About 2 years back, I wrote a detailed post on the benefits of replacing incandescent light bulbs with CFLs and LEDs. This was due to a of a personal project of mine – to replace all light bulbs in my house with energy efficient ones.
Now obviously, I didn’t want to do this all at the same time, but in a phased manner. So here’s what I did. I bought a few CFLs every month or LEDs if they were on sale, and slowly started replacing all the bulbs in my house.
And before I get to how it all turned out, here’s a quick recap:
Why are incandescents bad?
- Incandescent bulbs are extremely inefficient
- The technology behind incandescents haven’t changed much since Edison invented them
- They aren’t very reliable
CFLs vs Incandescents
- They are much more energy efficient than incandescents
- CFSs were to the solution to the incandescent light bulb ban
- They do contain mercury and require special handling and disposal
- They are much more expensive than incandescents
LEDs vs CFLs
- LEDs are more efficient than CFLs
- They are as safe as incandescents and does not contain toxic gases
- Their lifetime is much, much higher than CFLs or incandescents
- They are very expensive
- This is the future of light bulbs
Politics aside, this was an important step towards bringing down the cost of energy efficient light bulbs.
It’s been two years since I started this conversion project and I’m pretty much done. I’m sure you are curious to know how it all turned out! Were CFLs and LEDs worth the cost? Did they last? Was it all worth it?
The moment of truth!
- Our electricity bills went down considerably, no doubt about that
- The initial costs were quite high – we had lots of dimmable bulbs and dimmable CFLS and LEDs are even more expensive!
- CFLs were a huge disappointment! Many of the CFLs did not even last a year, especially if it was in a high usage area
- I do not know if the dimmable aspect made it unreliable or the fact it was in a high usage area
- There was one normal CFL that was almost never turned off. That is still working
- Dimmable CFLs did not dim that well
- Disposing CFLs were a pain – you can’t throw them in the trash and you have to be super careful not to break it or you risk exposure to mercury vapors, a heavy metal
Change of plans
Looking at the number of CFL failures, midway, I decided to stop buying CFLs and instead buy LEDs.
- Not a single LED has failed so far
- Boy, are they expensive! So I had to wait till the ones I wanted went on sale and buy in bulk
- The power consumption is very low
- I hope they last the 22 years that they advertise!
The inconvenient truth
So, I’ll admit, I was wrong about CFLs. I don’t think I’ll buy another. LEDs are the way to go – be on the lookout for a sale and grab them. They are totally worth it!
After two years, my wallet is lighter (that’s not good!), but my electric bill is much lower and my house is 100% incandescent-free and mostly on LEDs. There are a few CFLs though. I’ll keep them as long as they work.
Let’s hear it!
What are your thoughts on the incandescent light bulb ban? Do you have CFLs, if so, are you satisfied with their performance? Have you considered LEDs? Sound off in the comments section!
Disclaimer: This is not a scientific experiment, but purely based on my perception. For all you know I might be having an erratic voltage issue! Treat the above results with some amount of skepticism!
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts” – Bertrand Russell