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The Bridge Fairy is writing a standup comedy set... I'm not procrastinating... really!

Buy compact florescent bulbs for house (read all 6 entries…)

CF last about 10 times longer than regular light bulbs and use 1/4 of the energy. They also don’t put out as much heat as regular bulbs so save a bit on the AC in the summer. (Ever been seated at a restaurant under the track lights and felt your brain cooking?) I have compact fluorescent bulbs in about 1/2 of my lamps. When I did this serveral years ago, I noticed a $10 drop a month in the electric bill - and I don’t even use that many lights or have that big a house. Also, the oldest of these bulbs is in my bathroom. That light is on whenever I am home - it’s still going—maybe has been working for 15-18 years now? I think it was 1988 or so when I purchased it at an energy fair.

So! Goal time! I finally got my inventory done for the rest of the lamps:

I need 1 reflector type bulb PAR40- a big one - for bathroom ceiling fixture. I need 3 bulbs that will fit in PAR20 track light fixtures—smallish reflectors. I need 3 table lamp bulbs.

I have never seen a compact florescent in a PAR20 size bulb - but the PAR40 and the table lamp bulbs they sell at the local hardware store. In fact, CVS Pharmacy sells compact fluorescent table lamps now - 3 in a box for about $9.99.

I have 3 light fixtures on dimmers - I may not be able to replace the incandesent bulbs in them. CF’s do not normally work with dimmer switches. There are chandelier sized CF’s - and there are CF’s that will work on a dimmer - but not both that I know of. There are 2 chandeliers (living room and kitchen) - 5 and 8 chandelier bulbs each.

Even if I swapped out the dimmers for regular light switches, CF chandelier bulbs are about $15 each. I need 13 of them (13x$15=$195). I don’t think that is cost effective at this point in time. Especially since, I use 25 watt chandelier bulbs. CF’s take 1/4 the energy of regular bulbs—so 1/4th of 25 watts is not that much.

Let’s do some math: 13×25 watts= 325 watts x 3/4 (energy savings of CF’s vs. regular bulbs) = (I love math) = 243 watts of savings per hour. Hmmmm. At $0.08 a kilowatt/hr it would take me 4 hours to save 1 kilowatt or 8 cents so ($195/.08) x 4 = (drum roll) 9750 hours to just pay for the new bulbs. I’ll wait until the price comes down.

9750 hours mean’s I’d need to leave both chandeliers on all the time for about 2 years—to just get to the break even point. They are used, maybe an hour a day each.

The other light fixture on a dimmer switch is a track light in the kitchen with about 15 PAR20 bulbs. I can - as soon as I find some PAR20 reflector CF’s - figure out how cost effective it would be to replace that dimmer switch with a regular light switch and swap bulbs.

I am presently using 50, 30 and 20 watt halogen bulbs in there. It is very expensive to replace the halogens (about $6-8 each) and it requires a step ladder or climbing over the counter or sink. (I love the clear white light halogens put out—but PAR20 reflectors work just as well, last longer, look just almost as good and are $2-3 each.) If the CF’s cost less than $10 each, I think it will be cost effective. (15×50wattsx3/4)= 562.5 watts of savings… times $0.08 per 1000 Watts. That number $0.142 cents per hour savings, divided into the initial cost of the bulbs, $150. That comes to 1056 hours to break even.

I use this rack of lights about 4 hours a day. 1056hours/4 hours per day - in about 250 days I would of paid for the CF’s - that will last 10 times longer than regular bulbs - 20 times longer than the halogens - and use 3/4th less energy.

Not having to get out the step ladder every 3-4 weeks is worth $150 in an of itself.

OK. I am armed with my shopping list. Pope’s True Value here we come!


We did this about

four years ago. What a difference in our utility bill! When we moved houses we even changed the bulbs so that they came with us. We haven’t had one burn out yet.

When we first started I would find them at really great prices (5 for $10…) and I stocked up. But now I have 20 waiting to be installed with nothing to install them in. The lights just don’t wear out, it seems forever.

You’re going to be so very pleased!

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