I Do So Love Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs!

January 3, 2007

About 10 years ago I wrote a manual of some sort for GE Lighting. I learned two things from that project. First, I first found out that they refer to light bulbs as “lamps”. In addition to this revelation, I was first introduced to the compact fluorescent bulb (lamp, to them). I remember I was fascinated by its curlicue shape and the fact that you could put one in and it would last years and years. It was more expensive than regular light bulbs, but, as they always do in cases such as this, they’d created an elaborate chart showing how it actually saved money in the long run. (I believe I recreated this chart in the manual.)

Despte my fascination, I never ponied up for one, mostly because I was always moving and I knew the compact fluorescent bulb (lamp, dammit!) was not going to reward me for my patience. Whoever took the apartment after me would be the lucky duck.

As noted by Seth Godin in his ode to the compact fluorescent, these days the bulbs (lamps) are a lot cheaper but they still last a long long time. And I’ve slowly adopted them into my life. The light they give off feels brighter to me and I of course change fewer light bulbs.

Where the fewer bulbs thing comes in handy is for those places where I have to stand on a chair to change a bulb. My house has a few of these, and each one has a heavyish, bowl-shaped cover over the bulb. When changing them I have to unscrew the little brass holder while simultaneously holding that big bowl cover up so it doesn’t crash down on my head. All of this makes my arms tired. Plus I’m standing on a chair the whole time, so I’m always feeling a little shaky.

In short, it’s a pain in the ass. So somewhere along the way I wised up and got the compact fluorescent bulbs and now I don’t have to climb up there so often.

The side benefit to them is that they are more environmentally-friendly, in that they consume less energy. Actually that’s a big benefit to me, but if you don’t give a hoot about global warming (it’s another balmy 50+ degree January day in Cleveland today!), the cost benefit and the decreased hassle will make you a happy camper.

e-mail me: adam@bessed.com

Adam Jusko is founder and CEO of Bessed, a Web site promising “search without spam”, thanks to human-edited search results and ongoing visitor feedback. Do a search, offer your comments, submit your site–help create the “bessed” search site in the world.



  1. […] many marketers does it take to get you to screw in a light bulb? from 12gurus (the blog), I Do So Love Compact Fluorescent LightBulbs! from adam jusko’s bessed blog, ten things i didn’t about compact fluorescent lightbulbs […]

  2. I just installed a bunch of these CF bulbs in my home. Not many people mention the color difference of these bulbs compared to standard incandescents. The CF bulbs come in ‘regular’ ‘soft white’ and ‘daylight’. The reason I installed the bulbs was to have ‘daylight’ in all rooms of my home. It makes me feel a lot better to have clear clean light, instead of the murky yellow light we are all familiar with.

  3. I have been in the lighting business for 20 years and have witnessed the evolution of the CFL. What I have found that the key to liking the light is directly associated to the brand bulb you buy. It is all about color temperature. Some brands cast a “white” light that is not easy on the eyes – what you want to look for are bulbs that truly produce 2700K.

    We sell nearly every brand out there but I can absolutely say that what you want in your house is TCP brand. TCP is the largest producer of CFL’s in the world and from our experience as a distributor; we believe they are the closest to producing true 2700K. Whether you buy them from us is your choice but it makes me sick when I go into someone’s house and their yellow walls turned green – simply because of the color temp that the CFL produce.

    Another option is Cold Cathode technology. These are lower wattage bulbs that produce a nice yellow light and come in a variety of designs. They work great in lamps that you want to leave on all the time. I have them in lamps in our house and they never go off… and I can unscrew them at any point with our burning my hand. They take a while to warm up but they are great for the environment and they cast a good light. Here is a link if you want to check them out.


    We all want everyone to convert to CFL’s or LED’s or even the newest technology Cold Cathode Lamps BUT we all need to have a good experience when we plug them in AND actually like the light output. If any of you need or want to learn more go to http://www.soslightbulbs.com then click the home icon in the center of the page – we have put some pretty informative stuff on there, even a energy savings calculator.

    I know that this sounds like I am selling BUT I want everyone to have a good experience with a conversion to low wattage CFL’s whether or not they buy them from SOS is really up to you. I think Home Depot is carrying a decent line of CFL’s that we have tested if you would prefer to buy them there. What is ultimately important is that we all try to conserve where we can and be less dependant on power companies to produce more and more energy through environmentally unfriendly means such as coal plants.


  4. they really do save you a lot of money in the long run.

    A buddy of mine, who is a teacher, came across this company that works with schools to do environmentally friendly fund raisers. Not only do the schools make extra money but they help the environment and make people more aware of global warming as well. They also offer lesson plans for teachers who are interested in teaching their students about the environment as well as lesson plans for An Inconvenient Truth with Vice President Al Gore. Their main product is compact fluorescent light bulbs which save a ton of energy and money compared with incandescent bulbs. They are called One Plant Fund raising and their website is http://www.oneplanetfundraising.com. Definitely worth checking out!

  5. Jason, or anyone,

    Isn’t “daylight”, i.e. the 5000K supposed to be easier on the eyes? I’ve just tried it for a few hours, and now have a headache. Should I have opted for the 2700K’s?


  6. 5000k is terrible on the eye’s. Always opt for 2700k or lower. Some people like the light… but most people hate it because it is pretty harsh.

    Try 2700K next time… I think you will be much happier with the result.

  7. Well, I concur, that was my personal experience with 5000K. But how is it possible when it’s closer to daylight than 2700?

  8. Yellow is much easier on the eye’s than daylight. That is why 2,700k is better for home use.

  9. I concur with Mr. Petty. I’m an early adopter, I should say tester, of light bulbs. I bought the TCP 4 watt (15 watt incandescent equivalent) torpedo bulb and the TCP 4 watt A shape bulb. Both are 2700K color temp. I also bought the TCP T2 Spring Lamp 2 watt 5100K color temp. The 5100 is horrible. It’s that greyish blueish cold and lonely looking color from sci fi flicks. The other two 2700K bulbs are not the same color as each other though so that is interesting. But the TCP bulbs are better than any other CFL bulbs I’ve seen. I ordered the 3 watt TCP torpedo bulb and the cold cathode bulb to test from Mr. Petty’s website, and I’ll compare to the current TCP bulbs I have, because they will likely be a different color slightly. I want as close to the color of a 15 watt incandescent as possible. They’re warmer and not depressing.

    I’ve also tried LED lights but they are not ready for prime time yet. They are way too dim and talk about depressing. The are sci fi lighting, as in battle ship or submarine lighting. The manufacturers need to combine the yellow LED (which I bought) with the white LED (which I also bought), on the same bulb with twice the number of LEDs per bulb, but still keeping the output low.

    One thing I used to hate with flourescents which the frosted CFLs from TCP (2700K color temp) seem to have decreased, but still exists witht he LEDs) is a strobe effect. I’m not talking about when the light first gets lit, I’m talking about after it’s warmed up and there is nothing wrong with the ballast. Regular flourescents have a super fast flicker that incandescents don’t have. If you look at the flourescents out of the corner of your eye, or blink real fast, or wave your hand in front of them with your fingers spread, maybe you’ll see what I mean, it’s like they are blinking super fast. So fast that it’s really hard to notice it. I could be insane but I think that’s the case.

    The new lamps don’t seem to do this.

  10. I actually bought some LED light bulbs for my home from this site. It’s true that LED light bulbs can’t replace CFL’s just yet. They’re more suited for directed lighting applications such as outdoor security spotlights or indoor accent lighting. They now come in warm white as well as daylight white and using a fraction of the energy of CFL’s and incandescents and last up to 20 years. They’re about equivalent to a 25W halogen. Yes – they’re not super bright – but they do the job. At the same time, who needs blindingly bright 100W halogens anyway? I got them here:
    LED Light Bulbs

  11. Only someone with a trisomic 21st chromosome would buy LED light bulbs. The light emitted by these is the most ugly light imaginable…. a sickly gray blue. It’s only rivaled by the old mercury vapor lights.

    If a company can market an LED light bulb and make money doing so, it is proof that there is money to be made by marketing shit-filled donuts.

  12. […] so last year.  And they are still gushing over CFLs!  I am really, truly, sincerely sick of hearing each and every blog writer extol their doubt turned love for them. Stop with the ”save […]

  13. SOSLightBulbs.com recently got this press release concerning mercury content in CFL’s. We thought this could be of interest to your readers.


    Use even less mercury with MaxLite’s™ low mercury compact fluorescent lamps. Reinforcing its goal of producing the lowest mercury CFLs, MaxLite™ was one of the first in the industry to participate in the National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association’s (NEMA) initiative, “Voluntary Commitment on Mercury in CFLs.” Participants in the program pledge to limit the mercury content of their self-ballasted CFLs (residential use only) with less than 25 watts to 5 mg. and those with 25-40 watts to 6 mg. per bulb. MaxLite™ CFLs utilize only 1.2 to 2.5mg of mercury per lamp; half the amount present on the tip of a ball point pen, as compared to typical CFLS containing 4 mg. of mercury.

    Always ahead of the curve, MaxLite™ has created a unique procedure to control the amount of liquid mercury in its compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). In its burner production, MaxLite™ accuracy is achieved by the utilization of a sealed tool akin to a medical injection tube. This permits defined quantities of liquid mercury to enter it each time the fluid is drawn. Then the identical amount of liquid mercury is infused into the burner. One amalgam dice is placed into the mercury control of the amalgam lamps. The amount of mercury is also fixed as the amalgam dice’s weight is controlled by amalgam manufacturers.

    The low mercury quantity is the least amount MaxLite™ deems feasible for a compact fluorescent lamp to maintain a long and productive life.

  14. CFL’s are not green, but create “dirty electricity”, an invisible pollutant that is associated with adverse health effects which range from headaches, sleep disorders, skin disease and cancers. The public is not being informed that in addition to the mercury content, CFL’s emit RF and UV radiation. Don’t confuse tube flourecent light bulbs that have diffusers to mitigate UV, which CFL’s that don’t have. Medical doctors are aware that CFL’s emit radiation and advise their pacemaker patients not use or be exposed to CFL’s. See bioinitiative.org for information concerning the biological effects of electromagnetic radition. It is ironic that Gore is an environmentalist, yet is promoting CFL’s. When will policy makers listen and learn from the scientists who are not aligned with industry? Congress was ignorant when it passed an energy bill that included a ban on incandescent light bulbs beginning in 2014. (See also Milham/Morgan 2008 study of cancer incidence in California Schools and electromagnetic exposure, and 2008 Venice Resolution at ICEMS.eu).

  15. whenever I tried to switch my regular light bulbs in my ceiling light fixture, I get a strobe light affect when i turn out the lights. I replaced the ceiling light fixture with a new one with the same effect. Someone told me that it might not be grounded correctly; I check the ground and it seems to be okay.
    Any idea why I keep getting a strobe light effect.

  16. to my previous question about strobe light effect, I forgot to memtion that I tried to replace my regular light bulbs with cfls. sorry about the confusion.

  17. I am a strong lover of LED light bulbs and replacement lamps, but they are sadly just not advanced enough yet for normal use. I use them in my living room as accent lights, but that is about all they are good for yet. For normal lighting I am using the CFLs and seeing large energy savings. Cant wait to see the LEDs become mainstream.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: