Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Light Bulbs vs. The Nanny State

I experimented with the CFL a couple years ago , and found every flaw listed in this video. Since writing that post, someone suggested another explanation for why all my CFL bulbs blew so fast: they were all mounted inverted in downward-pointing sockets. CFLs create much less heat than incandescent bulbs, but they do create heat- and when inverted, the heat rises to cook the circuitry in the base of the bulb, dramatically reducing their lifespan. Incandescent bulbs have no circuitry to cook, and so last longer than CFLs in this usage.

Big deal, you say, just change the fixtures? This house was built in 1870; the chandeliers are the original gas chandeliers, wired for electricity, and they hang several feet down from the 13" ceilings. And the house is in an historical district- I would have to find five matching chandeliers, two front porch fixtures, and kitchen fixtures that are or look period, but are all wired with all sockets facing up, then have them all installed- even if possible, it would cost many, many thousands, which I don't have- especially for something that ridiculous. I suppose I could fill the house with floor lamps and never turn the chandeliers on except for company, but I don't have enough wall sockets to do that, either.

So come 2012, I will have to set aside a couple hundred dollars a year for the government mandated CFL bulbs- dramatically increasing my carbon footprint for inferior illumination- and make a special recycling basket that will cradle the bulbs without breaking them for the trips to the recyclers, so my congressman can feel he's doing something about greenhouse gasses. Something, good, I mean, rather than increasing them as it actually turns out. I will also be harming our balance of trade, as not a single CFL is made in the U.S. But as Al Gore has shown us, it's better to look green than to be green.

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