Given time, they'll also shift a bit towards the red/pink. But, I suspect
the ballasts will crap out long before that! Any time you try to cram a fair
bit of power switching electronics in a small, enclosed container sited
in a location that won't naturally lend itself to cooling, you know you're
just counting the hours to failure.
[I think it is outright fraud that they claim these things will last
85 gazillion hours -- and base their ROI analysis on those inflated
figures -- when the components are often spec'd for a few *thousand* hours!]
It's only money, right? :> Send it off to China or send it to
your own "local" utility...
We use an under counter light as a nightlight. Even during the day. in
50 years and two houses, the only time it is turned off is when it burns
The cheap 15" fluorescent would last a couple of years and I could buy a
new fixture for about a dollar more than the bulb. About two years ago
I upgraded to and LED. It was costly, but I hope to get many years from
I'm basically doing the same. I still have several "super" incandescent
bulbs that use higher molecular weight inert gas, not sure which, that
lets filament last longer. These bulbs are about 40 years old and are in
infrequently used fixtures like a remote powder room.
Yet to use an LED bulb yet and still have many CFL's.
A few CFL's are hummers and very annoying, like tinnitus. I had one
batch that was so white I could not use inside and relegated to the
I once heard that only 14% of total household consumption of electricity
was from lighting, so you can reach a point of diminishing returns in
replacing old cheap incandescents with expensive, for now, LED's.
I'm also sold on using LED flashlights exclusively but have had to toss
a few, not because bulb gave out, but mechanical switches went bad.
The same can probably be true of LED lamps -- its in the nature of the ballast
(though moreso for the CFL's as they have a step-up converter excited at
a higher frequency to keep the magnetics small)
Yup. Refrigerator is a big pig. Here, ACbrrr accounts for about half of
our summer load (which is double the winter load).
Some (new-ish) TV's are also surprising hogs! And, many devices only
*appear* to be "sleeping"/off when, in reality, they're just "dark, but
Wall warts use some power even if the device with which they are associated
is "off". Chargers, etc.
I have at least two computers running at all times -- plus 4 monitors.
Often, I'll add two or three more machines to the mix, depending on
what I'm doing -- some of those being servers that make no attempt
to "save energy" (their goal is to "save BITS")
[And, of course, the light in the refrigerator -- that we all KNOW is
secretly ON even while the door is closed! :> ]
I'm fond of flashlights that I can hang/mount in specific places.
E.g., we have a pair of maglites mounted near front/rear entryways;
a tiny "penlight" maglight hanging from a teacup hook next to the
network switch in my office; an HF "area light" hanging under another
workbench; etc. It's easier to just remember where their individual
homes are than to run around wondering where you've left it, last!
When I rebuilt my computer, low noise and energy usage were big priorities
for me. I now have an i7-4790K, with two hard drives, and two SSD's. Most
of the time my entire system uses around 80 watts, including the monitor,
cable modem, and router. It can jump up to 130 watts or so when doing heavy
processing, but drops to around 60 watts at night.
I have a UPS that makes it easy to monitor the power usage.
I have an LED lantern that runs on four D-cells, same battery for over four
years now. Also have a couple of handheld LED flashlights.
For emergency power I have several of these LED power outage lights:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
They're always charged up and come on automatically when the power goes
out. We can also unplug them and use them as flashlights around the house
I don't have that choice for at least two of my computers: a Sun Ultra 60
and an Sun Blade 2000. The processors (as in "chips") don't come in
low power versions (I think each of the two "CPU's" draws 50W!). ISTR
the U60 runs at about 200W (actual) while the SB2000 is closer to 300W.
Of course, spinning up either of the 12 disk "shelf" on either adds
another 150W... The software that runs on these simply won't run on
anything other than a SPARC "CPU". I can afford a LOT of electricity
to offset the effort it would take me to migrate away from them! :>
Three LCD's on each machine add another 150W.
This "email/WWW" machine is relatively low power -- but still close to
200W when you add in the power consumed by the monitor.
The box that provides my core network services (TFTP/DNS/NTP/xfs/etc.)
draws only about 9W. It's tucked under a dresser and is never off.
A tiny UPS can keep it running almost indefinitely!
I have several 1U and 2U servers with dedicated functions. E.g., one
acts as the repository for "everything" -- so I can step back in time
and recreate a project at any point in its development/production
lifetime (including the tools that were used to develop/maintain it!).
Another just "serves up" VM's of older system images (again, so I
can step back in time and work in an environment that existed "back
then" without having to keep a real PC around in exactly that
There are three windows machines (everything mentioned thus far is NOT
windows) that act as my Multimedia, Engineering and Publishing
workstations. Splitting the functions in this way lets me distribute the
required peripherals across the different machines AND "work areas"!
(it's just not possible to cram all of the required peripherals in
a single place and have them all accessible to me seated in a chair).
E.g., the Multimedia system has devices to capture and record production
quality audio and video (e.g., studio microphones, etc.); the Engineering
workstation has tools to let me design and manipulate 3D mechanical and
electronic devices; the Publishing workstation lets me create documents
to describe each of these other activities (including illustrations,
photos, animations, etc.).
These three boxes could benefit from modern upgrades. But, the time that
it takes to reinstall and reconfigure all of the software (and hardware)
is insane! Weeks for each machine! And, that assumes the software
and hardware will be compatible with that "upgraded machine"! Anything
lost in the process represents time and money (to buy upgrades, new
licenses, etc.) that I can just as easily spend on electricity :-/
An HTPC sits in the living room in place of a consumer DVD player
and DVR. It's not on all the time so dubious as to how much I'd
save moving it to a newer platform (again, everything takes time;
time is actually money, in my case)
A Blade Server spends sees only infrequent use -- it draws a few
thousand watts (I think there are 28 physical CPU's in it, 28
small disk drives, 60+ GB of RAM, etc.). I think the fans
(two redundant "blowers") probably draw close to 50W!
So, we just live with the less-than-optimal power profiles.
I have a *CFL* lantern that runs on 8D's. It's actually an interesting
design: it looks like an oversized flashlight (4" reflector). You
can clearly see the CFL in the center.
But, if you pull the lens *forward*, the lantern gets LONGER (the CFL
remains in the same place) and the sides of the lantern are clear plastic.
So, you can set it, lens down, on a table and turn it into a "table lamp".
But, it eats batteries. Unfortunately, replacing the alkalines with a
rechargeable chemistry (NiCd, NiMH) leaves it operating at a lower
voltage (8*1.2V instead of 8*1.5V). And, getting D cell rechargeables
is expensive (not to be confused with AA cells in D-sized sleeves!)
We had something similar (in principle). Looked more like a flashlight,
though. While plugged in, it had an EL panel exposed that acted as a
nightlight (really only useful for locating the flashlight in the dark).
But, it had a silly charging circuit that ate batteries... (overcharged
In an outage, I just plug a table lamp (with a CFL) into a UPS. It will
run for half a day drawing ~15W (i.e., long enough to make it to sun-up).
If push comes to shove, turn on genset.
Did you get a daylight bulb instead of a warm white bulb? Probably just the
wrong color temperature.
Thankfully, I've never had a CFL that hummed.
For lights that are only used briefly (closets, etc.), switching to CFL or
LED is probably not going to make a noticeable difference in electric
However, I work from home and have several lights that are on 14-16 hours a
day. While that is still a small portion of my total electric bill, I do
notice a difference in our electric usage. There's not a lot I can do to
reduce the energy consumption of our heaters and hot water (already maxed
out on insulation), but changing lights is an easy thing to do.
Still, considering the cost of LED bulbs, I'm sure it would take a very
long time to pay off financially. I'm switching mostly for the better
lighting. Energy savings is just an added bonus.
Yep, same here. Much brighter light and the batteries last a very long
We only notice this on the dimmable CFL floods. It tends to be pretty warm
here, most of the time (and, esp so, indoors!) Garage is the only significant
semi-outdoor site and it has tubular fluorescents, presently; incandescents
on the porches...
I doubt we've seen 3 years on most of ours! They give up the ghost
pretty quickly, IME. I can reach those in the cans for 8 ft ceilings
"on my toes" but the higher ceilings mean taking out a stepladder.
We've been slow to move to LEDs throughout simply because of the bad
experiences (lifespan) with the CFL's. Were it not for the big
subsidies, I'm sure there would have been *no* savings, there!
And, the LED lamps aren't (yet?) heavily subsidized -- esp the dimmable
floods (which would account for probably 30% of our lamps). IIRC, the
60 eq W floods were something like $13/pair? Buying them in lots of
10 (e.g., a room at a time) would get costly!
No, dimmers don't work with "shunts". The problem with CFL/LED "ballasts"
is that they don't represent nice resistive loads -- like the incandescents
for which legacy dimmers were created (and still in use).
See the 'scope traces at:
(N.B. the vertical scale has been changed by a factor of *5*
from the "non-dimmer" example to the "dimmer" example that
appears below it.
[The rest of the page is probably worth reading -- if you're technically
inclined. E.g., the table that appears a bit above the cited photos
if you like to see numbers instead of graphs]
Hmmm... something about "real life" comes to mind...
I've got all LED bulbs in my bathroom, now, where I've added shelves to
put plants on. I turn them on and it's like being outside on a sunny day
with no clouds in the sky. I read that LED are just as good for growing
plants, plus, LED blue and red bulbs are also good for plants, so, I'll
see for myself how it does this winter.
I bought some carnivorous plants to keep amongst the other plants and
they've already caught some tiny gnats. (venus flytrap, and octopus
plant [sundew]). LOVE them both. One of the octopus plants is blooming
pretty pink flowers.
ages ago i kept venus flytraps in a 10 gallon
terrarium and they bloomed. did you ever think of
how venus flytraps would be pollinated? :) they
have yellow flowers on top of a stalk 8+" high.
if you do get flower stalks they can be hand
pollinated with a little brush and then the seeds
will eventually come along. they look like tiny
little eggplants. to get them to grow from seed
can be a challenge. i had a bunch of them coming
along and went on vacation and left my sister in
charge of making sure they didn't dry out. heh.
came home to shrivelled little nothings... poor
I've had flytraps to bloom before, but I didn't try to pollinate the
blooms. The octopus plants have about 10 blooms on the stalk and it's
blooming from the bottom bloom going up the stalk one at a time. I can
try to pollinate the blooms as they open the same way and see how that
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.