10 reasons why banning incandescent lamps is stupid
I know this isn’t likely to go down well with many people but Australia’s banning of incandescent light globes is one of the dopiest moves I’ve seen in a long time.
There’s been nothing said about which globes will be banned, whether its a blanket ban, whether its just standard fitting types or what but with the ban expected to come into force at the end of this year, time is running out for the old style light source.
Everyone seems to be running around thinking compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are the perfect solution but that’s simply not true.
So here are ten reasons why I think banning incandescent lamps is stupid:
1. Common CFLs can’t be dimmed and the few specialised models that can be dimmed cost about $AUS20 each.
2. To get the rated life CFLs are claimed to give, you need to have the lamp switched on for a four-hour period. Turn CFLs on and off is what kills them and you won’t get the maximum rating if they’re on only for a few minutes.
3. CFLs take anywhere up to 15 minutes to reach full brightness. You also have to be careful which models you buy, otherwise you can end up with such a high-colour-temperature light that it almost borders on blue.
4. Most CFLs cannot be used outdoors – they’re not waterproof and the electronics inside them can fail if the lamp gets wet.
5. CFLs have mercury inside them – according the US government health reports, if one of these breaks, you should open your windows and close off the room for five minutes to let the mercury escape. Yep, CFLs only have a small amount but incandescents have none at all. In the US, most states recommend having a CFL collection point so that they (and their mercury) don’t just end up in landfill. In Australia, no such plan exists.
6. CFLs generate amounts of radio-frequency interference (RFI) and that can interfere with everything from TV reception to sensitive electronic instruments.
7. CFLs simply do not come in all the required fittings supported by incandescent lamps – for example, there are few if any CFLs available for small BC (bayonet cap) fittings. And then there are all the specialist fittings – this is why the “ban” needs to be clarified because the cost of having to replace fittings will well outweight any cost savings CFLs may give in reduced power consumption.
8. CFLs cost anywhere up to 20 times the price of similar-wattage incandescent lamps.
9. CFLs cannot be used in enclosed fittings – the heat produced by the lamps, even at their reduced wattage, can be enough to cause the internal electronics to fail prematurely.
10. Some CFLs can only be used “base-up” or “base-down”. The heat produced can cause at best reduced efficiency and at worst, cause the electronics to fail prematurely.
While I understand everyone’s desire to reduce greenhouse emissions, banning incandescent lamps is such a ridiculous draconian response that simply throws the baby out with the bath water.
No-one has suggested we ban plasma TVs or PS3 gaming consoles – plasma TVs can consume upwards of 500-watts and the PS3 is known to consume 360-watts of energy – and there are more power-efficient options for both of these devices too.
CFLs are seen as the “golden solution” to incandescent lamps but in reality, they’re a second-rate solution. The only thing they do well is reduce the power consumption for a given light output. But with all the other compromises we’ll have to cop as well, are CFLs really the right solution?
I’m sure I’ll generate lots of flame mail with this post but before you “flame”, I ask that you check out information on CFLs for yourself and not just regurgitate the so called “info” that’s being peddled by green groups and governments.
Look at how CFLs are manufactured, look at the fine print in how they get their long life, look at what they can and can’t do, where they can and can’t be used. Unfortunately, much of the hype surrounding CFLs fails to take into account the technical drawbacks of these devices.
- Halogen incandescent bulbs – the nicer alternative to compact fluorescent lamps
- Q&A – What energy-saver lamp wattage compares with incandescent lamps?
- LED lamps begin lighting up Australian homes
- Q&A – Can I put an energy-saver lamp in my dimmer light?
- Philips’ MASTER LED – the first commercial LED bulb
- Q&A – Why do CFLs always look blue?
- Q&A – How long should energy-saver lamps really last?
- Toshiba joins LED GLS lamp market
- Epson launches data projector with $119 replacement lamps
- Q&A – What’s the difference between LCD TV and LED TV?