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Old 05-06-2010, 12:49 PM   #1
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CFL's are a waste of money


Hi;
About 2yrs ago I started replacing the incandescent bulbs with CFL's, mostly the 14 watt (equivalent to 60 watts incandescent).
In some locations, these lamps are working out very well, but in the bathroom vanity, they are a total waste.
I am having the CFL's burn out prematurely (one burned out after 1 year, another after 16mos).

This is due to the fact that I cannot change the wasting habits of my family.
I tried to tell them to leave the lights on during the evening, to avoid frequent cycling, but no one seems to catch on.
Even during daylight hours, when there is enough light coming into the bath for most uses, they seem to need to switch on the light, and then back off when they're done.

I have considered installing an automatic switch of some sort to prevent on-off cycling, but this is not cost effective at all. Switches cost about $50.

I thought maybe LED bulbs, but they are still prohibitively expensive.
So, it seems my only option is to go back to incandescents.
I feel that with the premature burn out of the CFL's I am doing more damage to the environment that if I just use the wasteful incandescent bulbs.

Any ideas?

Thanks

FW

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Old 05-06-2010, 01:53 PM   #2
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CFL's are a waste of money


I've heard others complain about short CFL life spans in bathrooms. It could be due to the more frequent cycling, but bathrooms also have high humidity and sometimes recessed fixtures. I have replaced the two 50W floods in my 1/2 bath with standard 13W CFLs (without the reflector, they still provide about the same light) and they are still working after about nine months. If they fail soon, then we'll know it's not just the humidity as there is no shower in this room.

I have the first CFL I ever bought-- a Sylvania-- still operating in a lamp that gets daily use and was probably in use for about 4-8 hours a day when I was in an apartment. It must be three years old now, so conventional use isn't a problem.

By the way: GEs have been giving me problems. I had one DOA and I have a 3-way that likes to periodically loosen itself from its socket. More reason to avoid GE.

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Old 05-06-2010, 01:55 PM   #3
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CFL's are a waste of money


I have all CFL's in my house
The same CFL's are in the vanity lights going on years now (3) 9w
The overhead bathroom light I was on bulb #3 (23w) in 6 years
The fan went so I have a new fixture & 2 different bulbs - (2) 13w
I have bought almost all at HD & Lowes - NVision & bright effects
I also have some GE's from Lowes from maybe 4-5 years ago

We don't leave any lights on
Be careful about LED's, one person had lost 3 bulbs in a lighnting storm

What bulbs & Mfg's ?
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Old 05-06-2010, 02:01 PM   #4
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CFL's are a waste of money


BTW, you could go halogen: they're a little more efficient, but the difference is very small. At least avoid "long life" incandescents, as they're the least efficient bulbs you can buy and not cost-effective.
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Old 05-06-2010, 02:23 PM   #5
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CFL's are a waste of money


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
I have all CFL's in my house
The same CFL's are in the vanity lights going on years now (3) 9w
The overhead bathroom light I was on bulb #3 (23w) in 6 years
The fan went so I have a new fixture & 2 different bulbs - (2) 13w
I have bought almost all at HD & Lowes - NVision & bright effects
I also have some GE's from Lowes from maybe 4-5 years ago

We don't leave any lights on
Be careful about LED's, one person had lost 3 bulbs in a lighnting storm

What bulbs & Mfg's ?
I'm buying the CFL's at Home Depot. NVision (funny that this is the same name as NVision magazine)
Are you leaving the bath lights on for longer periods (more than 1/2 hours), or are you cycling them every time someone enters/leaves the room.

My bath does have a bath and shower, so the humidity could be the issue. The fixtures are open, which are supposed to receive standard globe type bulbs.

FW
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:03 PM   #6
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CFL's are a waste of money


We turn them off & on when we enter/leave
The vanity lights are open at the top - frosted glass -so we use curly bulbs
The fan lights are enclosed by the light dome
We have our main shower in the bathroom too
And I do take long hot showers & do not use the fan in the winter
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:24 PM   #7
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CFL's are a waste of money


I heard about one study where they claimed useing CFL made your energy use go up.

Since incadesants give off so much heat, they also heat the room there in. So in the winter whens its cold your furnace has to do more work with out the incadesants heating the area as well.

I see where they are comeing from, but to me that is a strecth. I would be curious to see there numbers from there study.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:02 PM   #8
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CFL's are a waste of money


Wal Mart has the 60W equivalents on sale 5 dollars for a six pack. I never paid much attention to the replacement rate of these things. There are certainly not cost effective if they don't last as long as they are advertized to. I do have one in my basement, a dinosaur from the early days before they came out with the compacts that is still going stong after daily off and on. That one has got to be going on 20 years old.

There is an 18 story state office building in Binghamton NY where I grew up that relied on the heat from the incandescents as part of the heating system. Everybody thought they were wasting electricity because it would be lit up overnight during closed hours especially in the winter months but it was a necessity.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:53 PM   #9
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CFL's are a waste of money


Quote:
Originally Posted by darren View Post
I heard about one study where they claimed useing CFL made your energy use go up.

Since incadesants give off so much heat, they also heat the room there in. So in the winter whens its cold your furnace has to do more work with out the incadesants heating the area as well.

I see where they are comeing from, but to me that is a strecth. I would be curious to see there numbers from there study.
A person gives off about 100w [340 BTU/hr].
A 13w CFL = a 60w [?] incand. bulb.

Two people and two CFLs =770 BTU/hr
Two people and two incands =1100 BTU/hr
So your furnace needs to deliver 330 more BTU/hr.
So it's true.

I used 300 therms in January for an avg. of 40,000 BTU/hr.
So it's true but it's negligible.
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Old 05-06-2010, 06:03 PM   #10
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CFL's are a waste of money


I was reading on one web site that CFL's use a much higher energy when they start. Does this mean they actually use more wattage in starting than an incandescent does, or is is just a comparison between the amount of energy used for starting the bulb compared to the amount used to keep it lit?

In my case, I know that the culprit is not heat. The fixtures are open, and I'm using the open type bulbs (not the globes or floods).

Scuba Dave; When you say you turn them off when you enter/leave, what kind of time between on and off are you talking? and how often do they actually get cycled per day?

I would venture a guess that ours are being cycled at least 25 times per day.

FW
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Old 05-06-2010, 06:26 PM   #11
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CFL's are a waste of money


Only 3 people here turning them off/on
3 showers - on for anywhere from 10min-30+ minutes
Bathroom - 3-4 times a day each ? I don't keep count
Then wash hands, brush teeth...hair etc etc

25 times might be approx
Overhead light used the most, vanity lights 2nd - seperate switch

They have done tests on Mythbusters that proved shutting off the light - any type of light - uses less power then leaving it in on
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:57 PM   #12
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CFL's are a waste of money


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
Only 3 people here turning them off/on
3 showers - on for anywhere from 10min-30+ minutes
Bathroom - 3-4 times a day each ? I don't keep count
Then wash hands, brush teeth...hair etc etc

25 times might be approx
Overhead light used the most, vanity lights 2nd - seperate switch

They have done tests on Mythbusters that proved shutting off the light - any type of light - uses less power then leaving it in on
OK. I'll go with what you say, but then I have no clue as to why my bulbs are burning out so fast.
Maybe my line voltage is high? I have measured it up to 122V. But then, I always thought that would affect incandescents more than fluoresecnts.

I guess as the cost of these bulbs keeps dropping, their initial cost is close to what I would pay for an incandescent anyway, so I'm better off with the CFL's.

FW
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Old 05-06-2010, 10:01 PM   #13
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CFL's are a waste of money


I've measured my voltage as high as 122v
Possibly some interference or something else on the line ?

They have had some pretty good prices here on CFL's the past 2 years
So I have stocked up - mostly free after instant rebates
I have probably 70+ spare bulbs right now

They had $4 off coupons & a 4 pk was $3.25 for 40w & $3.85 for 60w
I was buying 2-3 4 pks every couple of weeks
I swapped my entire Halloween & Christmas display to CFL
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Old 05-07-2010, 04:35 PM   #14
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CFL's are a waste of money


I have a bunch of CFLs and would say they last significantly longer than incandescents.
Rarely am I replacing CFLs.
I have globe style incanescents in my bathroom, and I need to replace them often enough. One is burnt out right now.
I have five 50 watt halogens in my living room, and these definately have the shortest lifetime.

Possibly you have been buying a low quality brand, or just got a bad box.

Steve
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:27 PM   #15
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CFL's are a waste of money


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
A person gives off about 100w [340 BTU/hr].
A 13w CFL = a 60w [?] incand. bulb.

Two people and two CFLs =770 BTU/hr
Two people and two incands =1100 BTU/hr
So your furnace needs to deliver 330 more BTU/hr.
So it's true.
True as in, you need to use your heating system more-- not true as in, you use more energy! Only if your heating system was electrical and unzoned (or very inefficient gas or oil) would it actually cost less to use lights like little space heaters or Easy Bake Ovens. And what happens in the summer? There go your savings into the air conditioner.

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