Sunday, December 11, 2011

Seeing the Light

We've all heard about how incandescent light-bulbs are energy-inefficient, mainly because they turn a significant amount of electricity into heat, rather than light. (Which is why you could use one to power and Easy-Bake Oven.) Compact fluorescent lights were supposed to be more energy-efficient and longer-lasting. So even though they cost more than regular lightbulbs, you'd make the investment back over time with the savings to one's electric bill. Being cheap, I figured I'd give it a try. Verdict thus far? Bogus. The compact fluorescents aren't as long-lasting as the incandescent bulbs.

Most of this is just anecdotal - I'm starting to re-replace compact fluorescent bulbs. But thus far, it looks like the potential 7-year lifespan that was advertised for the compact fluorescents isn't going to be realized. But I do have one controlled experiment, as it were - the dining room table. The fixture above the table holds three bulbs. When we moved in, all three sockets had incandescent bulbs in them. (In fact, every light socket in the apartment had an incandescent bulb.) When bulb one went out, I replaced it with a compact fluorescent. The same with bulb two. Last week, bulb one went out again. Bulb three, the last of the incandescent bulbs, is still shining. It was a similar situation in one of the bedrooms, where the bulbs are two to a fixture - I just replaced the second incandescent bulb in the fixture when the fluorescent bulb that had replaced the first one went out.

I'm hoping that I just wound up with a bad batch of light bulbs, and that normally, compact florescents will last as long as advertised. The environmental movement has enough problems without fluorescent light bulbs simply being a more expensive way to light your home.


JohnMcG said...

I started using CFL's st least five years ago, and the next one I replace will be the first.

Aaron said...

I must have gotten a bad batch. I picked up the first ones in 2008, and I've already replaced three of them.