When to replace inefficient appliances

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shawn
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Location: Ithaca, NY

When to replace inefficient appliances

Post by shawn » Thu Jun 07, 2007 5:40 pm

A web page for a local renewable store suggests:
Buy a 5-pack of CF bulbs and wait until a conventional bulb dies. Replacing a functional Edison bulb for without reason is not very treehuggerish.
Should you wait until your SUV falls apart before replacing it with a hybrid? Should you keep using your 1972 refrigerator because it still runs, even though replacing it with a new one will save enough energy to manufacture several?
A compact fluorescent costs about $1 in energy to manufacture; a tungsten bulb much less. Replacing an incandescent with a cfl will save $1 in energy within three months. If you left it in for several months, causing more CO2 and resource waste than if you changed it immediately, were you very treehuggerish?
According to Kevan Shaw, an architect in the UK, sometimes it wastes energy to switch from magnetic to electronic ballasted fluorescent luminaires before the end of life of the former, because of the energy required to manufacture the entire latter luminaire. This is the case because the difference in efficacy is 20%, and the luminaire contains kilograms of materials. A compact fluorescent weighs much less, and is at least a three-fold increase in efficacy over tungsten lights.
Put the old technology out of its misery. A lame horse can still be a companion, but a light bulb?

Greg Schubert
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Fluorescent Bulb Quality varies

Post by Greg Schubert » Tue Aug 07, 2007 8:52 am

I started using fluorescent bulbs when they cost about $15 and were supposed to last 15 years. Lately the price seems to have come down but so has the longevity.

I have made a habit of writing the date that a bulb was installed on the base of the bulb. I recently replaced a compact fluorescent dated Jan 07. :roll: That was just over six months of use. This bulb came in a package that said "5-year guarantee" on the box. As I recall, to fulfill the guarantee you have to pay to ship the bulb to the manufacturer to get a new bulb.

The bulb in question was a hallway light that my significant other insists on leaving on during the occasional week that we are away from home, but it gets very little use during other times of the year. Also I have replaced quite a few compact fluorescent lights lately, which lived a lot less than their stated lifespan. It has been my impression that the "Lights of America" brand sold by a certain colossal retailer are particular short-lived .

Yesterday, I was searching for a Consumer Reports article on compact fluorescents but it seems that the most recent article was from 1999. Can anyone offer any suggestions?

thanks,
Greg

Gregory_Schubert@fcasd.edu

shawn
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Location: Ithaca, NY

CFL reliability

Post by shawn » Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:49 am

Of the twenty compact fluorescents I have bought in the past 11 years:
The oldest ($20) is still working fine, as are all the rest, most of which I bought in 2000. Except...
One was broken in the box, but I only paid $1 for it and for several of its companions, so I didn't complain.
Had I never bought a CFL, I would be about $1000 poorer today. Return on investment: 500%
Being in a bathroom is no problem for any.
The ones at Home Depot (Lights of whatever, formerly Commercial Electric) seem to have the worst electronics: they start up more slowly, and can't handle outdoors in the cold. Even so, they're good enough for most other applications and I'm crying only until I get to the bank.
You will save hundreds if you have a light that is on 24-7-365 (we don't, but I did the calculation).
Any self-ballasted (AC 120V) CFL can light from a bicycle generator even though the generator is DC and the output potential is about 18V.
Color varies wildly. You can't complain about the color of CFLs in general because there's one out there to please anybody.
Select the fast-starters for your bathroom or any room you use frequently but for short periods.

Greg Schubert
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Compact Fluorescent lights

Post by Greg Schubert » Wed Aug 08, 2007 5:40 am

To reiterate the point of my last post, I am all for saving energy in any means possible and I am a big supporter of compact fluorescent lights.

However, unscrupulous manufacturers can create a substandard product that looks like a quality product but does not WORK light the real thing. There is great pressure on companies to provide lower prices to major retailers like WalMart and they may cut corners to do so.

I would like to see the results of a Consumer Reports article which compares different types of compact fluorescent lighting. After having problems with the Lights of America brand I bought at WalMart I decided to go with more recognized brands. It is unclear whether this strategy is a good one.

I have in my hand a General Electric brand helical 26W 120 VAC 60 Hz 390mA bulb on which I wrote JAN '07 when I installed it. I should have also written the cost of the bulb on it - I'll remember that next time. In just over 6 months, it stopped working.

I am just noticing now that it has printed on it "CAUTION: RISK OF ELECTRIC SHOCK - USE IN DRY LOCATIONS ONLY. NOT FOR USE IN LUMINAIRES CONTROLLED BY A DIMMER OR TOTALLY ENCLOSED RECESSED FIXTURES. MADE IN CHINA."

While the fixture in which this particular GE bulb was located did NOT have a dimmer switch, and it was NOT recessed, it DID have a glass fixture over it and that may have been the problem in this particular case. The outside temperature was in the 90's and we do not turn the AC on often, especially when we are out of the house, so leaving this CF bulb on continuously inside a glass fixture for a week may have caused it to fail by overheating.

STILL, I would like to make sure I am getting the optimal performance by purchasing bulbs with the best track record.

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