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Women Don’t Like Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

By JLP | April 30, 2007

According to this Washington Post article, women seem to be the main stumbling block in making compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) popular. Actually, I don’t really care for CFLs either. Part of it is the fact that I really didn’t know what I was buying when I bought them and the bulbs I bought are way too dim to use anywhere in my house. I spent something like $15 on the three pack (if I’m remembering correctly) and now the package is sitting in our pantry unused.

According to the article, CFLs are improving in quality and coming down in price, which is good. I’ll have to give them a try again. I like the idea of saving money on my electric bill and helping the environment at the same time. I have a feeling that we’re going to have to get used to CFLs because eventually traditional incandescent bulbs will be outlawed in the U. S. You watch, it’s just around the corner.

Topics: Budgeting | 21 Comments »


21 Responses to “Women Don’t Like Compact Fluorescent Bulbs”

  1. anonymous coward Says:
    April 30th, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    There is another issue of Mercury in CFLs

  2. Dylan Says:
    April 30th, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    They get brighter after they’ve been on a couple of minutes.

  3. Nick Says:
    April 30th, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    Solution to mercury in CFL bulbs: don’t eat light bulbs. I stopped eating them and I couldn’t be happier!

  4. bluntmoney Says:
    April 30th, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    I don’t know, I’m a huge fan of CFLs. I love how they don’t put out the heat the way regular light bulbs do. They’ve also greatly improved over the years — I first tried them many years ago and wasn’t happy, but I’m glad I gave them another shot.

  5. Ed Says:
    April 30th, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    I can agree with that assesment. My wife hates them. Mostly due to the lag time to get to full brightness.

    But they save us electricity honey!!

    I have managed to sneak them in most places. They work good in the outside lights and garage lights, especially if you leave them on for a bit.

  6. Martin Says:
    April 30th, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    The mercury is more of a problem than not eating them. Lightbulbs break all the time and mercury fumes are just as dangerous as liquid mercury.

  7. dogpile 2pac dogpile weather.com.basketball » Women Don’t Like Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Says:
    April 30th, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    [...] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptAccording to this Washington Post article, women seem to be the main stumbling block in making compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) popular. Actually, I don’t really care for CFLs either. Part of it is the fact that I really didn’t know … [...]

  8. Adam Says:
    April 30th, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    Fluorescent lights are already pretty much used everywhere else outside of the home and people aren’t dropping over dead left and right from mercury. I’d be willing to bet that eating fish regularly would expose you to more risk from mercury than the risk posed by using CFLs in your home.

  9. Jake Says:
    April 30th, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    there was an article somewhere, i thought it was WorldChanging or the Consumerist, but I can’t find it, but it was about the 4.50 dollar price tag on just buying it compared to the 2,000 price tag of cleaning up a broken one.

    That’s right, a broken CFL will release mercury into the air at 6 times the designated level of mercury that will be poisonous. Some guy had to call a clean up crew because it was in his daughter’s room and it cost him 2,000 dollars.

  10. Ben D Says:
    April 30th, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    For those interested in mercury levels in bulbs

    http://www.reuters.com/article/inDepthNews/idUSN2744810520070327?pageNumber=1

    And in fish

    http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=103

    And as for CLF in general. Do give them another go. They take a min or two to warm up and they come in many different wattages. Moreover, they are starting to come in different color temperatures.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_temperature

  11. Leslie T Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 12:30 am

    I agree that I don’t much like CFLs, but in support of the environment, I’ve tried to switch over to them. In the process, I’ve found that I have some fixtures and recessed bulbs where they just won’t fit, so I’m only about 50% converted. As I replace fixtures in the natural course of events, I’ll try to convert further.

    The mercury issue does worry me though. In response to the above poster who mentioned a $2000 cleanup cost, I did some web browsing. I’ve learned that you can clean up broken bulbs yourself, but it takes some care and precautions. And it’s recommended that used bulbs be disposed of as hazardous waste. So that’ll be a nuisance.

    I thing it’s over-reacting to mandate their use at this time. For heaven’s sake, there is so much energy being wasted in other ways – like overuse of air conditioning in the summer, for example, or just not turning lights off when they’re not required. It seems silly to focus on this one thing.

  12. plonkee Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 3:10 am

    I like CFLs but the long stick ones do limit the sort of light fittings you can get. I’m not sure how likely you are to break them and release the poisonous mercury, they look pretty sturdy and I treat them as if they are made of glass. Once they’re in the fitting, they don’t need to be messed with.

  13. db Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 3:26 am

    I am prone to migraine headaches, and the funky quality of florescent lights can trigger them, as can looking directly at any bare bulb. Also those potlight things that are recessed into the ceiling can do a real number on giving me headaches, depending on how high the ceiling is — the higher the better.

    Needless to say I have to avoid strobe lights.

    That said, I use CFLs in my home office and they are ok — better than florescents. I have them in two lamps that point upwards and bounce light off the ceiling to minimize the risk of a migraine.

    But yes — if we get to the point where CFLs are mandated and ‘normal’ bulbs are illegal, I’d say that would be a pretty fascist state of affairs.

    DB

  14. Dus10 Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 8:01 am

    The mercury in CFL bulbs is negligible compared to the amount of mercury released in traditional coal-fired electric generation. Since CFL bulbs use a small fraction of the electricity of incandescent bulbs, the net mercury released in the lifespan of the bulbs is FAR less than with incandescent bulbs.

    The key with CFL bulbs is to not buy the cheap bulbs. I would stick with either GE or Phillips. The great thing about CFL bulbs is that if you are replacing 60-watt bulbs with the equivalent CFL brightness, and you are not happy, then you can bump up to the equivalent of a 75-watt or 100-watt bulb and still be using far less electricity.

    I am very happy with my CFL bulbs. I have replaced every light in my home with them except for the lights in my chandelier, my range hood (I will be replacing this one), and the ones inside of my refrigerator (the would be overboard). I spent about $50 on all of the bulbs and I am noticing a $15 reduction (over the same month in the previous year) in my electric bill. This is real savings too; there is no room to include seasonal variations because we have natural gas heat.

    It is estimated that if every US household replaced one incandescent bulb (that is actually used) with a CFL bulb, it would be like taking 1M cars off the road. I think that this is awesome, because it gives people the ability to do something without the government getting involved. And while I am not saying it is a reasonable excuse, the government is likely to eventually start forcing us to do things if enough progress is not made; I do not like the sound of it.

  15. HC Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 9:29 am

    I have them in my torchieres and in my bedside table lamp. (My hall, bathroom, and ceiling fan lights are custom bulbs installed by the maintenance crew, so I’ve left them alone.) I don’t notice any flicker through the shades. And they may not be the exact brightness of my conventional bulbs, but it’s close enough that I don’t notice a difference. (I believe that lumen ratings have pretty much converged in the last year or so, as well.)

    I really don’t see the change that so distresses people.

  16. Chris Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 10:31 am

    Unfortunately most of my lighting in the common areas of my house (kitchen, dining room, den) are track lighting with little halogen bulbs. The master bedroom main light is a halogen floor lamp. I do have bulbs in the ceiling fans, but those lights are hardly ever used. The main lights in the living room are recessed floods, so that’s the only place that it would be worth while to switch. Might do so when these bulbs burn out. But I like the yellowish tint, rather than the harsh blue (I understand now they come in different color temperatures).

  17. sam Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    The article describes my wife and I perfectly. I have been switching them out over time and she has been complaining about them all the while.

    I started using them when they first came out in the 80′s, but limited it to the porch light and a couple others like the living room table lamps. The first ones were huge and expensive, flickered and took a second or two to come on, took a couple of minutes to brighten up, especially in the cold, and the light was not very pleasant to see. I even had some that would interfere with my TV remote control.

    The newer ones are so much better that my wife doesn’t fight me as much, although she still complains that they take too long to brighten up (can you say impatient?) But she still won’t let me change the ones above the sink in the master bath (the other bathrooms are OK), or the lamp on her side of the bed.

    The only ones left to change out in our house are the ones on dimmer switches, and the ones in odd shapes and sizes. I don’t think that banning incandescents is the way to go, especially when it is hard to find CFL’s in anything other than the standard sizes and shapes. But politicians want to be seen as doing something, anything, to fight the dreaded global warming menace, so we can probably count on it happening.

  18. EA Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    In some cases they’re really useful. Because they don’t heat up as much as regular bulbs you can use them in a fixture with limited wattage…in other words that bedside lamp that can only handle a 40 watt incandescent will take a 100 watt (equivalent) CFL.

  19. investorsdailyedge Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    IMHO, the mercury arguement against CFL’s seems trivial when you consider the amount of household products stored under the average home’s kitchen cabinet that can be classified as hazardous material and should be disposed of as such.

    What’s one broken lightbulb when compared to gallons of paint and drain cleaner?

  20. Mark Peterson Says:
    May 3rd, 2007 at 8:36 am

    This article appeared yesterday on Snopes talking about the mercury issue.

    http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/cfl.asp

  21. sakuo Says:
    November 22nd, 2007 at 1:36 am

    “私たちは、工業用コーティングものの、海外を明確にギャップが、建築塗料华润涂料の視点は、国内企業が外国のブランドよりもペイントされるすべての技術的な問題は存在しませんします。そのため、国内企業はほとんど真ん中と低コーティング製品、技術的にません。ません、彼らから利益华润涂料をより多くの費用を考慮すると、 “日本塗料工業会エンツォ、記者団に語った。

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