Monday, March 3, 2008

Why aren't people buying CFL bulbs?

There was an article in USA Today, The shape of lights to come? Not everyone's buying it, which discusses the reasons why despite all mandates and publicity people are still refusing to buy CFL bulbs. Here are a few reasons:
  • They don't start out at full brightness. The bulbs can take up to a minute to reach full glow.
  • They're temperature-sensitive. If it gets much below 30 degrees, they won't start up very quickly. CFL bulbs also burn out quicker if they're in a hot environment such as inside a light fixture. If you put it in an enclosed fixture, maybe it will last 3,000, not 10,000
  • One size does not fit all. The more light a CFL puts out, the bigger it must be. The CFL equivalent of a 60-watt bulb is tiny. The 120-watt equivalent is bigger and won't fit in many lamps and fixtures
  • Many CFL bulbs don't work well with dimmer switches and three-way light fixtures. When used with a dimmer switch, CFL bulbs typically will dim to about 20% of their full intensity and then cut out. When used in a three-way light fixture, many CFL bulbs will pop, hiss and buzz.
The article doesn't refer to the environmental hazards of having a mercury-laden hot bulb break in your house. Or to the hassle of disposing of CFL bulbs.
I see this as a basic matter of choice. Currently, it's estimated that 10% of households have CFL bulbs. Congress is now mandating everybody to use these bulbs. It's not enough that they want to tell you what school to go to, what food to eat and what car to drive, now they tell you how to light up your house.