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Old 02-10-10, 12:59 PM   #1
bennelson
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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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Old 02-10-10, 04:06 PM   #2
Xringer
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We have a lot of CFLs in our house. And my wife loves the new ceiling kitchen lamp I installed.
It looks good and it's big inside. It was easy to fit a couple of the brighter CFLs inside.
Once it warms up, it lights up the kitchen work areas much better than the old stuff ever did.

We have the same problem with dimmers on a few older lighting fixtures.
But, these are mostly in places where they see little use..
Plus, they are almost always used in the lower output range of the dimmers.

The finished side of our basement had two recessed ceiling lamps
and worked poorly even with 100w incan bulbs.

We found two large non-recessed fixtures that didn't hang down too far
and installed them over the 12"x12" holes in the ceiling.
Screws in some nice CFLs and wow! What a difference!!

When my kid moved into her new home, I replaced a bunch of recessed
small incan spotlights with new spotlight style CFLs. They worked out great.


The nice thing about using CFLs in low usage rooms (laundry rooms etc),
is they will last the rest of your life!! Never ever need to change them..

In my experience, It's very very rare to see a modern CFL burn out..
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Old 02-12-10, 09:17 AM   #3
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The only CFL that I don't like is the PAR30 spot light bulb that I have in a recessed like bath vent fan, it takes over a minute for that light to come up to brightness and for the first 20 seconds it hardly glows, I need to find another brand to try out as this is too long for a bath room, you could be in and out before you can see, I've left it on a few times because it got turned on and the light never got brighter then the light coming in the window before I left the room, if I could find the box I would return that bulb and try another brand in there.
Aside from that single application I love CFL's, every light in my house has one other then a ceiling fan that takes a small based 60 watt bulb, I'm sure they will come out with one that will fit in there soon.
I too have a box of CFL's so I can try a number of them in each light and find the color and brightness that works best for that room.
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Old 02-12-10, 11:11 AM   #4
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I completely agree about CFLs in the bathroom.

One thing to note - I have heard that part of the "Energy Star" seal of approval requires CFLs to have a specific (short) warm-up time.

Look for the Energy Star label - not all CFLs have it. I have always been trying to use energy star bulbs in bathrooms for that quick warm-up time.
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Old 02-13-10, 10:43 AM   #5
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The problem that I have with the PAR30 bulb is that it's a spot light/flood light bulb that has an enclosed reflector around it that I assume prevents them from making it an instant on bulb due to the heat that would build up and wear it out faster.
Otherwise I really like CFL's in bath rooms as the light level matches what your eyes can handle.
For other flood light bulb needs I would go with LED's as you can now get ones that should replace a 60-75 watt bulb.
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Old 02-13-10, 11:35 AM   #6
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I found that a CFL would fit in the ceiling exhaust fan in the bathroom..
It works pretty dang good.

I like it better than the Incan light-bar that my wife picked years ago.
(good for putting on make-up) It's on a dimmer, so it's not super wasteful.

We have an LED night light in the bath room for late night activities
and good light from a window during the day, so the Incan sees little use.
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Old 02-14-10, 04:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryland View Post
Otherwise I really like CFL's in bath rooms as the light level matches what your eyes can handle.
I completely agree. CFLs are great in the morning so you don't get a huge blast of light right away.

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