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CFL vs. Incandescent Debate - RF Cafe Forums

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 Post subject: CFL vs. Incandescent Debate
Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 11:56 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm
Posts: 451
Location: Erie, PA

Since my recent "Kirt's Cogitations" article has received a couple responses, I thought it might make a good topic for the forum. If you have not yet read it, please look here, then be sure to return.

Here are the two e-mails:

One thing to consider is where does the energy "wasted" go in an Edison bulb? The answer is usually In my house. Where I live we heat the house 7 to 8 months a year. So the efficiency calculation is really electric heat vs the running my furnace a little harder. In fact in weather like we are having now in Minnesota,( mid 50's F), I suspect that it is more efficient to run a few incandescent lamps, to heat the house, than to run my furnace designed for -20F.

The CFL's, really make the grade in the summer time when we need cooling.

J.S, Minnesota

--- My Response:

Greetings J.S.

I’ve had the same thoughts about how in the cold weather that the “wasted” energy from incandescents is not really wasted at all. It would make a good study to see where the break-even point is in cold climates between the heat added by incandescents (and not needed to be supplied by a heating system), versus the energy needed by the AC to remove the excess heat during the cooling season.

Since I have received another response to the CFL article, I think it might be a good candidate for the RF Cafe forum. I’ll use your letter and the other to prime the pump on this one. I’ll just use your initials for identification. Thanks for the feedback.

I read your CFL article today and I wanted to comment about how you don't like the "color" of the CFLs. One thing a lot of people don't consider is that CFLs come in a lot of different color temperatures. Unfortunately, they are often mislabeled as "brightness" levels. You would assume that brightness has something to do with Watts. However, CFL color temperatures range from 2700 to 6500 K. The lower temperatures are yellower and the higher more blue. Make sure the color temperature matches your tastes, not just the wattage.

After reading this fastcompany article about Walmart we exchanged the bulbs in our entire house. My wife likes the 5000K variety which look very "blue". What I have observed is that after a short time (weeks) the blue has faded so they look more "white" now. What is nice about the 5000K bulbs is that when they are on during the day you can't tell where the daylight ends and the artificial light begins. ... bulbs.html


--- My response:

Greetings M.S.

Thanks for the tip about the color temperature. I just looked at packages for 100 W and 60 W CFLs from two different manufacturers and neither has the color temperature listed; these are no-name manufacturers (as opposed to ones like GE). Those, of course, are the low-cost models (~$3 each) that Lowes, Wal-Mart, etc., sell. The GE, 100 W models were selling for about $8 each, and they had a color temperature of somewhere around 5000 K marked on them, which is probably more in the blue-white range.

It is a shame that a lot of people are probably being turned off to the CFLs because in the process of making relatively cheap products available, they are giving the impression that if you choose to use CFLs, you have to settle for inferior quality lighting.

Maybe I will go back and try buying three of the GE bulbs for my office light fixture to see how much improvement it makes. It will be only in the name of scientific experimentation that I will shell out twice as much for the light bulbs as I did for the fixture they are to used in. Hmmm……. maybe I can deduct the cost???

Your comments are encouraged.

- Kirt Blattenberger :smt024
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster

Posted  11/12/2012