I recently decided it was time to go florescent. That is, switch from standard light bulbs to florescent bulbs.
I’m actually kind of sorry I hadn’t done it sooner but I was always reluctant to spend what seemed to me to be a lot of money for a light bulb. Well, now they really don’t cost that much. I got an eight pack of 60 watters (actually they are only 15 watts but have the same illumination effect as a 60 watt traditional incandescent bulb) for $12.72 at Sams Club. I also bought a bunch of 100 watt (equivalent) bubs and some 40 watters all for about the same price.
Here’s the advantage: these bulbs use about ¼ the energy of traditional light bulbs. That’s good for the environment and really good for your electric bill. While the florescent bulbs are still somewhat more expensive than the incandescents, they pay for themselves many times over. In addition to costing less to use, they also last much, much longer than incandescents.
There are some minor downsides to these bulbs however. For one, they take a second to light when the switch is thrown. I mean literally one second, but that’s a little jarring when you are used to instantaneous light. It’s not a big deal but I think it’s going to take a while for me to adjust my expectations to what happens when I turn on a light.
The women folk in my house also say, correctly I assume, that the new bulbs treat color differently, even if only slightly, and that’s a problem for applying makeup. So, the bathroom mirrors continue to be lit the old fashioned way in my house. And that’s fine since the new bulbs don’t come in decorative styles like globes and candle flames.
Another problem, also minor, is that these bulbs have a harder time in colder weather. This applies only to bulbs outside where they tend to take a little more time getting to full brightness. One of the first bulbs I used, I put in my back porch light during the latest cold snap. It still worked at zero degrees but it took maybe a minute or more to get to full strength.
Otherwise, I’m sold and am currently in the process of replacing all of our household lights with fluorescents. I was going to wait to replace the bulbs as the old ones burned out. But I figured, hey, what wait to start saving money. Now I have a pile of old school bulbs I’m not sure what to do with.
The price of these bulbs will continue to come down as they get more popular and as governments push for their use. California has passed legislation that will ban the incandescent bulbs by 2012 and Australia recently made a similar move. Expect to see more of this in coming years.