Saturday, April 28, 2007

To Switch or Not to Switch

Here is my question. I have been wondering about this for a while so I decided I needed to do some research on it and let you all know the wisdom I have attained from said research.

Should I replace my regular light bulbs now or wait until they burn out?

This question has been plaguing me for some time. I have bought quite a few of the new compact fluorescent bulbs and have replaced burnt out regular bulbs as they go. Yet it just seems so wasteful to pull a perfectly good bulb and put in one of the new.

I know how good the new bulbs are. I've read several times the fact that :
  • If every household in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL), it would prevent enough pollution to equal removing one million cars from the road. Source:

I'm fully committed to the new lighting. I'm for it. I've also found other interesting information about how long to leave the lights on for. Did you know that if you have a bulb that you leave on a good amount of the time, this fluorescent is the best bet, but if you hardly use a bulb then a regular is probably fine?
The rule of thumb for optimizing the in-use versus turn-on power is:
Knowing that this is the efficient road to travel and that I will save on my bills and the environment, I still can't shake the feeling that it's so very wasteful to throw away half-used bulbs. So, I'm going to start by only replacing those bulbs that get used the most. The lights that get left on for a longer period of time. Any thoughts from the interweb on this? Any advice that you think I should hear on this subject?

A couple final things about the compact fluorescent:
You should avoid contact with the tubes and always handle the bulb from the base only. If you can't avoid touching the tube, use soft gloves. Using gloves is not as critical as with halogen lamps where oils from your hands can dramatically reduce the life of the bulb (something to remember when changing the headlights of your car for example). With some fixtures it is difficult to avoid touching the tube when replacing the bulb, so I usually use gloves just in case. Even if you use gloves, you should still avoid contact with the tube because it is really quite fragile.


Cheeky said...

I think I'm stealing this from "Real Simple", but it's good advice. When a bulb burns out, don't replace it for a week or two. See if actually use/need that light. It is amazing how many lights we use out of habit rather than necessity!

Hillary said...

Oh man, I need to get on using those.... they're so darn expensive! It would really help people to use them if they weren't like 15 times more expensive than regular bulbs. No exagerating! Sheesh!

And yes, that WOULD have been awesome. OH but I was tempted. At least it provided my friend and I with a good laugh.


Anne said...

I've actually been able to find them at the "generic" grocery stores we have around here. They are still more than the regular ones, but muuuch cheaper than most now.

Oh least you have a friend you can laugh with over it all, that makes all the difference.

sarah cool said...

geeky idea:
replace the half-used bulbs.... and store the half-used bulbs w/ your other spare bulbs, and as other "regular" light bulbs burn out (the ones on lamps you rarely use), replace them w/ these half-used bulbs.

k, bye, love you all, HAPPY SUNDAY NIGHT

Shawn said...

I have a question for "Ask Anne." With all this "going green" stuff, has Anne become a tree-hugging hippie? ;)

Scrapnqueen said...

Apparently, Blogger ate my comment on this. Now I'm grumpy.

I don't remember what I said, so I'll just say, "Hi, Anne!"

Hillary said...

Well, it was kinda of a bitter nasty thing... but I think that's all ok now. Eek. I'll email ya later this weekend (I've got to get ready for work!).

And your post has totally got me feeling soooo guilty about forgetting to turn off my lights. I'm so bad for that. Don't beat me down, environmentalists! I know! I know!

So I think I"m gonna go buy some and try 'em out in a few of my lights. I'm still not convinced I like the weird light. ok, ok, not weird... different. But hey, I like having, oh, I don't know, a planet to live on, more than I don't like the light... soooo.... yeah.

Way to go! You're changing the world one reluctant blogger at a time! :)