Courtesy of our elected representatives, incandescent lightbulbs will soon be banned and we will all have to use compact fluorescent bulbs – “CFLs”. You’ll love them. Here are some tips from the New York Times on adjusting to this inferior product.
¶Be aware that compact fluorescents can take one to three minutes to reach full brightness. This is not a defect. [No, it’s a feature!]
¶The place where people are most likely to use compact fluorescents, closets, may be a poor choice. Experts at Energy Star warn that frequently turning the bulbs on and off shortens their lives, and recommend using them in fixtures “that are used at least 15 minutes at a time or several hours per day.” [So what will you use to illuminate your closets? Congress didn’t think of that – try a candle]
¶The bulbs do not do well in hot places with little airflow, like recessed ceiling fixtures. They are ideal for table lamps. [Can you stick a candle upside down in a ceiling light?]
¶Not all compact fluorescents work with dimmers or three-way sockets. Read labels. [Who needs a dimmer anyway? You want mood lighting, grab that candle in the closet.]
¶Learning about “color temperature,” which is printed on the label of high-quality bulbs, can help consumers avoid disappointment with the color of the light. The warmest-looking bulbs generally have a color temperature less than 3,000 kelvins, with the harshest bulbs usually above 5,000. [Borrow your wife’s makeup kit – a little practice and you’ll lose that Morticia Adams look.]
¶Compact fluorescents contain mercury and should not be disposed of in the trash. Many chains, like Home Depot, offer recycling bins for the bulbs.
¶If you break a bulb, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends precautions to avoid mercury exposure: Clear people and pets from the room and open a window for at least 15 minutes if possible. Avoid vacuuming. Scoop up larger pieces with stiff paper or cardboard, pick up smaller residue with sticky tape, and wipe the area with a damp cloth. Put everything into a sealed plastic bag or sealed glass jar. In most cases, this can be put in the trash, but the E.P.A. recommends checking local rules.[While the Haz-mat team is at your house, perhaps you can persuade them to remove those mercury thermometers, too.]
Sure this all sounds crazy, and expensive, but if it saves the life of one polar bear ….