Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Finally Seeing the Light

So the ceiling fan and bathroom vanity bulbs have been burning out left, right and center around the Den recently. I put the last one I had on hand into a fan yesterday, and bang – another one out this morning.

Dang. But not surprising, as we use the ceiling fans for about 85% of all the lighting in this house and are generally still rambling around at midnight every night. So I said to myself, said I, “Self! Why don’t we look into those fluora-whatz-a-name-o-dems for replacements…”

If somebody wants to do a great service to the eco-Nazi “If Everybody Would Replace Just One (1) Lightbulb With Fluorescent We Could Save The World” movement, they could put together a fact sheet that says, “Click here for ceiling fan replacement suggestions…click here for regular old light bulbs…click here for vanities…If the package you’re trying to replace says “Medium Base / A15”, click here…”

It should not have taken me over an hour to buy a set of @*^&@ing ceiling fan and vanity light bulbs, people. I am used to going to WalMart and grabbing a case of the danged things off the shelf. It is fast, and easy, and cheap. These fluorescent deals are going to make me crazy. Their shapes aren’t readily identifiable as being “my” bulbs. Their prices are shocking. And given the shocking price, I really don’t want to take a risk on buying bulbs that might not be the right fit for my Medium Base, A15 ceiling fan bulbs…

About two seconds before I was going to give up with a loud and vulgar tirade, I finally found them. And bought them. And then let out a loud and vulgar tirade about their cost compared to the standard bulbs at WalMart.

Of course, the cheap standard bulbs have also been burning out every eighteen seconds. Well. That’s an exaggeration. They have been burning out “constantly” because they are “constantly” being left on. I could make a full-time career out of turning off all the lights that get left on around here. Right now, glancing down the hall, I note that one ceiling fan (three 25 watt bulbs), the Denizen bathroom vanity (six 25 watt bulbs) AND the light in Captain Adventure’s room (60 watt bulb) are cheerfully adding their yellow glow to that provided by the @*^&@ing SUN, WHICH IS UP IN THE SKY PROVIDING US WITH LIGHT AND HEAT AND THEREFORE I SEE NO NEED FOR ALL THESE @*^&@*^ING LIGHTS TO BE ON DOING THE SAME…

…excuse me for a moment…{…stomp, stomp, stomp…} {click!, click!, click!}

OK, I’m back. Geez. I yell. I stamp my feet. I carry on. I make them go back upstairs and turn them off. But, along with putting empty Capri Sun wrappers in the trash can and bringing their plates to the counter to be washed, the ‘turn off the lights when you leave the room’ war will likely continue raging right up until the minute they leave the Den for their new lives as professional light-burning slobs.

Anyway. According to theory, these bulbs last up to seven times longer, produce the same amount of light using a fraction of the electricity and without generating a quarter the heat – important in the summer, thank you very much.

We shall see. And also, we are fascinated by odor eliminating light bulbs. Seriously. I just can’t say it with a straight face. Can you imagine the conversations you’d have at parties?!

“My goodness, what interesting bulbs you’ve chosen for this bathroom vanity!”

“Yes. They’re odor eliminating light bulbs!”

“I, uh, oh, uh, really? How…interesting…” {backs away from insane person who thinks her light bulbs will eliminate odors…}

I almost have to get some just for the conversational possibilities…


Amy Lane said...'s totally worth it--we too go through a light bulb every fifteen seconds...except for the flourescent ones in my bedroom ceiling fan which have been with us for quite some time...

And you know--you could run a very tricksy home business with the light bulb thing..

Christi said...

You might not want to stock up on a lot of CF bulbs for the ceiling fan, until you see how the first one works out. CFs don't do well in some fixtures, and I think ceiling fans are one of them due to the vibration.

I know we've got an enclosed-globe ceiling light that we can't use a compact florescent in - it heats up too much and doesn't last long. Sad, since it's one of our lights that's on 99% of the time.

Jeanne said...

Light bulbs are my personal bane. In this 1960's house (with original fixtures, I might add), it's a challenge to remove the fancy glass concave platter cover to get to the bulbs and it requires a ladder. I just replaced two of the three burnt-out bulbs in the fiber/computer room fixture. The next day, I flicked the switch to hear POP. Yup. Number 3 went. Mad.

If it's any consolation, the Denizens will learn (hopefully) to shut off the lights once they have to pay for the electric bill themselves. (It worked for me. Sorry, Mom...)

wrnglrjan said...

I, too, cringe at the cost of those jobbies, but they really do last waaaaaay longer. The ones in our kitchen (the lights on most often, like probably 16 hours out of most days) have been replaced once in the almost 3 years we've been in this place.

The only thing I'm not crazy about is that you turn them on and they come on, but it's kind of dim. After a few minutes you realize they're at regular brightness, but when you first turn them on there's this moment of wondering whether you missed a switch or something.

Oh, and we got (relatively) good prices at Costco on ours.

ellipsisknits said...

wrnglrjan -
If yours aren't coming on right, you probably got an off brand or a bad batch or something. We got a couple of different varieties when I got my first apartment, some of which were finky and flickery and annoying and were disposed of post haste, and some of which we have been faithfully taking with us through three apartments now.
Unfortunately, I've no idea how to tell which ones are 'the good ones' from looking at the box.

Jen said...

We bought some energy savers and I hates them! We put them in the kitchen and they're so dim for the first few minutes I want to scream. When I wants light I wants it NOW. Not in 2 or 3 minutes.

Jen said...

p.s. Bet those odor eliminating bulbs would be no match for my husband. heh

Unknown said...

For a ceiling fan, you may get better results from a incadescent bulb labeled as a ceiling fan bulb. Their filaments can handle the vibration from the fan.

As for CF bulbs, I've found good prices and shapes that fit into most fixtures at Ikea, of all places. We use Ikea CF bulbs in the bedroom, and as the overhead lights in the hallways and closets burn out, we're switching those over to the same 15 watt CF.

Any CF bulb by Lights of America is cheap Chinese crap. The circle lamps in particular marketed by Lights of America are an old design that doesn't last. (GE tried it 25 years ago and dumped it.)

The D or B shaped bulbs that snap into a screw-in ballast work better, but they don't fit some lamp shades.

My dad sold for GE before he retired, so we tried quite a few compact flourescent bulbs many years ago and it's only now that I've gone through the stash that he got for me when he retired.

It would probably break his heart for him to see a box of Phillips bulbs in the pantry, but if he could get a friend to write off a case of bulbs as *cough* defective, I'd put them to good use. :)