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View Full Version : Why Is It Always CF This And CF That?



Paul Alciatore
12-12-2009, 01:10 PM
OK, I know that the CF bulbs are the current thing, but why are they considered to be the ONLY current energy saving choice? And they are constantly compared to incandescent bulbs and to LED bulbs. And we constantly discuss and hear about the problems with these three. Incandescants are energy wasters, CFs are expensive and problematic, and LEDs are expensive and have harsh light. But there is another, readily available, and time-tested alternative. It is called the standard fluorescent bulb. You know, the tubular ones. And if being naturally more efficient than incandescent bulbs in the first place wasn’t enough, they have gone and designed versions that are two to four times more efficient than even the standard fluorescents. And they are very reliable/economic to replace and come in a variety of color temperatures to suit any taste.

My house has a number of fluorescent fixtures and I would only consider this type of fixture as a replacement. Changing a fixture is an easy job: a do it your self job that the average homeowner could easily do with some simple instructions. In my trailer shop I removed all the original fixtures and added standard, four-foot fluorescent fixtures. Great light and the cost was almost nominal. I have probably already saved the cost of the fixtures between power bills and bulb replacement.

So, why are the good old-fashioned tubular fluorescents always left out of these discussions?

saltmine
12-12-2009, 01:13 PM
The only "energy saving" lights are candles and kerosene lanterns.

Buzzer John
12-12-2009, 01:29 PM
I suspect the reason that CFs and others with the same style base as standard screw in bulbs are given a lot of consideration is that they are direct replacements for existing bulbs. You don't have to make any change, just unscrew one and screw in the new one. Simple.
John

Forrest Addy
12-12-2009, 01:44 PM
The only "energy saving" lights are candles and kerosene lanterns.

Well. not really unless you consider "energy" as the stuff from the wall receptacle. The wax in a candle or the oil in a lamp is fuel. The same fuel burned in a candle or power plant wll power an incandecent producng perhaps 50 tmes more light per unt of heat. I saw a study someplace where an "Aladdin" mantle lamp put out about 1200 Watts of heat and 20 incandecent equvalent watts of light.

A white LED is an UV light emmtting diode coated with the same phosphors as used in fluorescent lamps. ooner or later the industry will quit using all those discrete little LED's and come up with an efficent large surface LED radiating natural seeming light. Trouble is the damn thngs last too long. There's no money in sellng replacements. You have to replace an incandecent bulb every 6 months and fluorecents every couple years. LED's last 100,000 hours - that's bout 10 years at 4/7. They will have to be engneered to fail prematurely.

Teenage_Machinist
12-12-2009, 04:23 PM
You're right about the lack of money to be made in LED bulbs. But anyone with a soldering iron can build rather awesome light fixtures with bulk LEDS. Also you can buy warm light LED's.

Inefficency besides, Alladin lamps are REALLY COOL!. Someday, I'm going to make a durable lantern version of one, maybe. Much nicer than the omnipresent Coleman lanterns the boy scout troop uses.

There is also electroluminescent wire and strips, but I do not think that they are suitable for room lighting.

psomero
12-12-2009, 04:32 PM
i despise CFL bulbs. the crap wavelength of light they give off gives me an instant headache if i'm trying to read anything.

also, it's damn annoying when i'm bleeding all over, but have to wait 45 seconds for the thing to warm up in my hallway so i can find a bandaid in the hall closet.

my old man is obsessed with CFLs and has been for a long time before they ever got popular and they were handing them out by the dozen with oil changes and whatnot. i appreciate his desire to save energy (he is an electrician, after all), but what good is an energy savings when the light you get is totally inferior?

same goes for low flush toilets, which my old man HATES, as any sane human being should.

tyrone shewlaces
12-12-2009, 06:01 PM
I too do not like CF. In my experience, the don't last any longer than regular damn incandescent for one thing. Save the air, go broke and get a headache and squint wrinkles for your trouble.

No thanks.

Teenage_Machinist
12-13-2009, 12:35 AM
I like low flow toilets. The ones we have are superior to our old high flow toilets.

dp
12-13-2009, 01:00 AM
Inefficency besides, Alladin lamps are REALLY COOL!. Someday, I'm going to make a durable lantern version of one, maybe. Much nicer than the omnipresent Coleman lanterns the boy scout troop uses.


One of the web sites I host is http://LampGuild.org/ which is run by oil lamp experts. Lots of information there on lamp technology.

steve45
12-13-2009, 01:18 AM
I tried some compact flourescent bulbs years ago, when they first came out. They were slow to warm up and very short lived. Even now, they still suffer these problems to some degree. If you read the fine print, they can last 'up to 7 years'. Yea, if you actually use them 15 minutes per day they might last 7 years! Also, you can't use them with dimmers (I believe that there are some exceptions, now).

I've looked into LEDs, but the cost for higher wattage units is outrageously high. Again, they claim outlandish lifespan, but if you look at the newer LED traffic lights, you'll almost always see some LEDs burned outl

I like the high flush toilets, even have one in storage to put in my shop when it's completed. My mother-in-law actually has some low-flow toilets that actually work!!! They're the only ones I've seen that work, I'll have to check the brand next time.

terry_g
12-13-2009, 11:03 AM
I replaced all the incandescent bulbs in my house with compact florescent bulbs five years ago. I have replaced two since that failed both were in bathrooms.
Up here in the north we get less than eight hours of daylight this time of year so they get lots of use.
I was told by an electrician that florescent lights will last almost forever if they are left running.

J Tiers
12-13-2009, 12:17 PM
The CF are available with all sorts of phosphors, at virtually no difference in cost, so there is no excuse for using the harsh ones. That is , as Evan says, Dreck. I use the "warm white" type, and I am really sensitive to those harsh blue-white types, CF or regular fluorescent. I like the warm white fine.

The CF use about 20% of the power, although they have a rotten power factor.

So if you pay 8 cents a KWH, a 100W bulb costs you a dime to leave on all day.

The CF costs you 2 cents to run, and can cost 4 bucks to buy, or less in quantity. In two months or so, your CF will pay back its cost at 8 cents per day.

If you are always turning the CF on and off, it will fail faster, they like to be left on. Turn-on is a high stress condition, which is true for the incandescent also.

We have hardly any regular bulbs now. The biggest issue is the slow warm-up, which I find annoying. So I usually put one fast-warmup type in any multi-bulb fixture.

Paul Alciatore
12-13-2009, 01:16 PM
Ahhhhhhhhhhhg!

Everybody is back to CF this and CF that. What about regular fluorescents? Aren't most of us knowledgable enough to replace a fixture? My daughter has done this.

And what's with the toilets? How did that get in here. Oh C***!

softtail
12-13-2009, 01:33 PM
Because GE wants it that way.

The only energy saving bulb is the one that's off.


st

psomero
12-13-2009, 06:03 PM
back to the OP's actual direction for this thread, i think it's a tossup between fluorescent and incandescent bulbs.

fluorescents are nice, unless you have crap electronic ballasts that make noise and die all the time. it's also a massive pain in the butt to get rid of T8's and T12's if you run a business and are on file with the EPA. we have to pay to get rid of them now.

i still prefer incandescent most of the time. they're the cheapest to buy, the light is tolerable, and there's less stupid parts to fail.

CFs, though, i only use in my trouble light outside. it's nice because if you drop it on the concrete, there's no filament to break like in an incandescent bulb. if they made a regular fluorescent trouble light, which they probably do, i'd prefer that for sure.

i think fluorescents are left out of the discussion right now because they've already saturated the market and nobody really stands to profit by further implementation of them.

mcskipper
12-13-2009, 07:13 PM
I'm stocking up on the std bulbs.
Using some LED's from Wal-mart $5.00 ea.

IF you live in the zone where you have a furnace running a bunch, I don't see any savings w/ CFC's. The heat a bulb gives off is heat the furnace does not have to make.

Prototyper
12-13-2009, 07:37 PM
Ahhhhhhhhhhhg!

Everybody is back to CF this and CF that. What about regular fluorescents? Aren't most of us knowledgable enough to replace a fixture? My daughter has done this.

I think the reason is that standard fluorescent fixtures are great where they are appropriate. I light my 20 x 22' shop with 32, T-8 fluorescents with electronic ballasts. It is fantastic lighting, no complaints on my part. Because they work well there, are you suggesting that I replace the 17 recessed can fixtures in my kitchen and living room with fluorescent strip fixtures? how about my outdoor fixtures? I am sure my wife would love to have a washdown rated fixture (think carwash) over the tiled shower!

The point is, there is a place for everything. T-8 is great for lighting areas where a huge, low watt density light source is acceptable. CFL and LED both offer high watt density, low power consumption, and fit the existing fixtures in homes and businesses.

LED technology is still in it's infancy for broad area lighting. Most LED bulbs are in the "cool white" spectrum, which IMO, is nasty for household applications. However, they are available in warm white, along with every other color in the spectrum.

You may as well accept and preferably, welcome new technology that promises to help this precious planet of ours.

Naysayers; you may now chime in...

mcskipper
12-13-2009, 08:57 PM
If you think that a std 4' tube is full spectrum then why is a OTT light true color tube so much cash?

I use 4'er's in my shop, have for years, that is a good place for them.
LED Christmas lights are low priced and a very good from a fire standpoint.

I'll start worrying about the pollution as soon as I see 1 truck a day @ loading docks. Before I retired my window faced a driveway and saw the number of trucks running in & out Every day as my car was parked & I'm the problem?

J Tiers
12-13-2009, 09:05 PM
Regular fluorescents are not full spectrum, but they are nice light if not the "cool white" cheapo type. They don't screw in for replacement of incandescent, though, so they don't fit many places.

I think the OP totally missed the point...... A "CF bulb" is the same thing as any other fluorescent, its just 'compact", hence the name "Compact Fluorescent". The same type ballasts are now going into tube-type fixtures, so what's the problem?

You have incandescent, you have fluorescent, and you have LED. The fluorescent of any type are still probably the leaders for total integrated 360 x 180 light output, lumens per watt, and they are a LOT cheaper per lumen, plus they have the most options for light type of useful types at sensible cost. if Walmart has cheap LEDs, watch out for total lumen output..... I wouldn't know, I won't set foot in a Walmart if there is ANY other choice, so what they have I wouldn't know about.





I'll start worrying about the pollution as soon as I see 1 truck a day @ loading docks. Before I retired my window faced a driveway and saw the number of trucks running in & out Every day as my car was parked & I'm the problem?

Nope, but you don't have the money to pay to NOT be labeled the problem, so you are elected.

The trucking lobby gets a pass for all trucks (now changing) .

It's kinda like china....... they make every ^%$# thing made on the planet today, but they are still a "poor little developing economy" that we must coddle and nurture..............

JoeCB
12-13-2009, 09:17 PM
Let me pose a question... Incadecent lamps are only 20 % efficient as to light output, correct? the other 80% of the energy goes where? HEAT I suspect. Up here in the great forzen north for a good part of the year I
m burning fuel to make HEAT... so isn't the 80% heat I'm getting from my incadecent lamps a pretty efficient conversion?

Joe B

J Tiers
12-13-2009, 09:21 PM
Let me pose a question... Incadecent lamps are only 20 % efficient as to light output, correct? the other 80% of the energy goes where? HEAT I suspect. Up here in the great forzen north for a good part of the year I
m burning fuel to make HEAT... so isn't the 80% heat I'm getting from my incadecent lamps a pretty efficient conversion?

Joe B

Did you expect the rules to make sense?

besides, its the load on coal burning power plants that is the real issue. Heat. light, who cares? It's all a load. Lighting really IS a large amount of loading, and a 10% overall efficiency boost would make a big difference.

mcskipper
12-13-2009, 09:47 PM
Is THAT why our utility just raised our rates.
They said it was because our usage went down.
Soon I will be paying the same amount for nothing!

Weston Bye
12-13-2009, 09:47 PM
Let me pose a question... Incadecent lamps are only 20 % efficient as to light output, correct? the other 80% of the energy goes where? HEAT I suspect. Up here in the great forzen north for a good part of the year I
m burning fuel to make HEAT... so isn't the 80% heat I'm getting from my incadecent lamps a pretty efficient conversion?

Joe B

Making the best of a bad situation? Electric heat costs more than gas, oil, propane, etc. Efficient, but still costly.

wierdscience
12-13-2009, 09:50 PM
IC,Flourecent,CF,Led don't like any of them,the only real light comes from whale oil lamps!:D

I've got 4 and 8' flourecents that I can't remember when I changed them last.Then I have CF bulbs that I change every year or every week depending on how much "quality" the Chinese have built into them.

Personally I like the T-12 8' fixtures and bulbs,$35 will buy a good fixture/ballast and the bulbs last for years.

whitis
12-13-2009, 11:31 PM
Let me pose a question... Incadecent lamps are only 20 % efficient as to light output, correct? the other 80% of the energy goes where? HEAT I suspect. Up here in the great forzen north for a good part of the year I
m burning fuel to make HEAT... so isn't the 80% heat I'm getting from my incadecent lamps a pretty efficient conversion?

Joe B


You suspect right, the other 80% goes to heat. Much of it in the form of infrared light which you can't see but has a heating effect. Which in the winter isn't necessarily wasted but in the summer is not only wasted but increases your cooling costs. However, the power plant makes heat which is converted, at a loss, to electricity which is distributed to your house at a loss, where it is then converted to some light and heat. If you aren't using an efficient heat source like a heat pump that "produces" more heat than you put energy in to offset the upstream losses, then it may be more efficient to burn fuel (bunch of other issues with that, though). If you are using baseboard heat, then the energy wasted by your incandescent lights isn't wasted in the winter (compared to the normal level of waste due to baseboard, not a heat pump), but may be during other seasons. Oh, some of the 20% of energy that produces visible light ends up as heat too, and some of the infrared heat goes sailing out the window (though much is reflected).

Now, to the original posters question. A typical fluorescent fixture has two or four 40W bulbs for a total of 80W to 160W. Upgrading your typical light fixture, which uses one 60-100W bulb, sometimes two, to a typical fluorescent fixture may have little energy saving or consume even more.
Standard fluorescent lights normally work in pairs. Back in the early days of compact fluorescent lights, I had an apartment with fluorescent fixtures in every room but the bathroom. Turning on all the lights consumed 1000W. Yes, that is the right number of zeros. Compact fluorescents in the same space would have been more like 100W - but a lot less light. Sometimes I need the extra light, sometimes I didn't. Plus there is the capital cost up front; it was hard to get people to use compact fluorescents when they cost $15; spending $100 to upgrade a fixture, even harder. Yes, you get a lot more light out of the standard fluorescent. If it is in an area where you need so much light you would have many incandescent fixtures, then standard fluorescents make sense. If you need, or can get by with, less light, you use a tiny fluorescent, otherwise known as a compact fluorescent. There are some midsized options that use a single fluorescent tube. Many of those have pretty crappy ballasts, though. If you advised people to switch to regular fluorescents to save energy, though, they would probably end up installing multi-tube full sized fluorescents that used about as much power as the old ones, if they did anything at all.

In many cases, it makes sense to use compact fluorescents as your primary light fixtures with separately switched full size fluorescents over work areas where you sometimes need more light.

Compact fluorescent lights (and other fluorescent lights) have some mercury in them, a point often cited by detractors. However, more mercury is released by coal power plants to run incandescent bulbs (and in a more dangerous vapor form).

Cheeseking
12-13-2009, 11:45 PM
Speaking of fluorescent light bulbs.... http://current.com/1hm7q4c :eek:

Arcane
12-14-2009, 12:50 AM
Here's (http://greenerlights.blogspot.com/) a site about CFLs. He seems to be trying to put out more accurate information about CFls than the greenies, but...it's a blog...make of it what you will.

Evan
12-14-2009, 01:54 AM
There is another alternative. I use a skylight with a light tunnel to supply light to the kitchen and the living room during the day. At nght the living room fixture is illuminated by a couple of 24 inch fluorescent bulbs. Since at this time of year the sun doesn't get any higher than 14.5 degrees above the horizon at noon every bit of extra light is a bonus, especially real daylight. It cost very little to install the skylight, maybe $250 altogether and although it isn't a real money saver it is a sanity saver.

http://ixian.ca/pics7/kitchenlight.jpg

http://ixian.ca/pics7/skylight4.jpg