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Save $ on your electric bill

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by melbo, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member


    If you are ever thinking of going solar or wind, these would be a MUST.
    A few years ago when I first looked at these lights, They were around $15 each and the light quality was that 'sickly' light that I hate.

    I tried them again 3 weeks ago.

    I bought a few different brands to check them out. The cheaper, Lowes, no-name lights IMHO have the best and most incandescent-like light. I didn't care as much for the phillips or GEs brands. Phillips is the only one that I saw that made dimmables however.

    I replaced about 30 bulbs around my house. My wife wouldn't have even known if it weren't for the slight delay on the outdoor bulbs in this cold. Man, they have come a long way with these things. 3 ways and dimmables as well. (By 3-way, I mean the 50, 100, 150 watt type)

    I live in a pretty dark house and so we have lights on all the time. The 60Watt CF uses 12 watts of electricity and still puts out the equal to a 60 W regular bulb. I just wired in 8 sockets in my shop but first looked at the 4 and 8 foot fluorescents. They used 2 110 w bulbs. I have 8 "60w" CFs for 112 Watts! I would have used at least 400 watts of long tube lights to get the same light output and 480w in 60w incandescents.

    Here's the real test........ Got my Electricity bill today after only 2 weeks of billing on the new lights. $110 less than this time last year. Wasn't colder here then either.

    If you look around at Lowe's or HD, you can find 6 packs of 60w equivalents for $9. Buy them as E is not going to get cheaper anytime soon. Get them while you can.
  2. CRC

    CRC Survivor of Tidal Waves | RIP 7-24-2015 Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I started using them a couple of years ago....and you are right on target, melbo....

    They have come down in price, and gone up in quality...and I noticed the difference in my bill immediately!

    This house is dark , kind of....(compared to living in a condo on the beach, ok??)

    I need to go to Lowe's tomorrow!

    thanks for the gentle reminder....[applaud]
  3. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    I also switched over a few years ago - little by little because of the price. The light from the early ones was pretty meager. Yes, the bulb costs have gone down and the quality has gone up.
  4. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    We switched over to them a few months ago and right away, noticed the difference in the utility bills.
  5. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Hmmm. I'll have to give them another shot. We quit using them a while ago due to the poor quality of light.

    Thanks for bringing this up! Good to know that they're worth trying again!
  6. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    I was in a "Dollar General" the other day that was having a moving sale. They had these lights for a buck a piece. I bought every one they had. They're great. I started using them a couple years ago too.
  7. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    If you go to a big box store, buy 1 of each 3 brands and try them out. It's funny that we found the cheapies to be the most real light.

    Also, the 60w replacements are getting smaller too. THey are the size of the 15w replacements I bought a couple years ago.

    I'm well pleased![touchdown]
  8. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Moderator Moderator Founding Member

    We use these light everywhere except in ceiling fan lights. Never could get these light to last more than a couple months in a ceiling fan. I did notice last night there were some smaller ones now designed for ceiling fans, but since the CF that the lights were going in to have a dimmer attached those lights don't do much good.

  9. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    The next 'generation' is probably going to be LEDs.....right now they are also pricey, but as mass production comes on, it will drop and the quality of the light off them will improve. They will cut that misery 15-20watts about in 1/2 or 2/3 again. Just keeps getting better and better, huh ?
  10. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    I am switching to the flourescents too. I found two basic types - one is a blueish white that is too dim and murky, or too much glare if brighter. Then there is a 'yellowish' type I like better. I have two of each in my living room - balances out pretty well. The yellower type in the bedrooms and kitchen area. These aren't really suited as well for bathrooms, as the constant 'on-off' cycling wears them more quickly. They work best in the big rooms where they are left on more.
    It is making a positive difference in my E-bill. Now, I need to put my fridge and water heater back onto the programmable timers. Did that at my previous house, and it really cut my E-bill. Since I live alone, it's easier to do that - I'm a creature of habit. No need to heat water when I'm not using it for several hours! A good fridge only needs to run a few hours a day too, if it stays closed.
  11. ripsnort

    ripsnort Monkey+++

    If you really want to save on your electric bill and don't want to wait for LED technology to mature, replace your screw in light fixtures with the new high efficiency T8 florescent tube fixtures. T8s have electronic ballasts and are 1 inch in diameter as opposed to the old T12 florescents that are one and a quarter inches. The four foot T8s are 30 to 40 percent more efficient than compact florescent screw in bulbs. Most of us remember the hum, flicker and white light of the old T12s, but the T8s do not hum or flicker and come in a variety of colors including daylight.
  12. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Wow, 30-40% more efficient than CFs?
    At what cost?

    I suppose that once you get down to 12 w for 60w 'light', 30% isn't that much. And if you have to retrofit at a new tech cost....

    I just bought a 6 pack of CFs at HD for $9ish.
  13. ripsnort

    ripsnort Monkey+++

    Yeah, the problem is that you have to replace your light fixtures. T8 fixtures that hold two four foot bulbs cost from eight $s to over 100 $s, the low end being a cheap shop light and the high end being a fancy house fixture. T8 bulbs are three to four $s each. Two added benifits are that you don't need as many fixtures because they put out so many lumens and T8 bulbs last well over twice as long as CFs!
  14. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+ Founding Member

    My local electric utility was giving instant rebates two years ago that made the cost of the 60 watt CF $0.50 ea, no brainer I picked up 40, I had to go back 4 times because of a limit but it was worth it,
    I have picked up a few 100 watt CF's for areas I want more light.

    My house has 6 non-florescent lights, 4 are halogen yard lights the fridge and oven lights.
    Of course when the yard lights are all on it uses 1200 watts:sneaky:
  15. Rancher

    Rancher Specialist

    Ditto for my area last year. I bought fifty or so.......
  16. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I picked up two 6 packs. I wanted to try them out before replacing all of ours, but after a week of them I have to say I am happy with the light output. I will be going back this week to load up. I need to find an equivalent for the small ones in the chandelier.
  17. sheen_estevez

    sheen_estevez Monkey+++

    I have a few right now, I don't like the light output when I first turn them on, takes them a minute to come up to full output, but once they are they seem to work just fine.
  18. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    Here's the CCrane page with theirs for sale. Std incandescent replacement only uses 1.4 watts.... wow. But it is 15 bucks. One of you math wizzes oughta figure out payback time on that :)


    I haven't tried one myself yet.
  19. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I had to trial run a few different brands. Some of them were re a l s l o w to come up to full output. I found some that snap right on unless they are in a cold garage. Need to try some different ones even though they all seem to be made in China. Better ballasts?

    TnAndy has a few of those. The light output is still pretty weak on the LEDs but I do believe that will be the future of things. Now, if I were on all solar, I'd use those in a heartbeat and save about 8 watts a light.
  20. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    Junk Science: Light Bulb Lunacy

    Thursday , April 26, 2007
    By Steven Milloy

    <script type="text/javascript">get_a(300,250,"frame1");</script>

    How much money does it take to screw in a compact fluorescent lightbulb? About $4.28 for the bulb and labor — unless you break the bulb. Then you, like Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine, could be looking at a cost of about $2,004.28, which doesn’t include the costs of frayed nerves and risks to health.

    Sound crazy? Perhaps no more than the stampede to ban the incandescent light bulb in favor of compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) — a move already either adopted or being considered in California, Canada, the European Union and Australia.

    According to an April 12 article in The Ellsworth American, Bridges had the misfortune of breaking a CFL during installation in her daughter’s bedroom: It dropped and shattered on the carpeted floor.

    Aware that CFLs contain potentially hazardous substances, Bridges called her local Home Depot for advice. The store told her that the CFL contained mercury and that she should call the Poison Control hotline, which in turn directed her to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

    The DEP sent a specialist to Bridges’ house to test for mercury contamination. The specialist found mercury levels in the bedroom in excess of six times the state’s “safe” level for mercury contamination of 300 billionths of a gram per cubic meter.

    The DEP specialist recommended that Bridges call an environmental cleanup firm, which reportedly gave her a “low-ball” estimate of $2,000 to clean up the room. The room then was sealed off with plastic and Bridges began “gathering finances” to pay for the $2,000 cleaning. Reportedly, her insurance company wouldn’t cover the cleanup costs because mercury is a pollutant.

    Given that the replacement of incandescent bulbs with CFLs in the average U.S. household is touted as saving as much as $180 annually in energy costs — and assuming that Bridges doesn’t break any more CFLs — it will take her more than 11 years to recoup the cleanup costs in the form of energy savings.

    Even if you don’t go for the full-scale panic of the $2,000 cleanup, the do-it-yourself approach is still somewhat intense, if not downright alarming.

    Consider the procedure offered by the Maine DEP’s Web page entitled, “What if I accidentally break a fluorescent bulb in my home?”
    Don’t vacuum bulb debris because a standard vacuum will spread mercury-containing dust throughout the area and contaminate the vacuum. Ventilate the area and reduce the temperature. Wear protective equipment like goggles, coveralls and a dust mask.

    Collect the waste material into an airtight container. Pat the area with the sticky side of tape. Wipe with a damp cloth. Finally, check with local authorities to see where hazardous waste may be properly disposed.

    The only step the Maine DEP left off was the final one: Hope that you did a good enough cleanup so that you, your family and pets aren’t poisoned by any mercury inadvertently dispersed or missed.

    This, of course, assumes that people are even aware that breaking CFLs entails special cleanup procedures.

    The potentially hazardous CFL is being pushed by companies such as Wal-Mart, which wants to sell 100 million CFLs at five times the cost of incandescent bulbs during 2007, and, surprisingly, environmentalists.

    It’s quite odd that environmentalists have embraced the CFL, which cannot now and will not in the foreseeable future be made without mercury. Given that there are about 4 billion lightbulb sockets in American households, we’re looking at the possibility of creating billions of hazardous waste sites such as the Bridges’ bedroom.

    Usually, environmentalists want hazardous materials out of, not in, our homes.

    These are the same people who go berserk at the thought of mercury being emitted from power plants and the presence of mercury in seafood.

    Environmentalists have whipped up so much fear of mercury among the public that many local governments have even launched mercury thermometer exchange programs.

    As the activist group Environmental Defense urges us to buy CFLs, it defines mercury on a separate part of its Web site as a “highly toxic heavy metal that can cause brain damage and learning disabilities in fetuses and children” and as “one of the most poisonous forms of pollution.”

    Greenpeace also recommends CFLs while simultaneously bemoaning contamination caused by a mercury thermometer factory in India. But where are mercury-containing CFLs made? Not in the U.S., under strict environmental regulation. CFLs are made in India and China, where environmental standards are virtually non-existent.

    And let’s not forget about the regulatory nightmare known as the Superfund law, the EPA regulatory program best known for requiring expensive but often needless cleanup of toxic waste sites, along with endless litigation over such cleanups.

    We’ll eventually be disposing billions and billions of CFL mercury bombs. Much of the mercury from discarded and/or broken CFLs is bound to make its way into the environment and give rise to Superfund liability, which in the past has needlessly disrupted many lives, cost tens of billions of dollars and sent many businesses into bankruptcy.

    As each CFL contains 5 milligrams of mercury, at the Maine “safety” standard of 300 nanograms per cubic meter, it would take 16,667 cubic meters of soil to “safely” contain all the mercury in a single CFL. While CFL vendors and environmentalists tout the energy cost savings of CFLs, they conveniently omit the personal and societal costs of CFL disposal.

    Not only are CFLs much more expensive than incandescent bulbs and emit light that many regard as inferior to incandescent bulbs, they pose a nightmare if they break and require special disposal procedures. Should government (egged on by environmentalists and the Wal-Marts of the world) impose on us such higher costs, denial of lighting choice, disposal hassles and breakage risks in the name of saving a few dollars every year on the electric bill?

    Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and CSRWatch.com. He is a junk science expert, and advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
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