Wednesday, January 03, 2007

How many bloggers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Read this First.

Ok, are you back now? Seth Godin's riff on compact fluorescent light bulbs hit a nerve. I've started using them in our house recently with mixed results. The "Soft White" style bulb provides nice light but has a delay of a good 3 seconds after you flip the switch. OK for the wallet, not for the wife. The "Bright White" style bulb installed in some other areas should really be labeled "Aliens Landing White" because that's how bright it is. I should mention that they are both designed to emulate a 60 watt bulb. But they are different brands, I had to buy them at different stores because the selection for compact fluorescent doesn't match the selection for incandescent bulbs. I don't see this kind of variation in normal bulbs, even from different manufacturers.

BUT we've got a house with odd/old wiring that's hard on lightbulb's so I'm all for long life and saving money.

Why haven't compact fluorescent taken off yet?

  • They're still more expensive and people don't changes light bulbs all that often to begin with. The value is there, it's just not obvious to people.
  • The packaging is terrible (It's a freakin' light bulb, don't pack it like you're trying to prevent terrorists from getting to them.)
  • The light pattern is not the same. I'm ok with the ugly (some would say futuristic) tube styling and in a fixture with a translucent cover they're fine, as a naked bulb in the garage, perfect, but in a lamp with a shade, they throw weird shadows out of the top.
  • They only come in regular. They don't take into account design. Our house has regular fluorescent lights, spot lights, incandescent lights, decorative fixtures with flame/candle style tops and regular bottoms and decorative fixtures with flame/candle style tops and small bottoms, whew! So I can get 2 out 5 bulb types to fluorescent. If I tried to replace decorative bulbs with compact fluorescent today, there'd be nothing left of me to finish this post.

So, I'm with you Seth, but the manufactures need to keep up the R&D even if sales are slow. Give me some more options and I'll replace some more bulbs.

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