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#163055 - 04/29/07 08:22 PM CFLs
twh Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/04
Posts: 898
Loc: Regina, Sask.
Here is a criticism of CFLs:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2007/130307Dimwits.htm
The writer raises some interesting issues:
  • They can't be used in ovens or freezers
  • They need ventilation
  • They require more energy to manufacture
  • They have a short life if switched frequently
  • They don't fit in all fixtures
  • They contain mercury

The Energy Star site does little to dispel some of the concerns:
http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls

How many of these items are going to be a problem?

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#163194 - 05/03/07 02:50 PM Re: CFLs [Re: twh]
Sandro Offline
Member

Registered: 12/30/01
Posts: 449
Loc: Stoney Creek, ON, Canada
Heh, and like most technology, it will evolve and improve. Remember the first computer? The first TV set?

I believe CFL's are the way to go.

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#163203 - 05/03/07 06:06 PM Re: CFLs [Re: Sandro]
twh Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/04
Posts: 898
Loc: Regina, Sask.
A story about a broken CFL:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,268747,00.html

If you break a CFL on the carpet in a bedroom, for the sake of discussion, lets say in the bedroom on your own child, what do you do?

I'm pretty sure that if a customer learned that I broke a CFL and spilled mercury in their child's bedroom, I'd be paying for a professional cleaning, and a probably a hotel bill on top of it.

That's a fairly hefty liability to install a new light fixture.

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#163226 - 05/04/07 06:06 AM Re: CFLs [Re: twh]
ghost307 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 884
Loc: Chicago Illinois USA
Well, first off you have lots of tiny bits of broken glass in a room where bare feet walk around.
Beyind that, I'd vaccuum everything up VERY well and call it good.

The EPA tends to go pretty wacko sometimes...just because you can assign a number that's greater than zero doesn't always mean that there's a problem. I'm sure that when you measure the PCB levels at a site and see that they're 'zero' doesn't mean that a better meter wouldn't find some.
We're gonna end up seeing 1 atom per planet and getting in a fuss about it.

Ask Walmart and Home Depot how they handle it...I'm sure that they get broken CFL lamps in their stores all the time based on the way they handle their stock. I've never seen an EPA tent and moonsuits at a store location.
_________________________
Ghost307

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#164606 - 06/06/07 10:42 PM Re: CFLs [Re: twh]
yaktx Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/03
Posts: 286
Loc: Austin, Texas, USA
 Quote:
The writer raises some interesting issues:


They can't be used in ovens or freezers
So what? Don't use them in those places. Cars can't be driven underwater, either.

They need ventilation
Some need it more than others. Again, where this is a problem, don't use them, or change out the fixture.

They require more energy to manufacture
I've heard that claimed, and it's probably true, but who can say how much? Let's say its 5x the energy to manufacture an incandescent (I doubt it's that much). The CFL lasts about 10x as long, and use 75% less energy. Do the math.

They have a short life if switched frequently
Define frequently. 2-4 operations per day will make a negligible difference. Motion sensor lights, on the other hand, are not a good application for CFLs.

They don't fit in all fixtures
No, but they do fit in most fixtures.

They contain mercury
Yes, they do, in very tiny amounts. However, in most areas, they actually reduce the mercury released into the environment, since most utilities burn coal, which releases mercury compounds into the air. The average US resident gets 50% of their electricity from coal. This graph shows the reduction. Keep in mind this reduction applies if the spent lamp is thrown in the garbage. If the lamp is recycled (which will become easier in the future), the reduction is even greater.

I consider all of these items but the last to be non-issues. The public needs to know about the mercury, and recycling needs to be made easier, but there is no reason to panic, nor does this mean that CFLs are not a "green" technology.

Also, I do not consider PrisonPlanet to be a credible source of any sort of information whatsoever.

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#164607 - 06/06/07 10:55 PM Re: CFLs [Re: ghost307]
yaktx Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/03
Posts: 286
Loc: Austin, Texas, USA
 Originally Posted By: ghost307
Beyind that, I'd vaccuum everything up VERY well and call it good.


I wouldn't use a vacuum. This page gives instructions on how to dispose of a broken CFL.

Oh yeah, and don't even get me started on Fox News! (Once again, consider the source.)

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#164647 - 06/07/07 08:15 PM Re: CFLs [Re: yaktx]
wacked Offline
Member

Registered: 12/19/06
Posts: 33
I had a chat with a rep from Sylvania the other day concerning CFL lighting and the new legislation concerning the incandescent light bulb going the way of the Doe Doe bird. It sounds like there will not be a total ban on the incandescent, special light bulbs that can't be readily replaced will still be available ( until there is a viable alternative )

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#164651 - 06/07/07 10:11 PM Re: CFLs [Re: wacked]
yaktx Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/03
Posts: 286
Loc: Austin, Texas, USA
I expect that is true.

Some applications where there is currently no good substitute for incandescent/halogen lighting:

Automobile headlamps
Studio photography (although I've had good luck with 3500K CFLs)
Flame-tip chandelier bulbs (Anyone ever see a flame-tip CFL that didn't look like something you can buy in a sex shop?)
Any type of spotlight (at least until LEDs improve in output, efficiency, and price)
Extreme temperatures (LEDs work well in the cold, but not in the oven)

Of course, LEDs will continue to improve, and there are other solid-state lighting technologies on the horizon. Who knows? In ten years, fluorescents may be dead as a dodo.


Edited by yaktx (06/07/07 10:12 PM)

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#164878 - 06/13/07 09:29 AM Re: CFLs [Re: yaktx]
Sixer Offline
Member

Registered: 08/08/05
Posts: 264
Loc: Canada
 Originally Posted By: yaktx
Flame-tip chandelier bulbs (Anyone ever see a flame-tip CFL that didn't look like something you can buy in a sex shop?)


LOL! They are pretty ugly. I've never seen them in use in a chandelier but seeing them in the package on the store shelves is enough for me not to recommend them.

As for other applications of CFL's, they do have their place. Some fixtures just don't look right with a CFL in them - for instance one that looks better with a clear bulb in it.
_________________________
Sixer

"Will it be cheaper if I drill the holes for you?"

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#164895 - 06/13/07 04:11 PM Re: CFLs [Re: Sixer]
electech Offline
Member

Registered: 02/18/02
Posts: 113
Loc: Northern Il
"They can't be used in ovens or freezers"

"So what? Don't use them in those places. Cars can't be driven underwater, either."

I think the point is if the feel-good politicians ban them entirely, or otherwise resistrict their availability (like with special taxes), we will have a big problem. Routine replacement of CFLs that were installed in the wrong application will be more harmful to the environment, not less. Hopefully this won't happen, but were talking politicians...


"They require more energy to manufacture"

"I've heard that claimed, and it's probably true, but who can say how much? Let's say its 5x the energy to manufacture an incandescent (I doubt it's that much). The CFL lasts about 10x as long, and use 75% less energy. Do the math."

Its more than "probably" true. 10x the energy/pollution would be a good starting estimate. They cost 10 times as much (visit Menards) as incandescents. They are sold in very competitive markets, meaning the cost you pay is a reflection of the materials used and the difficulty in obtaining and/or manufacturing those materials (as opposed to cost being a funtion of some huge mark-up by a monopolist) Cost in a competitive market like this = energy and pollution. More labor results in more pollution as well. An incandescent is mainly glass, a filament, and metal base, and leaded or lead-free solder. All of these are present in the CFL, but in addition you have mercury, capacitors, inductors, diodes, resistors, a printed circuit board, insulated wire, and a plastic shell. These things require energy to produce and their production and disposal results in pollution. This is dirty stuff, and the pollution is real pollution, not just CO2.

Then there is infant mortality. When one bulb out of your four pack of incandescents is "Bad From Stock" or dies shortly after installation, you have not lost much money and the environmental impact is minimal. When one of four CFLs is BFS or dies prematurely the financial and environmental harm is much greater, since you already put many times the cost and pollution up front. The number of components, and the type of parts being used near or beyond their recomended temp ratings is likely to greatly affect CFL life. I'm sure we will see reliable data on typical use lifespan in the near future (rather than open fixture life). Without proof or independent validation, I don't accept the lifespan data provided by any manufacturer as real-world.

Also, accidental breakage is a negative for CFLs. Again, cost and pollution is put up front, so if you break a bulb you have the same cost and enironmental issues as with the Bad From Stock scenario. Not good for CFLs.

All that said, I use several at home. They make sense in many applications. They don't make as much sense in others. I'll decide which which is which, thank you very much Mr government man. I plan on replacing a couple more bulbs with CFLs - dang kids can't seem to turn a switch off when not in use.

The Foxnews story on hazardous cleanup came from here:

http://ellsworthmaine.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7446&Itemid=31

The hazardous cleanup issue was the result of the flourescent breaking over shag carpeting - can't simply sweep it up. Anyway, the negative comments about prisonplanet and Foxnews are ad hominem and are therefore losing arguments in any serious debate. Better to argue the facts.

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