That’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into

That’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.
Oliver Hardy

An article the other day announced the end of incandescent light bulb manufacture in the United States. According to the article:

What made the plant here vulnerable is, in part, a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014. The law will force millions of American households to switch to more efficient bulbs.

Now, all the light bulbs one places in the home will come from China. That is sad on several fronts.

First, it is the end of an era beginning with Thomas Alva Edison’s improved filament design in 1879. Second, there are now more former workers in the unemployment ranks, at least partly because of government tampering (see above quote). Third, the United States’ self-sufficiency is further degraded while enriching the Chinese economy. Fourth, there will be an increase in cost because of longer distance shipping and distribution. Fifth, the production of any incandescent bulbs may be phased out within the next ten years , in favor of compact fluorescent lights CFLs. And last, because CFLs suck.

That may sound a little harsh, but let me explain. So far, my experience encompasses only two CFL light bulbs. I have had my problems with them and do not like them (if I can avoid it, I will never buy another), but fearing my experience is not typical, I did a small Google search. Complaints about the CFL’s are rampant on the internet. Here are the major problems starting with the purchase.

1)         CFLs cost more than their equivalent incandescent bulbs.

2)         CFLs will not fit in many fixtures, requiring the purchase of new fixtures.

3)         The twisty design of the bulb makes it easy to break when installing it in a resistant socket.

4)         The bulb contains mercury, which is toxic to the touch and gives off toxic fumes when broken (keep children and pets far away, open windows and vent for fifteen minutes before attempting clean up—never use a vacuum cleaner, it spreads the fumes). If the glass causes a cut, the mercury toxicity issue is complicated by the phosphor-coated glass, which can cause healing issues. Immediate medical help is needed for any cuts, and medical personnel must be informed that a fluorescent lamp caused the injury and mercury is present. The broken glass must be disposed of as a hazardous material, not placed in the trash where it would go to a landfill and pollute ground water.

5)         New CFL bulbs often do not work or die within hours.

6)         Once in use, there is a warm-up period, up to a minute each time it is turned on, before it achieves its best illumination.

7)         In a relatively short period of time, as short as a week, it becomes noticeable dimmer. This dimming increases during the life of the bulb.

8)         Life of the bulb is greatest, actually nearing advertised life, when the bulb is left on continuously, but leaving it on when not needed negates any energy savings.

9)         When used in normal household off and on conditions, the life if the bulb is a fraction of what is advertised.

10)       When used in rarely lit areas (closet, basement, etc.) its life is extremely limited.

11)       When used outside in low temperatures, it is worthless.

12)       Normal CFLs cannot be used with a dimmer switch. Those, which do work with dimmer switches, are very expensive and short-lived.

13)       CFLs produce a glare and have a flicker rate of 50 per second. This is not normally noticeable; however, there is an impact from the flicker. Complaints of headaches, eye strain, general eye discomfort are common, and there are reports of interference with learning and the ability to concentrate.

14)       CFLs can be dangerous around machines moving at 50 revolutions per second (the same as the flicker rate). The machines appear to be stationary.

15)       The intensity and color of the light does not lend itself to reading. It is especially pronounced with the aging eyes of senior citizens.

16)       When the bulb does need replacement, it must be treated as a hazardous material for disposal (see #2 above).

There we have it. Another demonstration of collateral damage from bill designed to protect the world from CO2. It’s another fine mess they’ve gotten us into.

Published in: on September 10, 2010 at 5:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

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