Energy Saving Bulbs

Energy Saving BulbsI finally got round to replacing my lightbulbs with energy savers. I’m not particularly subscribed to the whole climate change thing however, I do believe everyone has a responsibility to use less energy, create less waste, and recycle more where they can. Basically, if we can we should. I also thing industry should do more to relieve the burden from individuals. If nothing else, the panic of climate change is starting to make industry do that. For example, my frozen peas now come in packaging that only takes 3 years to breakdown in a landfill as opposed to the 100 years that the previous packaging takes ( I only know this because it says so on the packaging! ) Now, although placing it in landfill is still not ideal, the massive reduction in time is a good start and involves no change from consumers.
So back to the bulbs… I was thinking that I really should change all my lightbulbs and started looking into it. On the whole it’s a relatively painless task; you can replace most normal bulbs pretty easily, and there are a number of different looking bulbs depending on whether they are to be on show or not.

The first problem I had was size… many of the energy savers a bigger and I have a few light fittings where the bulbs wouldn’t fit. However, I also found that many of the bulbs had a removable cover that makes it look less like a fluorescent light and more like a normal bulb. Removing the cover makes the bulb fit.

Second problem is spotlights… energy saving spotlights are hard to come by depending on the size. I need R50’s and R63’s – R80’s were easy to find! I tried an R63 and it didn’t work. Also, many of these spots don’t work in a downlighting situation

Third problem is dimmers, the majority of energy savers do not work with dimmer switches. You can get them, but only as standard shape. So not only do you need to change the bulbs, but you also need to consider how you use the light. For example, all the lights in Rebekah’s room are downlighting spots which are on a dimmer. We use the dimmer to allow us to control the light during the night. So ultimately we need to remove the dimmer and replace it with a bedside lamp that is either much lower wattage or a special dimmer bulb.

Halogens… there is a solution but again not for dimmable and not where size is an issue.

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3 Replies to “Energy Saving Bulbs”

  1. Another problem is that energy-saving bulbs need some time to ‘warm-up’. If you have a light in a spare room/walk-in cupboard, then you typically switch it on, look for what you want, and switch it off again. By that time the energy-saving bulb is not even on full strength… And it can’t be good for them to be switched on and off within such short time either.

    There are many complicated choices… A bit like programming, where you can optimise for memory or speed, but not usually both.

    Another option I was thinking of is movement sensors, so that we don’t illuminate the whole house all the time, but only those rooms which are actually in use. I think you can get some that you can attach between the bulb and the fitting. But then they might use more energy that you’re actually saving by monitoring movement.

  2. The warm up time hasn’t proved to too much of a problem as the are almost instant but do take a while to get brighter. Rebekah has complained that the downstairs toilet light is too slow, but how much light do you need to take a leak? Also, having kids, a lot of the lights are on all the time anyway! 🙂
    I agree, in a cupboard situation the lights may not prove ideal, but then I would say that if 90% of your bulbs are energy savers is it such a bad think to use an ineficient one in a place that doesn’t get used that often?
    That say, hopefully new lights will come online that solve speed, size, and dimmer problems… they need to in order to convert more people. At that point you could just stop selling the old ones.

  3. I read somewhere on-line (I seem to remember it was a reliable source), that the old style light bulbs are to be phased out in the next few years, so clearly the change for everyone is inevitable. I replaced all the lights in our house and the outside lights with energy saving ones late last year, it cost me a little over £90. I since found out that being on working family tax credits, I could have got a ‘Warm Front’ grant to replace them all for free. I also fitted a new high efficacy combo boiler 18 months ago and discovered that I could have had that replaced for free too under the same grant 🙂

    I have been on an ‘energy saving’ drive for the past two years, including having the walls insulated two years ago. (also a free grant option now)

    Just taking the outside lights as an example. I used to be using 580 watts when I had them all turned on, where as now its down to 88 watts and its actually brighter!

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