The Lightbulb

We were intrigued when reported on the evolution of the CFL, the Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb. Obviously the lightbulb itself is no new invention, but the traditional incandescent lightbulb uses five times more energy than these newer bulbs.

Over the years, they have been plagued with problems. Flickering when turning on, inability to be dimmed, harsh white light instead of warmer tones, dimness during the first minute or two of activation…but the technology continues to improve.

As the article reports, if every American household replaced one 60 watt bulb with an equivalent CFL, the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million. Not only do they use less electricity, they generally last longer than an incandescent bulb…rated in years instead of months.

Walmart is getting in on the act, apparently, trying to use its size to try to sell every customer one of these bulbs, and teaming with General Electric, singlehandedly double CFL sales in the United States in a year.

Just go to your local home improvement store or large department store and see the different kinds of lightbulbs you can get in a CFL. Not only are there lightbulbs of varying spectrums of the white and warm families, but replacements for tubular bulbs, globes, chandelier bulbs, floodlight bulbs, etc. Most of these come in both the spirals and frosted glass forms that look so similar to the incandescent equivalent you cannot tell the difference.

We have yet to find a store carrying screw-in dimmable CFLs, but these items are available for mail-order. The dimming on a fluorescent bulb is not as variable as it is on an incandescent, and goes in a series of steps, limiting fine tuning. However, it is still a viable option for those who wish it.

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