Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Environmentally Friendly Lightbulbs

They're supposed to use less electricity. I suppose that's probably true.

They're supposed to be environmentally friendly. Except you have to dispose of them as hazardous waste because of the mercury that's toxic.

They're supposed to be frugal. They tell us the bulbs last 8-15 times as long as an incandescent. If they cost 10 times as much, but last 10 times as long, then the simple purchase of them is a wash financially, and the energy savings is where you can be frugal.

The problem is, they don't last 8-15 times as long. We installed several CFL bulbs this summer, and they're already burned out. They didn't last as long as an el-cheapo 20-cent incandescent bulb.

So it's costing me more. And now I have a toxic substance to dispose of. And I'm wondering where the up-side of this is.

Why do I suspect that the people who are lying about pushing these things must be the ones who own the patent ... or the factory that makes them?


  1. What a bummer! We've had ours a couple years, and so far, so good. Maybe you got a bad batch?

  2. In the last 8 years we've used them we've only had one blow out (we pack and move them when we move). It sounds like you have a bad batch. I don't suppose you saved the packaging? Most manufacturers warranty their bulbs.

    Also, if you put them in bathrooms, outside in real cold areas, or in enclosed light fixtures you need ones that are specifically for those areas. The plain, cheap spiral ones don't always work well in those types of applications and can burn out too soon.

  3. We use them in fixtures that tend to stay on all day because they DO use less electricity.

    But my Dh says they're more of a fire hazard than an ordinary bulb because they contain a transformer. :(

  4. Okay, this makes me feel better; maybe it is a lemon-batch.

    Kim, one that burned out quickly was outside. Thing is, I remember the label saying that it was meant for outdoors, a yellow color that was not supposed to draw bugs to the light. Another was by the wash machine -- a little cool in the basement but not cold. I can't remember where the one was that Gary replaced; I just remember noticing an incandescent where there hadn't been one before I visited Mom.

  5. The only experience I've had with these is similar to yours, Susan. In the end, we just decided to buy a whole bunch of incandescent bulbs that will last us for a very long time so we don't have to deal with these for a while... I'm mostly holding off to find out what they'll say is bad about them when "used in the long run" - because they always seem to say something after several years of new "technology" coming out.

  6. I'm ready to replace mine! I have 5 of the three-way ones. Each lamp now has a problem with the switch- they are very touchy. Sometimes they work on all three levels, but more times, only on one level. Also, they all interfeer with all the radios.

  7. I'd like to add my two cents: In regards to the disposal of CFLs--it seems like quite a bit is involved. There are not easily-accessable disposal sites, and yeah, if they break, bring in HASMAT.
    So, do I trust that everyone will dispose of them properly? No. Little faith in that, actually. AND the mercury inside (if broken and not cleaned up appropriately) would leak out somewhere. Hopefully not into drinking water sheds. Hopefully not.
    I could go on and on about this. Makes me very upset.
    And, yes, I think some pushers of these things are doing so because their pockets will be lined in some way or another.
    I'm done. I promise.

  8. I'm with Nathan. We have a large stash of the old school bulbs. I read that we won't be able to buy them much longer so I stocked up.

  9. We have also stocked up on the incandescent bulbs. We try to buy a package or two every time we go to the store. The CFL bulbs don't work at all for us outside. I didn't know there was a special kind for outside. That is good to know. I thought we would have to buy different fixtures.
    Cindy George

  10. We also have quite a stockpile of incandescent bulbs, sticking a few in the cart on each shopping trip. I don't like the quality of light from CFLs--or from the halogen lights dh picked up for outside--and every time Colin has tried them in a fixture we end up taking them out.

  11. They sure do look cooler though...