Monday, July 13, 2009

The light bulb conspiracies

There are two light bulb conspiracies taking advantage of us unsuspecting, gullible consumers.

First, the CFL. Not the Canadian Football League. The compact fluorescent lamp.

This amazing new light bulb has been pushed on us by every left wing, tree hugging, nutjob enviornmentalist group on earth. If all of us switched to these cfl's, we would save enough energy to power Al Gore's next PowerPoint presentation. And, his energy inefficient house.

Ahh, but reality has set in.

As a light bulb, the cfl sucks. It gives off poor light, can't be dimmed, and is more dangerous to have in your house than a nest of black mambas.

Read this entry from London's Daily Mail:

Energy-saving light bulbs are so dangerous that everyone must leave the room for at least 15 minutes if one falls to the floor and breaks, a Government department warned yesterday.

The startling alert came as health experts also warned that toxic mercury inside the bulbs can aggravate a range of problems including migraines and dizziness.

And a leading dermatologist said tens of thousands of people with skin complaints will find it hard to tolerate being near the bulbs as they cause conditions such as eczema to flare up.

The Department for Environment warned shards of glass from broken bulbs should not be vacuumed up but instead swept away by someone wearing rubber gloves to protect them from the bulb's mercury content.

And now, it has been figured out that manufacturing cfl's is the only thing more dangerous than sitting next to one.

Read this from that right wing media hotbed

Chinese workers making energy-saving fluorescent lightbulbs for Western consumers have been sickened by the hundreds due to mercury poisoning.
While poor factory conditions in China shoulder most of the blame, the news does raise serious questions about just how “green” the mercury-rich fluorescent lightbulbs actually are.

Second, the 120v bulb.

I go into my neighborhood Lowe's to buy some replacement bulbs for an outside fixture. For whatever reason, the bulbs last a week or two and then burnout.

To my good fortune, a very friendly fellow in a bright red vest asked if he could help me. "Yes, can you tell me why these bulbs only last a week or two?", I jokingly responded.

"Well, as a matter of fact, I can. I have been an electrician for twenty years. Working here because of the soft economy. But I know from light bulbs.

Your problem is you are buying 120 volt bulbs."

"What else is there?"

"130 volt bulbs. You see, the voltage at your house spikes up and down from 118 to 128 volts. If it gets much over 120, your bulb is going to burn out because it is only a 120 volt bulb. But a 130 volt bulb won't because the voltage never gets that high. It only reaches 128 at your house. So buy 130 volt bulbs like contractors do. They aren't packaged as cute or put on a shelf as easy to find, but you can find them if you will look. And you will see these bulbs last a lot longer. I probably shouldn't be telling you this because they want your bulbs to burn out, but as an electrician, I'm just telling you what I do."

And then again, we could just live by the sun and the moon as our ancestors did and call it a day.

1 comment:

  1. Yes the light bulb ban ban is wrong for many reasons...

    Americans and Britons etc choose to buy ordinary light bulbs around 9 times out of 10.
    Banning what they want gives the supposed savings - no point in banning an impopular product!

    All lights have their advantages and uses, it's wrong to say "switch all your lights" just to save energy, energy use is only one aspect.

    The ordinary simple light bulb has for many people a pleasing appearance, it responds quickly with bright broad spectrum light, is easy to use with dimmers and other equipment, can come in small sizes, and has safely been used for over 100 years.

    100 W+ equivalent brightness is a particular issue - difficult and expensive with both fluorescents and LEDS - yet such incandescent bulbs are apparently first in line for banning (as in the EU)!

    There are also problems in achieving small size bright bulbs with fluorescents and LEDS, while halogens, related to ordinary bulbs are only slightly more efficient, and will gradually be phased out too given the proposed efficiency limits.

    In any case:
    Since when does America (or the UK etc) need to save on electricity?
    There is no energy shortage, there are plenty of local energy sources, Middle East oil is not used for electricity generation.
    Consumers pay for any power stations, just as they do for factories and shops generally.
    Certainly it is good to let people know how they can save energy and money - but why force them to do it?

    OK: Does a light bulb give out any gases?
    Power stations might not either:
    In the USA, in Washington state practically all electricity is emission-free, while around half of it is in states like New York and California.
    Why should emission-free Seattle, New York and Los Angeles households there be denied the use of lighting they obviously want to use?
    Low emission households will increase everywhere, since emissions will be reduced anyway through the planned use of coal/gas processing technology or energy substitution.

    Also, the savings amounts can be questioned for many reasons:
    For a referenced list of reasons against light bulb bans, see onwards
    - which also goes into the ban politics including industrial politics behind the ban...