The Big Lie about CFL Light Bulbs and CFL News
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The Big Lie about CFL Light Bulbs and CFL News
Personally, I have never liked Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) for a variety of reasons and now I have another reason to dislike them: read this and you might agree with me after you read my article.
Compared to incandescent light bulbs they are fragile, they contain mercury, they cannot be installed in many types of lamp enclosures and they produce a sick color of light. Last December I attended a Christmas Eve Church service and unlike the year before when the Church was warm and inviting, someone installed CFL bulbs and everyone attending the service looked like the walking dead with ideal skin-tones for Halloween.
Two years ago I was very fortunate to have been at home when I heard what sounded like a mad hornet inside my house. I located the sound within a minute and it was a CFL bulb I had installed in an open (ventilated) ceiling fixture. Before I reached the light switch, it caught on fire!!! After that experience, I removed every CFL bulb inside my house and replaced them with old fashioned Edison incandescent light bulbs.
Here's some background on household electricity and how its consumption is measured:
In simple terms an incandescent light bulb consumes exactly what it claims to consume: a 100 watt bulb draws 100 watts of energy (Volts X Amps = Watts) based on it being a purely resistant load in a circuit. The filament in an incandescent light bulb is a resistor and a purely resistant load in an AC circuit does not change the phase angle or relationship of voltage and current flowing in the circuit. In this case, the amount of energy consumed is referred to as true power expressed in Watts. The electric meter on your home is called a Watt-hour Meter and it measures the number of true-power Watts consumed over time.
On the other hand, any load that presents either capacitance or inductance to an AC circuit, changes the phase relationship between Voltage and Current and the result cannot be measured by using the simple formula above.
Now let's introduce reality and add a concept or a term called Power Factor. Power Factor is determined by comparing what a load is apparently consuming to what the load is actually consuming and it is also expressed as an equation: True Power over Apparent Power. The result is referred to as Volt Amps, never as Watts or Wattage. The Watt-hour meter on your home was not designed to accurately report out-of-phase energy use and it underreports the actual amount of energy consumed.
THE BIG LIE
CFL light bulbs are advertised as if they are purely resistant to a circuit, but they are not! In fact, they consume almost two times the energy YOU have been told they consume!
The manufacturers of CFL bulbs are not required to list the Power Factor of their bulbs, but some manufacturers report 0.52 and additional research verifies this number. Do the math and a 15 Watt CFL bulb that apparently consumes 15 Watts of energy actually consumes 29 Volt Amps: nearly twice as much energy consumed as advertised!
The fact that many different devices including CFL bulbs consume far more actual power than apparent power has not been not ignored by the Power Companies. Just look at your electricity rates: your Watt-hour meter reports the power you are apparently using and they also add an additional percentage for energy your meter cannot report: energy used by devices where the Power Factor is an issue. The Power Companies must be certain all of their equipment including power lines and transformers are able to supply enough energy, regardless of what the apparent power demands on the grid are.
Back to physics: compared to Incandescent light bulbs, CFL bulbs generate comparatively little heat. The heat "you saved' was helping to heat your home: the byproduct from incandescent light bulbs isn't heat, the byproduct is light! So this Winter to make up for the missing heat, your furnace will run just a little more often or you will put more logs on the fire.
As I wrote above, the bulbs are fragile compared to Incandescent light bulbs. To protect fragile CFL bulbs containing mercury, they are sold in environmentally unfriendly plastic blister-packs whereas incandescent bulbs are sold in recycled paper or cardboard.
If you are an advocate of CFL light bulbs because you think you are helping to "save the planet" now you know you are about half as 'green' as you thought you were.
* Here are two links to a fascinating, comprehensive article comparing Incandescent, CFL and LED light bulbs. The second link further explains the Big Lie about CFL light bulbs.
Ban Incandescent Lamps? <---- About Edison, CFL and LED light bulbs
Ban Incandescent Lamps? <--- A deeper explanation of Power Factor (same article)
* Breaking CFL News from a General Electric Press Release, 10/20/2010:
GE Unveils Unique Hybrid Halogen-CFL Light Bulb Coming in 2011
"CLEVELAND--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Consumers searching for the latest hybrid can soon look beyond their local car dealership. Starting in 2011, GE Lighting brings hybrid technology to the lighting aisle in the form of a unique, new incandescent-shaped light bulb that combines the instant brightness of halogen technology with the energy efficiency and longer rated life of compact fluorescent (CFL) technology." ...
... "New lighting efficiency laws in the U.S. identify minimum light output levels for light bulbs based on energy use (wattage). A phase out of traditional light bulbs will begin in 2012 when 100-watt incandescent bulbs will no longer be produced, then 75-watt incandescent bulbs (2013), and finally 60-watt and 40-watt incandescent bulbs (2014). GE has consumers covered each step of the way with a variety of alternatives such as halogen, CFL and LED bulbs-available today-that already meet the new efficiency standards. Learn more at GELighting.com/2012." ...
GE introduces 'hybrid' bulb with both halogen and CFL elements, instant-on meets efficiency -- Engadget
I have used CFLs for years, and when I moved into my House I went 1 month with the old bulbs before switching to the CFLs. The change in my bill was quite dramatic, since at the time most of my power went toward lighting.
I am not bothered by the color as some people are, and the amount of mercury is trivial and continues to be be lessened as they improve. Funny, not many people complain about standard fluorescent lighting, and its essentially the same product in a different package - and their light tends towards a hideous green! (BTW, those tubes are packed in a cardboard sleeve, and at at Home Depot yesterday, I saw many CFLs were not blister packed!)
You can improve the light quality by selecting a color temp. that is more to your liking.
I do have other problems with CFLs:
1. undimmable (unless you buy the expensive ones)
2. won't fit in certain fixtures / applications
3. Claimed life spans are not always obtained. Some bulbs last, others don't make 1 year. (Stay away from "Bright Effects" brand!)
4. Packaging needs to inform better of the mercury, and there needs to be a system of disposing of them.
5 - and I think this may be - yours and mine- our biggest objection: Having Governments ram it down our throats!
6, try running an "Easy Bake Oven" with a CFL!!!
7. RF interference.
As for LED lighting, Sorry, but I've tried a few, and they're not ready for prime time. They are GREAT night lights though! I tried a few, and their biggest drawbacks are:
2. color temp. - I find their color to push the blue end of the spectrum too much, and we've all grown accustomed to the yellow tint of our tungsten bulbs. Same reason people don't like CFL lights, also. One of the original complaints against mercury lights was they tended to make people look like "bloodless corpses" because of the lack of light from the red end of the spectrum. Phosphor coatings on modern lamps help correct this. I have gripes with mercury vapor outdoor lighting myself, being an amateur astronomer. I call those screaming bright mercury dusk till dawn yard lamps IN-security lights.
3. "equals the light of a 60 watt bulb". NOT! Both CFL and LED lights push the envelope on this, but LED lights more so. There is NO WAY either light will produce the LUMENS equal to their claimed wattage equivalent. It seems to be a free for all, with manufactures making outright lies... false advertising seems to be the rule.
4. Did I mention, COST??
5. LEDs tend to be very directional, instead of spreading their light around 360 degrees.
6. They can't be dimmed, either.
7. They also don't fit all sockets/ situations.
8. Damn, they're expensive!
I work with LEDs all day, making electronic signs with thousands of LEDS in each. 500,000 LEDS all lit up put out a hell of a lot of light, and being R-G-B in each pixel, they can be adjusted for any color. Really they have awesome potential. But right now, it takes too many of them to make a replacement for tungsten or CFL. They're just not a suitable replacement for tungsten or CFL, yet.
So, for now, we don't have many choices. I use CFL wherever I can - Tungsten bulbs are in dimmable fixtures, and in applications where CFL just doesn't work. LEDs, for now, are confined to night lights, emergency power lighting, and those few really hard to reach bulbs where LEDs long life really comes into play.
BTW, Tungsten filaments have been around a long time. Edison, in fact, tried tungsten, but it was difficult to work with using the technology of that period. The longest burning bulb is the centennial bulb, with a carbon - fiber filament like Edison's. 109 years old:
Livermore's Centennial Light
We just had a standard fluorescent bulb start a fire in the coke machine last night at work. They broke the glass to put out the fire. Hot beverages anyone?
I have used CFL bulbs, & they vary in lighting & longevity. One I have in my floor lamp has so far lasted 5 years. It claims to last 7 years based on 4 hours of use a day. It also has plenty of airholes in the plastic casing, which allows most heat generated to escape. A couple of CFL bulbs that look almost like traditional incadescent bulbs (mainly to fit into light fixtures that only incadescent bulbs fit in) are ones I don't recommend. One bulb that my mom put into the range hood kept giving off an odor that made it smell like something was burning. My mom claimed to not smell anything, & she refuses to shut off the light on the range hood. I only found out it was the bulb when she was gone, & I smelled it again & again, & I noticed it around the bulb. When I turned off the light, I grabbed a towel & removed the bulb. The towel got hot, & the plastic was as hot as most incadescent bulb. The bulb was rated as a 25watt equivalent, but was hotter than the bulb in my floor lamp that is rated as a 40 watt equivalent. The range hood is back to using an incadescent bulb.
I will still use CFL bulbs, but will look at bulbs that have vetilation slots that allows any heat generated to escape. CFL's do generate some heat. That means no bulbs that look like an incadescent bulb. I'd rather have the spiral or stick type, that has some ventilation slots near the top (I have seen a few in stores). At least for me, it has helped save me some money on my electric bill. As for color of the light, always look for daylight or warm white. That's as close as you'll get to incadescent lighting. Cool White looks horrible, as it can be hard on the eyes, and actually gives off a bluish tint.
I have looked into LED, and I know the Sylvania bulbs that Menards sells aren't ready for primetime. One bulb that looks like an incadescent bulb looks normall off, but on, it gives off little light, & looks blue. The ones that go into flood lights & track lights vary in color of light, & how bright they get. To MrPogi: there are dimmable LED bulbs available, but they're difficult to find (like dimmable CFL bulbs). I have seen a few dimmable bulbs at certain Home Depot & Lowes stores. I however haven't seen them at Sams Club, Walmart, or Menards. My local Meijer & Kmart stores don't sell LED bulbs at all except for night lights, while Menards only sells the non-dimmable ones. Also, not all LED bulbs use less electricity either. Some LED bulbs I saw at my local Lowes (forgot brand) actually uses more electricity than the CFL bulbs.
Well, Well, Well, Now maybe we can use any type of light bulb we like now that the Democrats got an ass kicking in the elections. The work is not done though, now its time to hold the Republicans to their (lies), ooh I guess that should have been promises !! Only time will tell, and it would be interesting to see how the political tides turn here on this Non Political forum. POWER TO THE SHEEPLE !!!
Mr. Pogi, I did not realize that you were a lighting expert, but you know more about a simple product that gets taken for granted every time a switch is flipped than anyone I know. Thanks for the insight, and if we throw away enough CFL'S without a recycling program, none of us or our children will have to worry about lighting, as we may not live long enough to need light ..LOL!
My favorite lighting device is (are) my 2 Aladdin kerosene mantle lamps. they put out an HONEST 60 watt equiv., and throw off about 2500 BTUs as a bonus. Great for winter emergencies. Unfortunatly, the price of simple kero (k-1 grade) has skyrocketed since the government has required dying of keresene. K-1 is now more expensive than diesel, which is basically the same thing with dye added. And you can't burn dyed kero in a lamp or heater, it fries the wicks and mantles.
Power factor is actually not real consumption of power. It's just apparent consumption power. So the wires may carry more current but it's not actually being consumed. It just oscillates back and forth between the grid and your house where it may be consumed somewhere else, such as another CFL, an incandescent, or even your DTV converter box. The power grid also has power factor correction capacitors that take care of the power factor problem.
Power factor has been a problem for years actually, with motors being the main reason why the utilities have power factor correction. Computer power supplies have a power factor of about 0.75, whereas CFLs have a power factor of around 0.5. Computer power supplies have been especially problematic since they generate other crap such as harmonics. Most modern supplies have power factor correction built into them though.
It's just the reality of AC distribution. Edison must be laughing in his grave right now.
I personally have a few incandescents around for dimmers but CFLs have replaced everything else. But hey if you like the glow of an incandescent, by all means, enjoy.
Extra class certified antenna NUT
Not to mention... they are WAY expensive, like dimmable CFL bulbs!
Originally Posted by dave73
Speaking of dimmers, you do realize that with a dimmer in circuit you get around the same power factor as a CFL, right?
Extra class certified antenna NUT
Even taking power factor in to consideration, CFL's use way less power than incandescents. If the color of CFL light is a problem you are either buying the wrong color CFLs or obsessive about light color. Some CFL's do have unnatural colored light. Don't buy those. Pay attention to the color temperature printed on the package.
My problem with CFL's is, I have never seen a edison based regular screw in CFL that's rated for enclosed fixtures. For that reason I don't think were ready to replace all incandescents with CFLs.
I try to use fluorescent lamps where ever I can in fixtures that are on a lot. I don't like the light from LED's, yet, and they are to damned expensive. My choice of light bulbs is not a political statement.
I don't like the mercury factor, which I actually just only realized a few months ago. I don't like that aspect at all. I want to go with LEDs but they are so super expensive. Then there is this conflict over to get warm white or cool white. I just want light for my work space. I need light. I have bad eyes. Which would you get?
I only have 3 actually. I don't use a lot of lamp lighting and such anymore. I am debating getting an LED for my major lighting, but it's expensive. I have to figure out this warm white versus cool white thing, especially because of the pricing.
I have replaced night lights with LED lights, and I've put 3 small 2 watt candelabra lights in a fixture that is on all the time - but I bought those on clearance for $3 each. The night lights are okay, I got them in a 5 pack from Walmart. The candelabras are good for their location - they aren't very bright, but for 6 watts total, not bad. I bought a higher wattage LED bulb on sale for $12+ and it died within 24 hours, I returned it.
Originally Posted by Fringe Reception
My opinion? Small LED lights, bought on sale, are good deal. Bigger, brighter lights? No, not yet.
Keep in mind, I build HUGE LED signs for a living. LEDs are good, but not yet ready for prime time for general lighting.
(old thread revival)
We have lower priced LEDs here now. The Philips A19 bulbs are on sale at Home Depot for $14.99. They have plenty of stock.
Not sure if it's a special by Home Depot or the regular state subsidy for energy efficient bulbs.
It may seem expensive, but they claim the bulbs last 23 years.
Extra class certified antenna NUT
Almost $10 cheaper than Amazon. Thanks! They have to be subsidized. Do you remember seeing if they had a limit on how many you could buy?
Originally Posted by n2rj
I have round circline 9" 4 prong lights in my ceiling fans that are on a ton. I've been contemplating getting LED. Amazon has one but it's like $54. It's supposed to last 50,000 hours at least. I just haven't been able to buy it yet. One thing is that there is this whole cool white versus warm white thing and I am afraid of getting the wrong one. I need lots of light, but I just don't know which one is right.