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CFL bulbs

Post in 'The Green Room' started by RNLA, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. RNLA

    RNLA Minister of Fire

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    Hey BG I think the metal stuff still gets a bit moist but the other stuff stays a fair bit drier. For what it is worth this crappy old garage is only temporary, I am glad to have it but it is just about as close to nothing as you can get. I burn two 60-75 watt bulbs 24/7 and it just barely keeps things dry. I am all for more efficient ways of doing things. I am on my way to getting things done but I wish they could do something smart to help us receive new technology like keeping the cost down to near the regular bulbs. I would run the CFLs and or the LEDs in all the sockets if they were inexpensive. My current situation is only an example of why some people use regular bulbs.

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  2. henkmeuzelaar

    henkmeuzelaar New Member

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    Using old-fashioned, resistive light bulbs to heat fully enclosed spaces without windows (garages, storage cabinets, engine compartments, etc) always has made a lot of sense to me.

    First of all, it is hard to buy a cheaper 60-500 W electric heater.

    Secondly, it produces light so you can see what you're doing.

    Thirdly, it can be readily thermostatted, time-switched or dimmed.

    Fourthly, you can easily aim it at some surfaces you would like to keep just a little warmer than the ambient air and,

    finally, it is a highly efficient way of heating (where else is the energy produced going to go??).

    If the old bulbs are going to be phased out I plan to pick up a basket full of the larger ones. Presumably, there should be some pretty good deals around by then.

    Henk
  3. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Interesting, I have been using a lot of CFL for years and have learned that they come in lots of "colors". For reading and general lighting I like a Kelvin temperature around 3800, sometimes call bright white... daylight is too hot/blue for me at around 6500 degrees Kelvin. It is sometimes hard to find the temperature on the package. In any case, don't discount CFLs because you don't like the color.

    I use a small wattage reflector bulb on my radial arm saw and sometimes us it to speed up gluing on small parts. I just bend the flexible mount so the bulb is close to the object. I think it is a 75 watt bulb, but it really heats small objects.

    I don't consider resistive heat a good way to get heat from electricity, but I am spoiled by running a geothermal heat pump. Still, if I want temperatures over about 100 degrees Fahrenheit a tungsten bulb is a easy way to get it on a focused object.

    I may stockpile a few tungsten bulbs myself, when do they go off the market?
  4. henkmeuzelaar

    henkmeuzelaar New Member

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    Yeah, I know it is a bit unorthodox. However, for windowless spaces that just need a bit of heating to prevent freezing, etc., it is 100 % effective and provides all the control benefits I mentioned plus providing "free" light.

    What is there not to like about it? Please elaborate.

    Henk
  5. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Sorry, I didn't mean to oppose the light bulb heater idea. I have seen over the year in hotels the use of overhead bulbs to provide heat while drying off from a shower/bath. My comment about efficiency is I am spoiled by a COP of 3-4 for heat pumps. That 3 to 4 times as much heat as a resistive source. Of course, one needs the big investment of a heat pump, which I have already made for my house. We do some "spot" heating with resistive heat in the bathrooms and in a back/side room that tends to run a little cool. These heaters are more in the 750+ watt.

    I think you made a good point on having high wattage bulbs on hand for special needs heating, not specifically for light.
  6. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

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    Too failure prone for freeze prevention in my opinion. Light bulbs burn out. For critical applications I would use some sort of low wattage commercial heater.

    If it had to be light bulbs, it would be safest to run several lower wattage bulbs in parallel, checking for a burned out bulb every now and then.
  7. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Heat + Light would = co-generation which could work well for some applications, but tough in a seasonal climate.
  8. henkmeuzelaar

    henkmeuzelaar New Member

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    Running multiple light bulbs in parallel makes a lot of sense, of course. Chicken farmers incubate thousands of eggs with large arrays of light bulbs in order to provide carefully regulated temperature environments. Although this distributed set-up is probably fairly immune to the occasional loss of a bulb here or there, I also suspect that they may have learned another old trick: namely to operate at slightly lower voltages than those for which the bulbs were designed....

    Whereas a typical incandescant light bulb is said to have an average operational lifetime of only 1,000 hours or so, so-called "long-life" bulbs are simply being operated a handful of volts below their design voltage in order to achieve average blifetimes around 10,000 hours. Empirical lamp re-rating rules, such as specified on Wikipedia for instance, show that incandescant lamp lifetimes increase by as much as 4,000 times by halving nthe operational voltage whereas light output diminishes only by a factor 20. In fact, there are some famous incandescant light bulbs in the USA that have been burning 24/7 for over 100 years (at suitably reduced voltages and light output levels)!

    IMHO, the following practical scenario may have a lot of merit for keeping enclosed, nearly windowless spaces heated at relatively low temperatures:

    Take two 300 W incandescant light bulbs and connect them to 110 V ac IN SERIES. With the total resistance now being doubled the current should be halved (according to Ohm's Law), resulting in only 1/4 total energy output (i.e. 150 W instead of 600 W), and the lamps (at 55 Volt each) producing only 5 % of the original light output (i.e. equivalen to that of a 30W bulb at 110 V), which should just be enough to keep the room, garage or storage cabinet modestly well lighted.

    Although lamp rerating rules now predict a lifetime of hundreds of years, let's just say that they should last a long time (since other construction parameters probably will become limiting factors, instead).

    Henk
  9. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

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    Why would you run the bulbs in series when a failure of either bulb would kill the string? Even if they are running on greatly reduced individual voltages, a failure can still occur. Today's typical import bulb has a really poor base. A slight bit of vibration, or corrosion, or what have you, and the bulb goes out -- taking its series connected buddy with it.
  10. henkmeuzelaar

    henkmeuzelaar New Member

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    One approach does not rule out the other.

    Greatly increasing the lifetime and replacement cost is most important IMHO. Once you have long lifetimes, the need for backups is greatly reduced. Do you have backups for every electric heater? Yet, these electric heaters ONLY have average lifetimes in the 30,000 - 50,000 hour range....

    Instead of providing a fully redundant second set-up, simpler options maybe either to rig a single 150 W bulb with one of those cheap photocell bases (which makes it come on as soon as the light of the primary set-up goes out) and/or to trigger a central alarm.

    Henk
  11. RNLA

    RNLA Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the encouragement, my use of traditional bulbs is temporary at best but it is nice to see that my old buddy was right. I am just using them to take the edge off. We are not talking critical scientific temperature here. The new garage will be fully insulated and well lit. I am pissed that the real light bulbs are going away though. In the same train of thought I am also equally pissed that some guy working at ACE feels the need to maul me when I walk in the door!
  12. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    The driver of the move to outlaw "traditional" bulbs is the environmental movement extremists.... a.k.a. the Obama administration and its appointed regulators. If this move had been left to the Congress, e.g., Cap and Trade, we'd not be losing the tungsten filament bulbs. Still, the true conservatives, such as me, have been using CFL bulbs for years to save $$$ on the electric bill. I also note most, if not all, of the CFL bulbs create a hazardous material disposal problem which isn't addressed in the outlawing of the traditional bulbs. Government gone a muck!
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    WhitePine: Sorry, I inadvertently deleted your post instead of posting a new comment to this thread. This is the deleted post in bold:

    Those environmental extremists were Democratic and Republican members of Congress and that seriously green tree hugger/eco terrorist G.W. Bush. It’s a law from 2007, not a regulation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase_out_of_incandescent_light_bulbs


    Let's keep the politics out of this going forward ok?

    PS: Recycling centers are being setup for disposing of CFLs. We can do it at our local electric utility office. Also, this change will result in a major reduction of coal burned for power. Coal is a very significant source of mercury vapor in the air we all breathe. I would rather return mercury to the ground than suspend it in the atmosphere, wouldn't you?
  14. henkmeuzelaar

    henkmeuzelaar New Member

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    Jerry, my understanding is that here in the USA no particular electrical lamp technology is being "outlawed"; all that is happening is that the efficiency standards are being raised.

    Current incandescent lamp efficiency is so ridiculously low (only 2.0-2.5 % of the electrical energy used is producing useful light, the rest is heat) that it almost breaks "truth in advertising" laws! What is really being sold here are space heaters that provide a bit of light on the side.

    Especially in hot climates you can pretty much add up the total wattage of the lamps burning in the house and add that to your air conditioning btu requirements (i.e. 3412 btu per kilowatt per hour). In short, you pay twice for that wasted energy!! In cold climates, of course, incandescent lamps can do what they do best, namely work as space heaters, as discussed earlier in this thread.

    So, now it is up to the incandescent lamp industry to improve their product. After all, since Edison discovered 130 years or so ago that carbon filaments made from bamboo (or was it coconut?) fiber lasted 1200 hours, we seemed to have made preciously little progress! If American ingenuity can come up with a more efficient incandescent lamp, all the world will beat a path to our door again!

    Henk
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  16. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

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    This is an excellent point that even the CFL advocates frequently overlook.
  17. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the refinement of "our" understanding. Not sure I "buy" it all, but as everything government, it is too complicate and likely inefficient.

    I agree ingenuity and creativity are key to the USA economic growth, but I hold little hope that will produce a more efficiency in a bulb using a hot element to create light. In fact I hold little hope that is forthcoming anytiime soon.

    As for recycling, it is one of the best kept secretes around here, how about where you live. Have you ever seen a sign at the Home Depot (Walmart....) CFL sales display that even warns you that the bulbs should (let alone must) be handled as hazardous material. How about a bold print sign waring how to handle a CFL if you happen to accidentally break one. What percentage of the CFL are disposed of "correctly"? I'd bet on less than 10%, maybe less than 2%.

    The good news is CLFs last a long time and even though I have been using them widely (with some criticism from my wife, however as I've moved away form the red toward blue temperature the complaints have diminished) I have only a few in my recycle container. I will, of course, try to take them to a proper recycle center when: 1) I know where that is and 2) I'm going that direction for other purposes to lower my CO2 rom driving one of my 4 cylinder small cars.
  18. henkmeuzelaar

    henkmeuzelaar New Member

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    Thanks for the kind words. However, I think I know why CFLS advocates don't speak much about their advantage here. It's probably a case of "several times nothing is still nothing". In other words, even though CFL bulbs are 3-5 times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, that only means that 90 % of the energy still ends up as heat......

    With the latest LED lamps, the hope is that the nonluminous energy loss can be reduced to about 75% or so, if I deciphered the jumbled industry data correctly.

    However, the long-term future of solid state light sources looks pretty bright, I think. When I started working with gas lasers in the seventies, the world of physics was rocked by the announcement of a new type of solid state (LED-related) laser that produced MORE light energy than the amount of electric energy being used. It did so by effectively COOLING its immediate environment!

    Although lasers tend to make very poor sources for general lighting and a zillion other problems need to be resolved as well, it does show that the laws of physics do not forbid in any way the development of electric lamps -- possibly solid state-based -- with very high (super)luminous efficiencies.

    Henk

    edit:
    Upon rereading this post I realized that my remark about CFLs still wasting 90% of the energy (which I believe to be true) can be misleading in that the 90% loss is now only 9/10 of a 3-5 times lower electric energy flow (for equivalent light output to incandescent bulbs). In other words, the total energy loss is only around 20% or so of the equivalent incandescent bulb energy loss. HM
  19. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    I've had poor/unacceptable results from the few LED built to screw into light sockets. They all failed in only few 10s of hours. I do see application in upscale automobiles...at least tail lights and parking lights. We'll see how that works, if anyone reports on it. I do not have any personal data to go on. While they were working the light output to my eye (not a scientific measurement) was very poor compared to the claims.
  20. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    I used edison socket leds to light my glass block bar, three years plus with no failures, probably 20 or so leds per bulb. I don't recall where I got them, some place I found online, I can look and see if someone is interested. The bar is only lit at night as a night light mostly, I have red white and green that I change up when I feel like it (access is from the basement). I've also learnd to save receipts with the cfl's, most have a guaranty and I've had makers send me replacements no question if the bulbs fail quicker than stated.
  21. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    I kept receipts on the LED bulbs, they were from Walmart. That's how I was able to keep my risk down while trying them. I purchased one and got free replacements. Best I can recall I may have taken a cash refund when I gave up. They still sell them, makes me wonder if I had a one-in-a-million failure experience. The bulbs were made up of many, don't recall, bulbs connected in series, I'm sure, as each bulb can use only about 1 volt. I have no information on any enclosed electronics to deal with the low voltage and current needs of a LED. I was disappointed, I was hoping LEDs would give me the equivenent of 6 or better times lighting efficiency over incandescent bulbs. Later I learned that LEDs don't produce more lumen per watt than do CFL. The packaging would suggest otherwise. I don't have the packaging but recall it claimed something like a 40 Watt bulb equivalence at 5 watts consumed.

    Hey, I'm sold, give me a bulb that uses no power and lights like a 100 Watt bulb and they'll be used throughout my house.
  22. RNLA

    RNLA Minister of Fire

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    Thanks BeGreen, I was never intending this to be a political thread. I am the OP and I wish to inform all that I am here for the information and experiences of those who use the CFLs and to point a bit of customer relations humor at the goofy guy at ACE hardware. :) I realize that politics will rear it's head in the most inconvenient places. But in my little thread? :roll:
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Politics gone. Wish I had this power at some town hall meetings.
  24. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    But, you can still heat your home with electrical resistance heat, no? So, if you had enough light bulbs....

    One size doesn't fit all. I'm sure there are some places around (in Canada?) with low electric prices; not sure why they have to also conform.
    Seems to be like the regulations developed for everyone on low water use fixtures, which just seems to me because a bunch of people like to live in arid places.
  25. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    We have had pretty good luck with the CFL lights, they have slowly corrected the color rendering issues. Once they get the freight ape handling situation taken care of there should be less new bulb mortality.

    However I find it absolutely ridiculous removing the old standby lamps from use.

    As long as electric heat is being pushed then the house of cards needs its foundation perturbed.

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