How many of you remember when laws were instituted in 2007, to gradually phase out old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs, and replace them with the more environmentally friendly CFL’s or LED ones? You can still get incandescent lights bulbs, but the 60 watt ones are gone, and the rest, in order to be sold, have to meet tough government standards for energy efficiency. The main reason, incandescent bulbs are being eliminated is that they’re considered to be inefficient, and incompatible with today’s modern world. Do you know what’s really scary? That sounds exactly like me. Just ask my wife, and she’ll tell you that I’m outdated, extremely inefficient, going the way of the dinosaurs, and often useless. Do you think I should be replaced? Don’t answer that – I think we already know the answer.
A few months ago, I began to change all the old incandescent light bulbs in my house to the new CFL (compact fluorescent bulbs), or the LED (light emitting diode) ones. Of course, I had to remortgage my house, drain my savings, and raid my son’s college fund to afford them. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed the price of them have dropped, but they’re still out of the reach of many households. I have a question. What if you’re poor, and can’t afford the cost of these new, more efficient light bulbs? Do you stock up on flashlights and candles, and go to sleep before nightfall? I did notice one thing, after doing my small part to save the environment, and ensure the future of this planet for my children and grandchildren. My once bright, well-lit, and cozy home, now resembles a dark and forbidding cave. Within a few weeks after the changeover, a bear had moved into the spare bedroom, and there’s dozens of possibly rabid bats, roosting on my ceiling fan. The good news is, I don’t get many door-to-door salesmen anymore, and I’ve eliminated my mosquito problem.
Many experts who study the natural sciences seem to have a consensus that the new, more energy-efficient light bulbs, last longer, give off less heat, are better for the environment, and produce the same quantity and quality of visible light, as the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. I’m all for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from electric power plants, increasing energy savings, stemming the inevitable tide of global warming, and helping to save those adorable polar bears. I just don’t believe that the new light bulbs are just as bright. I did an experiment before installing all my new CFL light bulbs. I put an old incandescent bulb in one lamp, and a new bulb in another, and stood them on either side of the room. Within minutes, moths were circling the one with the old light bulb, while the CFL one was so dark, I’m surprised a vampire wasn’t sitting beside it, reading the daily newspaper.
An electrical engineer from MIT, with a head as big as a beach ball, and twenty advanced degrees in everything from physics to the principles of electrical generation, and conductivity; could spend hours explaining the new light bulbs. Even then, I wouldn’t believe them that the new ones give off as much light. The good news is, we may just help our poor, furry, white, endangered friends to the north, in their valiant struggle for survival in an ever-changing ecosystem. The bad news is, the new CFL bulbs are so dim, and bereft of bright light, we probably won’t see the polar bears sneak up – and eat us!
I read that one of the benefits of the new CFL and LED bulbs, is that they save energy by giving off, virtually no heat. If you touch them, they remain cold to the touch, even when on for hours. They also say that the energy used by the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs produced only 5% light, while 95% went to the production of heat, which was lost to the environment. I have two questions to ask. Have you noticed that most of the United States has been experiencing unbelievably cold and bitter weather for the past month? Have you also seen the rapidly rising cost of heating oil and natural gas over the same time-frame? Sometimes when moneys a little tight; those old incandescent bulbs were the only thing keeping us warm. At bedtime, my wife and I, would bring a few lamps into the bedroom, place them around the bed, close the door, and huddle under ten blankets.
Here’s a little bit of information you might not know. Though, they save energy, are highly efficient, and help to keep excess carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere; CFL light bulbs can be deadly if mishandled, broken, or not disposed of properly. It’s true. Standard CFL light bulbs contain mercury, which can be deadly to most forms of life. It contains what is known as a neurotoxin. In simple terms this means, if exposed to mercury in large quantities, you better stop procrastinating, and buy that burial plot you were thinking about. I was told that it you break a CFL light bulb, you should do four things. Immediately, open a window to vent the affected area, put on gloves before cleanup, follow specific hazmat procedures involving disposal, and invite your mother-in-law over for a nice visit.
The other night at two in the morning, I got up to let my dog out to do his business. As I made my way wearily through a house mired in dim and inadequate CFL lighting, I stepped on my cat’s tail. What ensued, was a girl-like scream emitted from the deepest part of my throat, a mad rush to safety, a solid impact of my toe on a dining room table leg, multiple curses, and a trip to the emergency room for a broken toe. Things have been a little rough since then. My wife seems to love the new energy-efficient CFL light bulbs. She says they make everything in our house look romantic. She just got back from the store with one of those faux electric fireplaces, candles, a bottle of wine, and a pack of CFL light bulbs. I happened to notice, a DVD on the table, featuring the deep and melodious voice of the great and incomparable, Mr. Barry White. I don’t know exactly what my wife is up to. All I know is, she’s been humming, “Can’t get enough of your love baby,” all day long. This is just great. I’m hobbling around on crutches, my wife’s getting incredibly frisky, she’s rapidly pursuing me through the house, and I can’t see a darn thing. Thanks a lot – CFL light bulbs!