Compact fluorescent lights likely to cost much more than they save

CFLs contain mercury. If one breaks in your home, Kazman says, EPA guidelines suggest you open windows and leave the room for at least a quarter of an hour before trying to clean up the mess. And for God's sakes don't use a vacuum, which could disperse the poison into the air. Even when they're intact, U.S. News happily tells us, "the bulbs must be handled with caution. Using a drop cloth might be a good new routine to develop when screwing in a light bulb."

I really wonder whether people have thought of these bulbs being used in real world use. How will be dispose of them? Will people actually keep them on for 15 minutes after they have been turned on? Suppose that you just want to temporarily turn on the light when you go into a room. What about the time costs of people having to come back a second time to turn it off? What about the costs of people's time waiting for these lights to warm up? What about the fact that people might have to turn on more lights because these new bulbs don't produce as much light? This has to be one of the dumber regulations in a long time.

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Blogger Dad29 said...

They're OK for selected applications--for example, if you have a lamp or two which is lit 24x7 around the house (I have 3 or 4 of them...)

As to disposal protocols: maybe 1/3rd of users will actually follow them.

1/01/2008 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and don't forget all those electronic timers, light dimmers and X10 systems which can't accept 99% of the CFL bulbs out there. Got a porch light with an energy saving night-only photoeye? Forget it.

1/01/2008 3:19 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Thanks, Dad29 and Anonymous.

1/01/2008 5:19 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

I'm predicting an increase in injuries during cold weather. I have three CFLs installed in a pole barn. During cold weather they don't work worth a lick. They take forever to warm up to full brightness, if they ever do before I'm done in there. I foresee a lot of older people and people with poor eyesight injured in garages, outside porches, and other unheated places because of dim or non-existent lighting.

1/03/2008 1:29 PM  

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