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Old 02-10-10, 12:59 PM   #1
bennelson
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: SE Wisconsin
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Default Whole House CFL upgrade!

Hello Friends!

Over time, I have come to have a large box of both new and slightly used compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Some of this has been through my work, and other bulbs are "indoor" color bulbs that I replaced with "outdoor" color bulbs to better match my window and skylight daylighting.

So, I had a big box of bulbs. What to do with them?
I offered to install these bulbs at anyone's house who was interested in saving energy, with the prerequisite that they share with me information about their energy bill.

My new friend, Bonnie, took me up on the offer.
Last night, I went to her house, and installed bulbs.

She already had a handful of CLF bulbs in her house (5 - all in her home office) all the rest of the bulbs were incandescent, ranging from 60 to 100 watts per bulb!

We replaced 17 bulbs in the house - typically replacing 100 watt bulbs with 25 watt CFLs and 60 watt bulbs with 14 watt CFLs.

Besides saving energy, many of the areas are now brighter as well.

There were a few places we couldn't use CFLs. A ceiling fan in the bedroom had an electronic dimmer - even in "full on" it still made the CFLs hum and flicker. Also there was a closet and a storage area with single bulbs with a pull cord. We decided it would be better to leave the traditional bulbs there, as they are used only very briefly - a CFL wouldn't even warm up to full brightness before being turned right back off.

The house also has an electric, range, oven, water heater, clothes dryer, and even a electric heater for a pet snake! It might be a bit tough to make a big dent in the electric bill because of all the electric appliances. While there, I did discuss some simple energy-saving strategies for the appliances. I also loaned out a Kill-a-Watt for use to check the amount of power used by the refrigerator, television, and other electric devices that are always plugged in.

We'll wait for the next energy bill (might be two months - often a power bill is for the month BEFORE last) and then compare it with both the previous month, AND the same month the previous year. Hopefully we will see some measurable difference.

Besides DIRECTLY saving electric energy, the can help in another way as well. Because CFLs are COOLER than incandescent they add much less heat in the summer, and may help to run air conditioning less often!
We'll have to wait until summer for the real-world results on that, but Bonnie's husband did notice right away that a 25 watt CFL was COOLER and BRIGHTER than the 100 watt bulb they had in their kitchen.

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