A couple of years ago a regional supermarket chain in conjunction with our local electric utility offered consumers in our area the opportunity to purchase an unlimited quantity of CFL's for just $1.00 each. When you stop to consider that these bulbs generally retail for $6 or $7 each it seemed like a no brainer. I grabbed around a dozen and a half bulbs and proceeded to replace just about every light bulb in the house. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the light being emitted from these new bulbs. And while the savings on my electric bill might not have been quite as substantial as I was led to believe it would appear that the new CFL bulbs did in fact save me money every month. When you add to all of this the fact that CFL's are supposed to last for something like 5-7 years I certainly considered myself a happy camper. Had I rated this product after the first few months of usage I would have given them a +5 without hesitation.
But in the ensuing eighteen months I have read a number of articles that make me a bit concerned about this technology. It turns out that there is a small amount of mercury in this product that makes it absolutely essential that they be disposed of properly. I heard recently that Home Depot now accepts burnt out CFL's at their stores and will dispose of them properly. Never ever toss one of these into your trash. The other problem I have is a quality issue. In just the first year about 20% of my bulbs failed. That's a pretty high defective rate in my view. If these were an inexpensive generic brand I would not be as concerned but the bulbs that I purchased were a major brand name. From what I have been reading these bulbs are much more fickle than traditional light bulbs.
So for me after a couple of years the jury is still out on CFL's. I have certainly not given up on them and hopefully new technological breakthroughs will solve some of these problems. At this time I am prepared to give them a rating of +3. I would also be very interested in hearing feedback from other Lunch members on CFL's. What has your experience been?
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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The compact fluorescent light bulb revolution nearly occurred back in the early 1990s. When CFLs first hit the market in force, consumers bought them in large numbers — but they hated them. The bulbs were too big for many fixtures, expensive (up to $25 each) and they threw a dim, antiseptic light that paled next to the warmth of good old-fashioned incandescent bulbs.
Now, a new CFL revolution is at hand. Retail giants are pushing hard for the bulbs — Wal-Mart hopes to sell 100 million CFLs by the end of the year. In California, a legislator recently proposed banning the sale of incandescent light bulbs in the state by 2012. All the old benefits of CFLs are still significant — more so, in fact. They can use less than one-third the electricity of incandescent bulbs of equivalent brightness and last up to nine years. The new bulbs are smaller and far cheaper (about $5 each) than their predecessors, and more powerful than ever. Top-end 24-watt bulbs promise brightness equivalent to that of a 150-watt incandescent.
Still, when it comes to illuminating your home, brightness isn't everything. Can CFLs match the light quality of the energy-wasting incandescents we know and love?
Popular Mechanics designed a test pitting seven common CFLs against a 75-watt incandescent bulb. To gather objective data, we used a Konica Minolta CL-200 chroma meter to measure color temperature and brightness, and a Watts up? Pro ammeter to track power consumption. Our subjective ...