Sunday, November 15, 2015

Light Bulbs and Economics

The absurdity of the new light bulbs has been a meme in popular culture for a while so I am not mining new ground here. However, recently one of our track lighting bulbs failed which caused our dimmer to burn out and it has been ten years so we decided to consider replacing all the bulbs. I headed over to my local Ace hardware store and could not find any non LED bulbs that fit my (standard) 750 W floodlight.

We have 9 of these to replace so I bought a couple of the LED bulbs at $35 / each and brought them home. The LED bulbs had less lumens (about 700) than the prior bulbs. Per the guy at the hardware store the chains like Ace and Home Depot aren't stocking the old bulbs anymore, likely for "environmental" reasons.

We decided to look it up on the internet and we could buy 6 of the older bulbs for about $45. Thus we could get 9 bulbs for the price of about 2 of the LED bulbs, and the older bulbs are brighter and look better.

I looked on the internet and there are a lot of "calculators" out there that show how long it takes to pay off moving to an LED bulb. They said LED bulbs last for 30,000+ hours while my bulbs were supposed to have a 1000 hour life. This didn't make any sense because we've had the bulbs for 10 years and use them all every day for likely 8+ hours and none of them have failed until just recently. By my math they lasted for tens of thousands of hours (at least 20,000+). In addition, our electricity bill is very small - under $40 / month... and I'm sure our refrigerator and other appliances and television consume a large portion of that usage. Those calculators are insane because I don't see the bulbs paying off even over five years and many of the analytics would show them paying off much more rapidly.

These calculators also don't take into account the fact that the LED bulbs make your house look terrible and harsh compared to the traditional lighting.

Not to beat a dead horse but I'm glad I can at least still find these bulbs on the internet and I'd recommend that you too look them up before heading over to a big chain store that is choosing not to stock them anymore.


Terry from Crown Point said...

Incandescent bulbs have that nice impressive warm glow. LEDs provide a range of temperature of light while producing very little heat (good when a home office has 7 cans with floodlights-huge difference in summertime) and CFLs are cheap for uses like closets, garages... but pulsate and can and do cause headaches and/or nausea in some people. Goodbye freedom of choice!
Alas, as with forms of energy, how much water a toilet can use per flush, the coming renaming of buildings and monuments associated with selected heretical past figures of American history... I know, I'm going :Dennisleary on this. Someday, there will probably be a Govt./taxpayer sponsored contest to un-sculpt mt. rush more. I wonder what type of bulbs they use for lighting that beauty up?

Dan from Madison said...

We just faced the same issue but found different results. Depending on how much money you want to spend, you can find bulbs that are across the full spectrum of color. The "warmer" bulbs that we went with were more up front, but we didn't want the icy cold factory type of light that you are talking about.

Carl from Chicago said...

I will also post on the LED lights that I have that are programmable they are very cool.

I don't have anything for or against LED lights I just don't like the fact that they are taking away my options.

Agreed in our condo building it made sense for a lot of our bulbs to go LED. And they do get kind of hot but that usually isn't a problem because we have high ceilings and we usually don't have them on full power.

Carl from Chicago said...

Ha ha while putting in the light bulbs we noticed that the box says "Not for sale in the USA". Maybe some black helicopter folks from the EPA will kick our doors down and take them back and fine us.