or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Reuse & Recycle › Compact fluorescents vs. regular lightbulbs
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Compact fluorescents vs. regular lightbulbs

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I keep hearing the compact fluorescents are the way to go - IF they are going to be on for a minimum of five minutes. Well, people in our family are sometimes really good at only having a light on for as long as they need it on. They turn on the bathroom light, pee, and it's turned off again in two minutes or less. Other times they forget and the bathroom light gets left on for much longer. LOL.

So I'm wondering if anyone knows for sure if compact fluorescents are still worth putting in places where they are mosly on for only a minute or two. Or is that counterproductive.

Also, we have a light fixture that ALWAYS burns out lightbulbs prematurely. We've burnt out compact fluorescents within months, even with occasional use. It is weird. I hate to put anything but conventional cheap lightbulbs in that fixture. WWYD?
post #2 of 28
We've become pretty disallusioned with the compact fluorescents. They generally are bigger than an average lightbulb & I've found that often the shades won't fit over them so half the lights in my house are now just bare bulbs. They are expensive to purchase (but that supposedly is made up for in energy savings) & the way we are charged for electricity here there is no noticeable difference. And when they do burn out you aren't supposed to put them in the regular garbage so you end up with the hassle of having to find a place to bring them back.
post #3 of 28
I my CFL's! I am a SAHM, and there is at least 3-6 of us, if not more here 24/7. The first couple of years here in this house, I went through, no kidding hundreds of regular light bulbs. Now, I buy a couple of big packs from Sam's club once a year, and it usually lasts us till the next year. I know they promise YEARS of life out of them, but this a YMMV situation. I am pretty sure those claims are made for a household, where the parents and kiddos are gone to school or work 1/2 the time. They last 10 times longer than conventional bulb here, and there is a significant difference in my electric bill, but it may be because when I changed over to CFL's 5 or 6 years ago, I did it all at once, so it was VERY noticeable on my bill. (around $40 difference monthly) Between using CFL's and replacing older appliances and televisions to Energy Star ones, I have watched my bill go from $450/month to less than $200/month. Again YMMV, but it worked for us!
post #4 of 28
Wow, Kyndmama, I probably haven't been through 100 incandescent bulbs in 10 years, let alone hundreds in a couple of years. I can't even imagine how many lights you must have in your house.

The problem I have with the CFLs is two-fold. I get migraines and they are known to exacerbate this problem. At work, I keep my overhead lights off because of that because I will leave work with a headache if I don't. If for some reason I have to be there several hours, I get a migraine if I have to be in a room with CFLs or regular tube floros. Also, I have rosacea and fluorescent light aggravates this for some people. This is also true for me. I don't think CFLs are all they're cracked up to be, IMHO.

Dh uses them in his home office, though. I don't go in there often. We have 4 bulbs that are sitting in a bag downstairs because you can't throw them in the trash due to the mercury in them. We will get rid of them next month is a special annual day for getting rid of them. We have to drive 14 miles to dispose of them.

I have a stockpile of incandescent and will use them until they come up with a better alternative that is widely available (LCD, probably).

I love the "green" factor or CFLs, but if they make your life miserable, there's not much you can do about it.
post #5 of 28
For the fixture that keeps burning out bulbs, try a vibration-resistant bulb. We use these in a ceiling fan, even though the ceiling fan is almost never on.

CFLs reduce electrical usage per bulb by 80-90%. The October 2009 Consumer Reports rated CFLs. One take-home message is that IKEA CFL bulbs are have issues. :-(
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/m...ginMethod=auto

Even if you can't find a cfl brand for inside the home, they are great for outdoor lighting (front door, etc) LED bulbs with good performance are coming onto the market (Sams club, Home depot, costco) and also save 80-90% in electricity. No mercury in CFL bulbs.

Home Depot recycles CFL bulbs, Lowes does not.
post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Wow, Kyndmama, I probably haven't been through 100 incandescent bulbs in 10 years, let alone hundreds in a couple of years. I can't even imagine how many lights you must have in your house.

The problem I have with the CFLs is two-fold. I get migraines and they are known to exacerbate this problem. At work, I keep my overhead lights off because of that because I will leave work with a headache if I don't. If for some reason I have to be there several hours, I get a migraine if I have to be in a room with CFLs or regular tube floros. Also, I have rosacea and fluorescent light aggravates this for some people. This is also true for me. I don't think CFLs are all they're cracked up to be, IMHO.

Dh uses them in his home office, though. I don't go in there often. We have 4 bulbs that are sitting in a bag downstairs because you can't throw them in the trash due to the mercury in them. We will get rid of them next month is a special annual day for getting rid of them. We have to drive 14 miles to dispose of them.

I have a stockpile of incandescent and will use them until they come up with a better alternative that is widely available (LCD, probably).

I love the "green" factor or CFLs, but if they make your life miserable, there's not much you can do about it.
I have the problem of flipping on the light and it just blows I never thought about vibration resistant bulbs...actually never knew they existed. I think it may have something to do with the wiring in my house...we have had some work done, and it is not an everyday occurrence anymore I do know that apparently part of the house wasn't properly grounded? I don't know what it means really, except now my lights last longer than a week.

OOhh I've seen LCD bulbs...I can't wait till they're more affordable
post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by kyndmamaof4 View Post

OOhh I've seen LCD bulbs...I can't wait till they're more affordable
IF you have a place to use really low wattage bulbs (like 10-15W incandescent equivalent) then the bulbs are affordable. ($15 for 3 at Sam's) Or you can go with a 60W "equivalent" for about $50-60 (online) ... get these just one at a time to make sure they will work for you. LED technology is improving rapidly and costs are dropping. Incandescent will be extinct within a decade.
post #8 of 28
We have had poor experiences with the CFL's. We have had a number of them break and with the mercury contamination we've decided that we're done with them. Forget about the energy savings, they seem overly fragile compared to standard bulbs. We have some in our ceiling fans, but other than that, we're not using them anymore. They also give off a strange light - at least the ones from Costco do.

Liz
post #9 of 28
I can't wait for LEDs to be more affordable. From what I understand they'll be a good replacement for halogen lightbulbs and we have a few light fixtures that use those. I like CFLs, we use them in most of our house except for a couple of dimmable fixtures since the current dimmable CFLs are still very large and don't fit in them. We've been using them in this house for about 2.5 years (that's when we moved here) and we had our first CFL burn out a couple of weeks ago. Mind you while either DH or I are normally home during the day (work from home), we also don't use lights during the day unless it's really really cloudy or something as we get lots of natural light.

The only issue I have is with the slow startup time for some of them. For example in our bathroom we have the candelabra-shaped bulbs and they are quite dim when you first turn them on. Now that's great when I go to the bathroom at night or first thing in the morning cause it's not as harsh, but when we're having people over for dinner or something it's a challenge (no windows in our bathroom as it's in the middle of the house).

Interesting about the connection with migraines. For me halogen lights definitely trigger them. No issues with CFLs but then once the migraine starts any light is evil, I don't care what bulb it is!
post #10 of 28
We have had variable luck with CFL's. I originally switched to them because I liked the way they light up -- broad-spectrum light that more closely mimics daylight (all my co-workers switched to CFL's after seeing how nice my lamps lit my desk... but that was an office where they didn't use overhead lights, it was very dark without lamps). Anyway... so we seem to go through way way too many bulbs. They just constantly burn out and they are expensive to replace, especially every few months. We still have CFL's in most of our fixtures but for our outdoor lights, for ex., we finally switched back to regular bulbs. I like the CFL's in most places, especially the rooms we spend a lot of time in, but I didn't know that they would burn out more quickly if you only turned them on for a couple minutes, so now I never know what to do when I enter a room and end up leaving the lights of and walking around in the dark which isn't very fun with toys and stuff strewn all over the house...
post #11 of 28
I actually like the light from our floor lamp with CFL's so much better than the ceiling light with what I assume is incandescent. They're larger, which is a pita, but we make it work. It's funny my mom complains the light hurts her eyes, but I really like them.
post #12 of 28
I also have a light fixture in my bathroom that like to burn out bulb all. the. time. So annoying! Anyhow, I don't think CFLs are all they are cracked up to be either. We put them in all our lights 3 1/2yrs ago and have had to change almost all of them once. Which is irritating since they are suppose to last a long time, cost so much and they don't last me any longer that a regular bulb so I don't feel like I'm getting the money saving benefit. We bought another box of them a couple weeks ago but decided that it wasn't worth my money.
post #13 of 28
We have had great success with CFL's. When we first started using them, our electricity bill dropped by at least 50%. It was amazing! And I guess we jsut have good luck with our bulbs. We have had a few go out, but for the most part, once we put a bulb in, we don't have to change it. We have had some bulbs in the same fixture for 5+ years (and that includes taking down the fixture, moving it to a new house, and putting it back up). We have a stockpile of extra bulbs, since FIL keeps buying new ones for us. We did have a problem with bulbs from Costco (they kept going out fairly quickly) and just never bought that brand again.
post #14 of 28
When buying flourescents, be certain to look at what is called "color temperature". If you buy too high a color temperature your lights will look blue and your house like a morgue. The lower you go, the closer to incandescent you get. It all affects the ambience of your home ALOT.
post #15 of 28
For those of us with heavy metal issues, the risk is toooooo great for breakage. We're sticking with regular bulbs until LCDs get better.
post #16 of 28

No way

We utterly REFUSE to use those new bulbs!

1) The light rays are toxic to my family - causing irritability, aggression & headaches. I'm sure there are more problems with them that we just don't see the physical evidence yet.

2) They are TOXIC inside. If you break one, did you know the gov't says you have to call HAZMAT to clean it up?? I have organic food, cleaners & clothing but I'll have that toxic waste in my house?? I don't think so.

3) When they burn out, you are supposed to dispose of them in an appropriate facility. I don't know about you folks, but the closest one to us is FOUR HOURS AWAY!

So for those of you that have used them and tossed them - did you bring them to the proper facility or throw them in the regular trash?
Can you even FATHOM the toxic h*ll we're going to have as the land fills fill up with those things??

Since incandescent bulbs will no longer be manufactured in about 2 years, I encourage you to buy up as many as you can now! Those CFL bulbs are hazardous to our families & our environment.

And those "green people" are pushing those on us ... know why?
$$$$$$$$$$ That's the only reason!
post #17 of 28
This is my story with these bulbs....

Back in 1992, they were recommended to me by my electric company. I bought a set of eight bulbs for $6 EACH and they rebated me $3. I thought that was expensive but liked the idea of saving electricity. Those eight bulbs all lasted TEN YEARS and were still going strong when I sold the house.

I've tried buying them during the last three years at Home Depot and each light bulb I bought there only lasted about six months. After going through ALL twenty in during the three years, I stopped buying them. What started out as a good product was taken over by the business culture.

The way the bulbs are now... all they are doing is adding mercury to the environment. How many people do you think are recycling them and disposing of them the proper way?

These bulbs will the be the biggest environmental tragedy in recent times when our waters and soil are toxic because of the mercury..... VOTE with your wallet now and don't buy them!
post #18 of 28
So read this thread yesterday (led here by the newsletter). Then last night my 16 month old broke a CFL on our bed while I was rinsing her diapers. I don't know how long she was exposed. She wasn't cut or anything, but she was holding a piece of the broken bulb when I got back in the room.

It seriously sucked. Got all over the sheets and blankets. They say you have to throw the bedding away. It's over $100 worth of bedding and the only blanket we have.
post #19 of 28
I can't believe we will be FORCED to buy these cheaply made, China made, expensive, toxic lighting sources soon. Is it worth writing congresspeople on this and get them to change the law they passed on banning the USA made, environmentally safe incandescant light bulbs? A 16 mo holding a broken bulb laden with mercury is a scary picture....
post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mana Mamma View Post
I can't believe we will be FORCED to buy these cheaply made, China made, expensive, toxic lighting sources soon. Is it worth writing congresspeople on this and get them to change the law they passed on banning the USA made, environmentally safe incandescant light bulbs? A 16 mo holding a broken bulb laden with mercury is a scary picture....
What are you referring to? Is there a federal law banning incandescent lights? Can you link to more information?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Reuse & Recycle
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Reuse & Recycle › Compact fluorescents vs. regular lightbulbs