Energy Saving/Long Life Light Bulbs?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chuck C, Nov 15, 2002.

  1. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    I keep seeing these expensive light bulbs that are guaranteed to last for 5-10 years. Some also require less wattage than respective traditional light bulbs. For example, GE has this spiral light bulb that lasts as long as 8 conventional bulbs and only requires 17-27 watts. Are these type of light bulbs worth buying for the sake of saving money on electric bills? Do they produce a nice incadescent glow even though they are flourescent?
     
  2. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    I use quite a few of these in my home. I'm a bit of an efficiency aficionado (say that ten times[​IMG] ), so I've been using, and seeking these out for years.
    They work as advertised. The power consumption, for a given amount of light, is about 70% less than a typical incandescant. They don't throw off hardly any heat, either. I use them in all my "high usage" areas- lights that are on for several hours/day. Low usage areas- closets, hall lights- aren't worth it (unless lamping the whole place, and you currently have no bulbs). The color of most tends to be a bit cooler (whiter/bluer) than the red/yellow of incandescants, but the newer ones are much closer. I've come to prefer the whiter light, as it is much more useful for task-oriented stuff. Not for mood lighting, though. You can get them to tend toward yellow more, by putting them behind a cream colored lampshade.
    The vast majority of them can't be dimmed. Also, if you live in an area of frequent brown-outs (power sags, where the lights dim significantly, but stay on), then I'd recommend against them. I've had two nearly new ones blow in brown-outs (mind you, they were replaced free under warranty, so no cost to me, other than going back to the store).
    I'd say they help slightly on the bill, but probably only about $2/month or so. Over the life of the bulb, it adds up, such that the cost of the bulb is more than covered by the savings over incandescants. Lighting typically isn't the significant part of your electric bill (unless you leave your 10 200W spots on 24/7). Heating/Cooling, Hot Water, and refrigeration are the big three (unless you leave amps on 24/7- then that moves up the list). It's sort of like trying to lower your gas bill, by overinflating the tires on your Excursion. Duh- you bought the wrong kind of vehicle, if that's your concern.
    However, they are a part of my plan, to see if I can run a modest household on
     
  3. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    Todd, thanks for the excellent write-up.
     
  4. Kevin Farley

    Kevin Farley Second Unit

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    We're addicted to the chromalux swedish correct spectrum incandescent bulbs. If you live where there's lots o'winter like we do (Iowa) it makes a huge difference fighting SAD. They're like 8 bucks apiece but we feel they're well worth it.
    Personally, I don't like flourescent lights. From an engineering perspective, they flash on and off at 60 cps, and use up brain "resources", and make you feel lousy. If you can, replace them at work with a good halogen and see how much better you feel. When they experimented with replacing them in an office, the productivity soared with halogen/incandescent vs. flourescent.
    I wonder if you could have those home screw in flourescents light 2 tubes at once, then the other 2; if you could get a constant, non-flickering glow, it might be ok. They just bug me though. YMMV.
     
  5. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    now what's the story with halogen bulbs being unsafe and a fire hazard? I thought they were outlawed, but I see them sold everywhere.
     
  6. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    I go through light bulbs like Moe Green goes through eyewear so I'm looking into replacing all my lights with flourescents. The energy-saving factor isn't even part of the equation. It's that I will not have to replace my bulbs as often. That's where the cost savings is.
     
  7. DavidMich

    DavidMich Stunt Coordinator

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    Maybe.....you have to remember that those compact fluorescent bulbs are expensive.
    Try about $8-$20. EACH!!

    Now, you can get a regular bulb, incandescent, that is, which is about 25 cents. These are usually 120V, and last about 1100 hours....if you're very lucky, and you use them in a "base-down" configuration. I'll let you compute how many you can get for the same money as above.

    What I do is use 130V (not 120V) bulbs. they cost about the same as the 120v, around 27 cents each....but they are rated at 12,000 hours. Now see how that adds up.
    (You can usually get these type of bulbs at lighting stores) Don't let them try to sell you "traffic signal" bulbs which, although they are supposed to last 30,000 hours, cost as much as $3.00 each.
    Just food for thought.....
     
  8. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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  9. Steve Russell

    Steve Russell Stunt Coordinator

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    Home depot has a 4-pack of the small mini flourescent bulbs for something like 13.97. They seem to help with the electric bill. I put them throughout my house(wherever they would fit) and last month my electric usage was only 899 KWh, and that is with a monstrous electric water heater(soon to be replaced with gas) in a 3br, 1.5 bath, 2 story house. I didn't think it was too shabby.
     
  10. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    FYI - most modern compact fluorescent bulbs have high-frequency electronic ballasts that eliminate the 60hz flicker you get with normal fluorescents.

    The downside is, I've heard they can interfere with infrared remote controls, so your mileage may vary if you use them in your home theaters. But then most of us have dimmers in our HTs anyway so it's a moot point unless you use dimmable fluorescents.

    KJP
     
  11. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    I'm waiting for the cost of LED bulbs to come down. They last 100,000 hours, they use about 1/60th of the energy of a standard bulb, and they generate no UV.. which means NO BUGS.
    I was thinking of getting one for my porch light at least.. I live in the heart of "bug central".
     
  12. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    There are a bunch of new LED headlights (Petzl, Black Diamond, etc) that are pretty good. I have a little Tikka that I use hiking, biking, and when working on my car. It's very handy when you need the third hand for things. They have larger LED-based flashlights and langern sized things too.

    Make sure you can use the bulbs too, I've seen those spiral bulbs and if you have an old lampshade that basically straddles the bulb, I wonder if they would work on the spiral bulbs..

    Jay
     
  13. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    The aforementioned "mini-spirals" will fit anywhere that a normal sized incandescant will.
     
  14. Greg Rowe

    Greg Rowe Stunt Coordinator

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    One thing that I don't like is that some of the "spiral" bulbs take a little time to warm up. When you turn on a light they are very dim at first, and then brighten. Most of the bulbs I have DON'T suffer from this warm up problem, but some do.

    I have a bunch of the efficient bulbs because I am an efficiency nut. I replaced all the "high traffic" areas first, and whenever a bulb blows I buy an efficient bulb to replace it.

    As far as the warranties on the bulbs go, do you have to save receipts for your bulbs?

    Greg
     
  15. Greg Rowe

    Greg Rowe Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh, one more thing to add. This weekend I bought a "spiral" bulb that...well... isn't spiral! They now sell efficient bulbs with a round case over the spiral. This is perfect for hanging light fixtures with exposed bulbs.

    Greg
     

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