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Incandescent Bulbs Still Needed

September 21, 2010

Starting in 2012, the incandescent light bulbs we’ve used and loved for over a century will be phased out by law in favor of the more energy-efficient CFL and LED devices. I have replaced nearly all my indoor incandescents with CFLs already and I like them. I haven’t tried any LEDs, mainly because they are prohibitively expensive. Most traffic lights have already been changed over to LEDs and they work fine. I do have a problem with outlawing the incandescents however, because there are places where CFLs don’t do the job.

You can’t use a CFL in your oven because the heat will destroy the electronic components built into their bases. You can’t use them with dimmer switches, touch lamps, or in certain ornamental situations.

I haven’t tried a CFL in my freezer, but I hear they don’t work well in cold temperatures. This would be a problem in outdoor light fixtures in the wintertime too. If you can no longer buy the 150-watt PAR38 spots and floods for outdoors, replacing them with the LED equivalent can cost you $70 per bulb.

Incandescents are better for places that need light occasionally and for short periods of time, like closets. You can be in and out of a closet before the CFL “warms up” and this doesn’t save any energy. Some lampshades clip onto the traditional bulb but not onto a CFL.

Most importantly, sometimes you want the heat that an incandescent produces. I use a 75-watt incandescent bulb in my well house in the winter to keep my well-head from freezing. The small amount of heat given off by a CFL won’t do the trick. There’s a theory that replacing all your indoor bulbs with the low-heat CFLs causes your furnace to work harder to keep your house warm so the trade-off doesn’t save any energy or money. The aforementioned LED traffic lights no longer have the heat that used to melt the snow and ice that builds up on them.

In summary, people seem to be overwhelmingly embracing the switch-over to CFLs without legal intervention, so there’s no need to outlaw the incandescents which still have their place. I was sad to hear that the last light bulb factory in America shut down this week. That signaled the end to an era.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 21, 2010 1:12 PM

    Fabulous graphic!!!!!!!!!!

    I for one like the old lightbulbs much better! We should be allowed a choice!

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