This post discusses myths about CFLs, and looks at the facts
The plan for lighting in Ireland is to ban incandescent (you know, the old 60W type) bulbs by 2009 and have us all using CFL (energy saving) bulbs. As an energy geek I get asked about energy stuff regularly, but not really about lighting. Truth is that everyone things they know it all about CFLs. Well fair enough, they have been around for years, but the fact is that no different from computers, the technology is improving all the time. Saying that the cheap CFL you bought in 10 years ago(or perhaps last year) doesn’t run the latest version of paint shop pro is dim, or slow to light up, or can’t dim, well come on… be reasonable.
So the other day a colleague pointed me to the lighting association’s website, where they have really good stuff on the latest standards and technology. So here is the short version of CFLs – Myths and Facts
Frequent Switching reduces the life of CFLs
This used to be true, but new standards demand that CFLs switch gear be rated to 3000 switched. So 1 a day, that is over 8 years. Considering the lamp is rated to 8000 hours (8 times that of an incandescent) I think that’s a reasonable lifetime by anyone’s standards.
CFLs are two big
Check this out and shut up
CFLs need to be left on for 45 minutes to make up for the energy needed to switched on.
While there might have been some truth to this in the beginning (5 minutes energy maybe), it is not true now. CFLs use about 3 seconds of energy to switch on the bulb, but that’s it.
CFLs light is cold and sterile
Modern CFLs are available in much the same colour temperatures as incandescent bulbs.
CFLs flicker at 30,000 to 50,000 hertz. This is way beyond what a human can notice. (incidentally incandescent bulbs flicker at 50 Hz with the electrical supply) If your cfl bulb is flickering, it means itsfaulty, and about the give up.
You can’t dim CFLs
That was true, but dimmable CFLs is now available
CFLs start slowly
There is some truth to this. CFLs can take 60 seconds to get up to their upper levels of lighting, but generally this problem means you are using older, or cheaper bulbs. Truth is, with CFLs, you get what you pay for.
Another point is that CFLs generally don’t blow, like incandescent bulbs do. Instead they slowly degrade over time. So you really need to change them when they are becoming dim, not wait for … well time to end…
So… in summary, if you are using older CFLs, well you can’t reasonably use them as your measure. The benefits of CFLs are well known, and why wait for the ban… change your lighting… right now…