bases, others have small, medium, and the normal size screw in bases. The minority now are the standard pointy chandelier bulbs. Now it seems round bulbs with the variety of bases are the standard and I even have one fan with those hot little halogen bulbs like you find in track lighting. Wow I wonder if I will have to refinance the house to replace one of those things if it burns out? At least I know my energy saving efforts are helping the econo-bulb revolution – I just wish it didn’t make me so dizzy. Oh sorry, the actual cause of my stupor must be those stupid fan blades. I just can’t take my eyes off of them!

1 comment:

  1. I also have had a couple of those twisted bulbs burn out, and way sooner than they should have. But I blame one of the causes to be that I used the bulb in a 3-way lamp. But, explain this: I put another in a 3-way at the same time. It flahes at the low wattage click, then burns fine at the next click. Been doing that for 3 years. So do we avoid using them in 3 ways or not?