Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Good Riddance!

OK - back to frivolity.

Like everybody else, we have been progressively replacing our traditional (tungsten filament) light bulbs by more-economical & maybe more-ecological fluorescent ones, like this.

Initially reluctant because of the cost, size, weight, light quality & slow start of the fluo bulbs, we have had little choice, since the old bulbs have simply been removed from the market, starting with the biggest & brightest.

Admittedly, fluo bulbs have improved recently.
The cost is now reasonable.
Light quality is OK (with the right choice of color temperature).
Size can still be a nuisance.
Start-up time remains unpredictably long from bulb to bulb, but is always dismal & often very dismal.
Cold performance is bad & apparently always will be.

For these reasons, we have continued to use (from a small stock) tungsten bulbs for cold situations (outside) & for short-term situations where the start-up time really hurts (loos & corridors).

I have been watching the progress of LED bulbs with interest.
From being exotic, expensive & very limited in power, they have slowly crept into feasibility, starting from the lowest power applications.
Several years ago, I got a 1 Watt night-light.
That involved an internet search of strange sites, then shipping from Hong-Kong.
Last year, I found a 3.5W 250lm bulb (OK for a bedside lamp) in the local supermarket for a reasonable price.
Last week, I bought a 13W 1000lm bulb (OK for the dining room) in Ikea for €9.99.
They also have a 10W 600lm bulb at €6.99 & a 6W 400lm bulb at €2.99.

Still slightly oversize & overweight, these bulbs are otherwise very satisfactory, with good light quality (for me) & instant start-up.
They pay for themselves very quickly compared with tungsten bulbs.

So I shall not be buying any more fluorescent bulbs from now on - just LEDs.

The temptation soon will be to also replace the new fluo bulbs by LEDs!
But they last so long...
And have to be disposed of properly due to the mercury they contain.
Soon we will look back on fluos as a wasted journey.
And maybe an ecological error too.

All the LEDs I see are made in China.
Do we need a European initiative to make light bulbs again?

Parting thot: "Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence." - Lin Yutang

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