Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Going Green but Anti-CFL

First, I apologize for not posting sooner. I've been knocking down a lot of deadlines, and when I'm on deadline, the world pretty much goes away for me.
I want to rant a little about CFL bulbs, but first I want to provide my "green" bona fides, so that I don't just sound like some anti-environmental troglodyte. I drive a Prius. I fill only one 32-gallon trash can a month. I have 30 solar panels on my roof. I just bought a new washer and dryer even though my old ones are still working because the new ones are much more energy- and water-efficient. Ditto the dishwasher. Now I have to save up for the new refrigerator.
But CFL bulbs. Aaarggghhh! I can't stand the things. And neither can a lot of our pets. REmember those old "traditional" flourescent, and how they flickered and hummed? Well, the new CFLs do that, too, but they do it at a different rate. It isn't apparent to most humans. But the hum is smack dab in the middle of the cat's hearing range, and within most dog's as well. And, because my hearing range is a bit abnormal for humans, I think I hear them right at the edge of my hearing. In any event, they drive me crazy. I tried one in my bedside lamp and it lasted two nights before I put the old incandescent bulb back in.
Okay, most of you probably won't have the problem I have with them. But they've had a really awful effect on some pets. Sudden behavior problems appeared when CFL bulbs were brought into the house. Cats and some dogs became anxious or aggressive. The problems disappeared when the bulbs were replaced.
And that's while the bulbs are working as intended. You probably know that in order to fluoresce, they contain mercury. So you don't want to drop one. You could find yourself a newly-minted toxic hazard site. And you certainly don't want any of your pets interacting in any way with a broken CFL bulb.
I really can't stand the darned things, and if the legislation outlawing incandescent bulbs really does come into effect in the U.S., I guess I'll be smuggling them in from Canada. Or maybe by then LED bulbs will be ready for use. I have an LED fixture in the kitchen, and it's been performing well for a couple of years now. The LED bulbs that are available now only go up to the equivalent of 50 watts, so not enough to be really useful, and I've had problems with them burning out really quickly in fixtures. So they're not here yet (other than for little things like Christmas lights), but I hope they will be soon. I'd hate to have to become an international criminal to satisfy my need for safe lighting for myself and my pets.

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