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To CFL or not to CFL, not really a question.

Tonight, spurred on by recent purchases of very inexpensive CFL Floodlights at costco, I underwent a consious effort to replace as many light bulbs as I could and home for a appreciable decrease in my annual power usage. (Costco was selling 4 packs ranging from 5$ for 65w equivalent floods to 10$ for 120w equvalent fully enclosed outdoor floods.)

My savings will actually be greater than that of others since I am paying a small monthly premium on my power bill to buy only 100% "green" power. The premium is curently $0.0125 per kWh which ends up being less than 10$ a month. (Link to sign up for with PSE.)

In any event, on to my findings...

Lights with proper glass or paper shades are an easy switch. This is probably why the cheap CFL's with a visible spiral are so popular. They don't look bad in many fixtures. I was able to use these in the downstairs bathroom, although these cheap bulbs have an audible hum, exacerbated by the small size of the bathroom. They also seem a bit dimmer than the 65w bulbs they replaced.

I tried the spiral bulbs as a replacement for the enclosed outdoor fixtures. Aside from being a bit to dim for the application, the visible spiral is somethign of an eyesore. (The 65w incandescent bulbs seemed a bit dim too.) I'm going to try again with the spirals which are enclosed in a frosted ball, and with slightly brigher bulbs.

With the recent availablity of CFL flood lights, I'm able to take the CFL's further into the home. In my experience with these particular bulbs, the 65w equivalent bulbs are a bit brighter than the 65w bulbs they replaced. The same seems to be true of the 120w equivalent bulbs.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to install them in the hallways since they have dimmers. Many stores are beginning to carry dimmable CFL's, so I will either wait and get them when they reach a more reasonable price or give up the dimming capabilites and install lower-wattage floods in these locations. (The 65w dimmables such as these from GE would be pefect. Unfortunately, even at Wal-mart's low low internet crushing price of 11.96 per bulb, this is an expensive endeavor for 12 bulbs.)


I have also changed out most of my bulbs, only to find out that the Mercury in CFL bulbs probably does more harm at disposal time than the higher electricity use of normal incandescents (unless you have access to cheap, hassle-free disposal). I am now back to incandescents until LEDs are a little better for the buck.

By dstelow, at 8:27 PM  

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