Right on: Finally somebody who agree with me!
In this neck of the woods, where most months of the year require some
heating, the idea of 'more efficient' lighting makes no sense either.
Except outside where the waste heat from a conventional incandescent
porch bulb, on all night, is wasted to all outdoors! Unfortunately
CFLs don't always like cold weather and sometimes colour of the light
Also as an example we have a row of six 40 watt el-cheapo (25 cents
each including sales tax) bulbs above the vanity in our windowless
bathroom. They last a long time, last time i changed one was I think,
October last year. They operate whenever anybody is in there and
provide enough 'wasted' heat to warm the bathroom, so that the 500
watt baseboard electric heater never comes on!
Using six (much clumsier looking) CFLs in that bathroom would not only
be mch more expensive (prob. at least $2 to $3 each?) but the electric
heater would have to come on more frequently; using the same amount of
Electronic ballasts also vary widely in quality.
I had a pair of dual 32-40W lamps that were $7 with electronic
ballasts. Each lamp become brighter than normal after a few months
and then its ballast would die. After exchanging them several times,
I replaced the ballasts with some $12 magnetic ones from a hardware
store and haven't had problems since, not even much hum (class A
Ballast that is good for both 32W and 40W 4-footers without a wiring
difference? I strongly doubt (to put it mildly) such a ballast provides
close to rated wattage for both while operating them in a good manner.
And $7 for a 4-foot fixture makes me suspect it will be a stool specimen
no matter how they make the ballast.
Go for "The Good Stuff" from an electrical or electrical/lighting supply
Assuming by 'bench light' you mean shop light, FWIW I got rid of my 4
footers a few months ago and got some 8' 2 lamp cold weather types
from Home Despot. IRC, they were around $60 without lamps. Major
brand, USA. The light output is way better than all the 4 footers I
had strung together and with 1100 watts in 26' x 12' it's possible to
find something that falls on the floor now. Subjectively, I don't see
any major spike in the electric bill. With a white painted ceiling
reflectors were superfluous. The longer service life will pay off in a
few years I expect.
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