Tag Archives: CFLs

LEDs – the next battle in house wars?

The art of darkness

The art of darkness

I mentioned this before, but as incandescent bulbs disappear and are replaced by $20 LEDs, I’d think that who gets the pricey new bulbs  – seller or owner – will become an issue in contract negotiations. A large house might have 200 or so bulbs, and at $20 a pop, that’s a substantial amount of money. Sellers have been known to take 20¢ rolls of toilet paper with them when they go; how much more likely that they’ll be tempted to keep $4,000 worth of illumination?

Just asking.


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Unintended (?) consequences

Boids - dirty, stinkin' voids! Denise Savageu let's loose

Boids – doity, stinkin’ boids!
Denise Savageau lets fly

Ban on incandescent bulbs leaves fledglings and injured birds shivering in the dark.

Ottawa’s Wild Bird Care Centre has put the call out for incandescent light bulbs, which it uses to provide warmth for injured and recovering birds, after the federal government banned manufacturers from making the bulbs.

In Canada, the more energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs are considered the norm. The incandescent light bulbs use more power, but they are also warmer and serve an important role inside incubators.

[The center’s spokesman] said they were caught off-guard by the bulb ban and they are already running short on incandescent bulbs. Now they are asking people to donate 100-watt bulbs.

“(We will take) as many as possible. If people have them hanging around we will take them or if they want to buy them for us it would be much appreciated,” said Goguen.

Donations can be dropped off at the centre, which is located on Moodie Drive in the city’s west end.

Perhaps Greenwich should set up its own donation boxes – we switched our traffic lights over from incandescents a couple of years ago and I’ve noticed that during snowstorms now the lights are hidden: no warmth from the bulbs to melt the snow. “If it costs the life of just one bird or child then we’re satisfied”, Greenwich Conservation Tsar Denise Savageau told FWIW “I hate them all.”


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Fire at will, Gridley

Bombs away!

I’m still a lawyer, goddammit, and I can figure out free speech issues as necessary. If Amazon can ship CFL light bulbs to consumers, then surely we constituents can send a few to our representatives in Washington. So let’s do it! I’m sending along this post to some of my more influential friends on the Internet, like Walter Olson at Cato Institute and of course the peerfesser at Instapundit, but any of you folks with Facebook pages who want to join in, please do so. I ask again – what will Washington do with a million “toxic” light bulbs? they’ll have to evacuate the city! Such fun.

If we can make this a national movement, there’s no need to dig up our individual Senator’s address. Just send a bulb or two to the Hart Building.  They may have to forward the packages to the reps at their Montana summer retreats but my guess is that everyone will run screaming from the building, leaving the light bulbs to await for the senators’ return this fall. Go for it.

UPDATE: Cool! Instapudit has mentioned this Alice’s Restaurant movement. So dig up your damned CFLs (a failed one would be most appropriate but I toss mine, mercury and all, into the trash so I’ll have to send a working model) and mail away. I’m going to ask at the post office, discretely, whether they have a hazmat sticker I can affix. Wouldn’t that cause some consternation at the Hart Building?


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Send a CFL to your senator?

The House has voted to extend the life of the incandescent bulb for a year, but I read that the bill is dead in the Senate. A year or so ago I suggested that we all mail a CFL bulb to our Congressmen but then I worried that, under EPA regulations, I’d be exposing readers to charges of terrorism and sending hazardous materials through the mail. Any of you real lawyers care to hazard (so to speak) an opinion here? Can we flood Washington with these useless light bulbs? It sure would be fun.

UPDATE: A million CFLs delivered to Washington would, under EPA guidelines on hazmat materials, paralyze the city – a great result, obviously, but I don’t want anyone arrested by the feds so hold off on this, for now – I’m seeking legal advice.

UPDATE II: I’m not hearing back from the guy I emailed. So Monday, I think I’ll mail off a CFL, clearly labelled and padded, to our junior Senator Dick  Blumenthal and see what happens. Hell, it’s looking like a dull summer, so why not cool my heels in New Haven federal court?  If they let me blog from the court house (or holding pen), it could be interesting.


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I keep saying, this is when the revolution will start

The incandescent bulb is dead. I’ve been predicting this revolution for at least three years (search this blog for “CFLs”) but I’m telling you, when the average American discovers that he can no longer buy a light bulb that works, he’s going to discover exactly how far his government has intruded into his life and will go apeshit. The 15% ethanol requirement that ruins his lawnmower’s engine will just be icing on the cake.


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Tea bag sent as protest to Congressman paralyzes office in fear

The revolt of the tax payers. Imagine the havoc if we sent them all CFLs!

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Congress – it brings bad things to light

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 ….

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Domes leak; CFL’s suck

The observation about domes was Stewart Brand’s (“The Whole Earth Catalogue”) summation of the failed “back-to-nature” movement by the late 60’s hippies. The conclusion about compact fluorescent bulbs is reported today by The New York Times.

SAN FRANCISCO — It sounds like such a simple thing to do: buy some new light bulbs, screw them in, save the planet.

But a lot of people these days are finding the new compact fluorescent bulbs anything but simple. Consumers who are trying them say they sometimes fail to work, or wear out early. At best, people discover that using the bulbs requires learning a long list of dos and don’ts.

Take the case of Karen Zuercher and her husband, in San Francisco. Inspired by watching the movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” they decided to swap out nearly every incandescent bulb in their home for energy-saving compact fluorescents. Instead of having a satisfying green moment, however, they wound up coping with a mess.

“Here’s my sad collection of bulbs that didn’t work,” Ms. Zuercher said the other day as she pulled a cardboard box containing defunct bulbs from her laundry shelf.

One of the 16 Feit Electric bulbs the Zuerchers bought at Costco did not work at all, they said, and three others died within hours. The bulbs were supposed to burn for 10,000 hours, meaning they should have lasted for years in normal use. “It’s irritating,” Ms. Zuercher said.

Irritation seems to be rising as more consumers try compact fluorescent bulbs, which now occupy 11 percent of the nation’s eligible sockets, with 330 million bulbs sold every year. Consumers are posting vociferous complaints on the Internet after trying the bulbs and finding them lacking.

Experts say the quality problems are compounded by poor package instructions. Using the bulbs incorrectly, like screwing low-end bulbs into fixtures where heat is prone to build up, can greatly shorten their lives. [like your recessed lighting and overheads – ed]

Some experts who study the issue blame the government for the quality problems, saying an intensive federal push to lower the price essentially backfired by encouraging manufacturers to use cheap components.

“In the pursuit of the holy grail, we stepped on the consumer,” said Michael Siminovitch, director of a lighting center at the University of California, Davis.

Compact fluorescents once cost as much as $30 apiece. Now they go for as little as $1 — still more than regular bulbs, but each compact fluorescent is supposed to last 10 times longer, save as much as $5.40 a bulb each year in electricity, and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from burning coal in power plants.

Consumers are supposed to be able to protect themselves by buying bulbs certified under the government’s Energy Star program. But experts and some environmental groups complain that Energy Star standards are weak, permitting low-quality bulbs with too high a level of mercury, a toxic metal contained in all compact fluorescents.

“The standard essentially establishes a floor, which sorts out the junk, with the expectation that the rest is good,” Mr. Siminovitch said. “It’s not.”

The government, which will begin enforcing tighter specifications this year, [Congress has banned incandescent light bulbs, beginning in 2010 – ed] says it must seek a balance between quality and affordability to achieve its goal of getting millions of additional consumers to install the bulbs.

“Something that is perfect but not affordable wouldn’t serve the broad interests,” said Peter Banwell, the Energy Department’s manager of product marketing for Energy Star.

Here’s a hint for the idiot politicians who have banned them: there is already a product that is perfect and affordable and has worked successfully for over 100 years – it’s the incandescent bulbs. Voters may not revolt over paying high taxes, although I hope they will. When they have to deal with these Congressionally mandated bulbs, find that they’re junk and then discover that they can no longer buy incandescents, we may finally see the anger at Washington I’ve been dreaming of for years.

UPDATE: Don’t forget “Celebrate Civilization Hour” tonight at 8:30 PM! Turn on all your incandescent bulbs!



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Do people at the LA Times read this blog?

Of course not. So that liberal bastion out west must have figured out all by itself what a horrible, idiotic device we’ve created in the compact fluorescent bulb. You do realize, don’t you, that Congress has mandated the exclusive use of these things by 2014? This is exactly what happens when politicians run around and look for symbolic laws they can enact to make it look as though they’re addressing a problem. Bad move.

The best part? The damn things are only made in China – that’s right, the same wonderful people who have poisoned our food, smeared lead all over our children’s clothes and toys and even, God knows how, shipped us toxic drywall for our houses will now be supplying the entire country with mercury-leaking glass torpedoes. But I’m sure they’ll be as careful in the maufacturing of these bulbs as Congress was in demanding their use. So that’s a relief.


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