“Green” light bulbs

I was curious to know if any of you have tried the “new” energy efficient light bulbs? We bought a bunch of them a few years ago when they were all those spiral-y ugly ones. I couldn’t stand the way they looked.  They hung way outside the shades and globes and we have 3 ceiling fans in our house and quite frankly, they look horrible.  I guess if you couldn’t see them it was okay.  I do think now they make them “regular” looking.

What I found with those was they were way more expensive and they really didn’t last a whole lot longer than the regular ones. Now mind you, this was quite a few years ago.

SKL gave me the suggestion to talk about this and I know Amber has written about it. My brother is also a huge fan of these but he has different ones than the ones I had. I’ve also seen this discussed on other blogs but wanted your opinions.

I guess it was about a year ago and my husband got some of the “newer” and “better” bulbs but I hated them really bad.  They were so long to warm up that it took minutes for you to be able to see in a dark room.  When I turn on a light, I want it to come right on.  It drove me crazy in the kitchen so I took them out.  In the living room it doesn’t really bother me but I do hate the color of them. They seem so harsh.  I get headaches if they are on for a long period of time.  I’ve gotten so that I don’t even turn them on most of the time.  

Other than my personal distaste for these light bulbs I’ve been reading on what to do with them when they break or burn out and it really kind of scares me.  I think about the people now who don’t recycle and what are they going to do with these light bulbs that are very dangerous if broken?  What about them laying in trash heaps and dumps or worse yet, buried.  Yes, I know people who bury things that they don’t want anymore. Remember, I live out in the country where a lot of people burn a lot of things they shouldn’t be.

So where do you all stand on this?  Have they maybe gotten better since I tried them last?  My brother (who has remained kind of quiet lately) swears by the ones he got. If they worked and did last longer I wouldn’t mind the extra money just to save on the environment but in my case, they didn’t last longer and I hated the minute or so warm up time.  

What about you all?  What do you think and what do you use?

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27 Responses to “Green” light bulbs

  1. SKL says:

    I don’t like them, but what I like even less is that I’ve heard they will be mandatory at some future date.

    Most of my light fixtures have the bulbs facing downward in plain view, and many of them require specially-shaped bulbs. I am not about to use ugly-looking light bulbs nor replace my light fixtures throughout my house.

    Besides that, I get physically affected by these kinds of light bulbs. I get a headache and can’t stand how it they make me feel.

    I am pretty frugal when it comes to electricity. I don’t have lights blasting all the time. I try to use natural light as much as I can, and flip a switch only when I really have no choice. I really don’t think I need any government ordering me to change my lifestyle because “they” think this will make me more efficient.

    Maybe I would consider using them if they were improved to the point where they looked OK, didn’t give me headaches, and actually saved me money. But that ought to be my choice.

    Light bulbs are just one thing they are changing on us by force. How about digital television? If you have an old TV after a certain date, you won’t be able to watch it, from what I’ve heard. What other things are being “upgraded” on us by force? Am I the only person who gets irritated when someone else tells me that my lifestyle needs to change to keep up with the times?

  2. SanityFound says:

    I think we have it easier here by the sounds of it, when we want lightbulbs we take our old ones to the shops and they give us new ones for free. Makes life a lot easier and cheaper I guess. Its probably the only thing this place got right – never thought about it much interesting.

  3. Laura (LS) says:

    I HATE them. Hate them hate them hate them. (wow, that’s a lot of hate. Glad I’m spending it on something worthy…)

    I’ve got some in the garage, and I might as well not have light at all during the winter. The colder it is, the longer it takes for that light to work.

    And yeah, thanks to the most recent energy bill, the incandescents will be “phased out” by 2012. (don’t get me started on the expanding intrusiveness of our “democratic” government) Unless we got on the backs of our Representatives to reverse that particular clause. I’ve actually toyed with the idea of stockpiling the old incandescents, just in case.

    And yeah, SKL, you’re gonna have to get a Digital Converter Box (I got coupons for them through our local PBS station), because in Feb., they’re turning “off” the analog signal to free up those signals for emergency radio use, or something like that. We switched ours a couple of weeks ago. On the upside, we have more channels, one of which broadcasts “old” TV shows, like The A-Team and Magnum P.I. On the downside, if there’s any disruption in the signal? The picture pixilates, goes silent, or quits altogether. At least with the analog, if the signal wavered a little, you could watch through the static until it cleared.

    Ahh, progress.

  4. Just a Mom says:

    I don’t like the Green bulbs because they are more expensive and they do not last very long.

  5. nikki says:

    FREE????? HA nothing in THIS country is free!!!!! I’ve never used the green one and don’t plan to. My regular bulbs work fine, and their cheap so I’ll stick to those. How much more expensive are they?? I’ve never even looked at them. I suppose if they did last longer and weren’t TOO expensive I may try them. Hmmm something to think about the next time I’m at the store.

  6. Joy says:

    We need Darryl or Amber to come on here. The last ones that we got were..I’m thinking around $10 for 2 bulbs (I think, I’m not for sure). I just hate them. I’m not kidding when I say it takes at least one minute for them to come on. They also are very harsh and way to bright for me. I’m not a headache getter but after a while, they do give me a headache. Darryl claims he has different ones that have really good color.

    The other thing that concerns me is what are we supposed to do with them when they go to the lightbulb place in the sky??? You aren’t supposed to put them in the garbage and you can’t recycle them except for “their” own recycle box. I live in a place where there is no container for them. I’m afraid we’ll have people just throw them away or just recycle them anyway and then we have all those toxins god knows where.

  7. SanityFound says:

    Seriously you have to pay lots to get them? Ours last for ages and ages, longer than the normal ones, they are low on electricity and have nice light, free and recycled for you… hmm I feel as if I’ve walked into a time warp here sorry. I live in Afreaka, we are normally very behind on these things, I am in shock.

    Congrats on the 40k btw that is AWESOMES … [see all the missing cookies, not me at all… you got peoples coming here and stealing not me *points at California*]

  8. Amber says:

    First of all, the “green” lightbulbs aren’t actually good for your eyes or your body. They are fluorescent and tend to give people headaches. They don’t last longer (even though they say they do). I haven’t personally read anything about how to dispose of them because I use “blue light” bulbs. They are closer to natural sunlight and are better for you. They help with everything from migraines to mood.

    Thats my two cents….

  9. Joy says:

    I think those must be what my brother has too then Amber. Do they last longer?

  10. Amber says:

    I think they last the same as traditional. The main benefit is the neurological effects.

  11. Amber says:

    P.S. Those other light bulbs give a fluorescent “flash” unseen to the normal human naked eye. But for people like me…. disaster. Its why my television has to be of a certain quality too, my computer screen has to have a certain refresh rate. Because otherwise I get huge migraines. All I see is the flashing lights.

  12. nikki says:

    Wow we did hit 40k didn’t we?! YAY us!!!

  13. nikki says:

    Oh yea I’m going to get those blue bulbs!!! I hate harsh lighting. We have mood lighting in most of our house except the rooms where I feel it should be in…bathroom and dining room. I light soft light…you look better too:)

  14. SKL says:

    Maybe they will come up with something more liveable and affordable before this whole “mandatory” thing goes into effect, or maybe they will scrap the “mandatory” rule. Otherwise there is going to be a huge run on conventional light bulbs around here.

    I don’t know when the “mandatory” effective date is. Does anyone know? Is it different from state to state?

    You’re right about disposal. Most people will just dump them in the regular trash, unless there is an incentive not to as Sanity described.

  15. Joy says:

    It looks to me like it’s a state to state thing SKL. Here’s the states that the article mentions:

    Now individual states in the U.S., including California, Connecticut, North Carolina and Rhode Island, are all in the process of legislating an end to Edison’s greatest invention

  16. thegoddessanna says:

    We only use them in certain lights, mostly the ones I don’t use. They exacerbate my migraines, even the pricey, newer ones.

    If the swirlies are ever made manditory, we’re stockpiling the normals… and if I have to, I’ll switch to candles, especially since lights (esp. bright ones) can give me migraines to start with.

  17. Sue says:

    I hate them. My husband bought a box and I took them out 20 min after they were in. I looked yellow in the mirror!!!! They took to long to warm up and they’re ugly not to mention you can’t just dispose of them b/c they’re toxic for the environment! I do have one in my outdoor light and I hate that too, but that’s too hard to change so it’s there until it dies.

  18. Amber says:

    Ok… so you know me… I can’t stand not to know. So, when I went out running errands, I had a look. My blue lights are called “Reveal”. The light has a natural spectrum to it and less yellow which is less jarring to the optic nerve and neuro pathways.

    I compared these lightbulbs to the energy efficient kind. Mine say they give 1000 hours of use, whilst the energy efficient kind claim to give 6 years. That is what the box says. They also claim to use less electricity to power them which is what is the money saver not that they last you longer – which is my understanding.

    Its all well and good to come up with an energy efficient product, but how really beneficial is it if it is then toxic to the environment after it is used? Bad bad science. Im amazed it was allowed to get through. *sigh*

  19. mssc54 says:

    The reason it takes longer for these newer bulbs to come on is ther MERCURY has to heat up first.

    Check out the disposal instructions on the lable.

    I can’t remember…. is MERCURY a good thing or bad thing?


  20. Amy Hunter says:

    I’m too tired to look up the year, but incandescent light bulbs will no longer be on the shelves in the US pretty soon. Might be 2010? We have Congress to thank for this law–it was passed a couple of years ago.

    Anyway, fluorescents give me migraines, so I’ve started hoarding a lifetime supply of incandescents.

  21. Jennifer says:

    We use them. I don’t think they’re that much more expensive…ours have lasted MUCH, MUCH longer than our traditional light bulbs. We moved into our house in November 2006 and put them in throughout we haven’t replaced one since. The couple fixtures that we didn’t use them in we’ve replaced repeatedly. We’ve found the best price at Sam’s Club or Walmart.

    I’ll admit I’ve never broken one. I generally try not to break light bulbs of any kind though. 🙂 BUT it wasn’t that long ago that every house had a mercury thermometer in it that had a heck of a lot more mercury than one of those bulbs. And what if you have a garage, basement, or shop that uses those big fluorescent tubes? People have used those for years, even broken them and never paid much attention. Every office building and school is covered in fluorescent lights and has been for years. They just made them small enough to fit in lamps is all.

    I think it’s once the word ‘mandatory’ became attached that people really began to come up with arguments against them.

    This site has information about some of the urban myths surrounding them but also the truths as well. At the bottom of the page you can access the fact sheets on them as well.


  22. Joy says:

    Thanks Amber for checking those out for me. I’ll check on getting some tomorrow.

    Thanks Amy for coming back and giving us a “kind of” date.

    Jennifer, you are so right about the “mandatory” deal. None of likes to be told what to do, do we?? I have one of those long ones in my scrap-booking room. That one comes on right away though and doesn’t seem to give me a headache. Of course I’m not in that room like I am the other rooms.

    Thanks everyone, this is a good topic.

  23. SKL says:

    Yeah, I have two flourescent lights in my house and I can’t stand having them on! Truly, when someone else turns on the one in our kitchen, I will go turn on the regular chandelier in the dining area and turn OFF the flourescent light. At this point, everyone in the house knows that that light has to be off when I’m around. Our other one is in the laundry room, and while I have no choice but to use it sometimes, I get out of there as fast as I can.

    That’s a good point that schools and such are full of flourescent lights. That doesn’t prove they are beneficial, though. I’ve seen school kids whose classroom was on the roof of a building, and they were acquiring more academic knowledge than American kids of the same age. Maybe there’s a reason for that.

  24. russ says:

    The by product of the inefficient filament light bulb is heat. It will make lots of heat for just some light. The heat generated is no less efficiently produced than any other heat producing device, read heater, that generates heat through Electrical Resistance.

    All electric heaters are Electrical Resistance heaters, except heat pumps.

    A light bulb is as efficient as any other ER heating device, except for the light that may escape through a window. It may not be as useful as say an electric blanket for putting heat in a certain area, but in the metric of wattage in/heat out they are ALL identical.

    It is part of the Law of Conservation of Energy, in physics. Energy does not play tricks.

    The point of all this is that when heat is a useful by product, as in winter it is not wasted. Summer of course is completely the opposite, as the heat would add to the cost, not only of its production, but also increase the cooling needs of the space in use.

    There are possibly cheaper forms of energy than electrical, maybe natural gas, but the advantage would be small. When heat is desirable any and all electrical lights are efficient, at least in the conversion of electrical energy to heat. Just don’t shine a spotlight out the window.

  25. Jennifer says:

    Oh I do totally agree with you SKL about the giant fluorescent tubes. I’m not sure they have an advantage other than cost. I can’t speak for other states but I know that now in NYS since all of the buzz around the compact fluorescents schools are no longer able to dispose of the traditional tubes as they used to. Schools must now gather their tubes have them wrapped in special packaging and placed in these special sealed containers which then go to a central cooperative services campus (this is where I work-I don’t work in this job, but the guy in the next cubicle does-I still just work with library books 🙂 Our campus then has to gather all of these containers from all of these schools, store them, then pay an outside company to come in once a month and haul all of them away at a giant fee that then gets charged back to school districts to pay. Of all the things in a school budget that’s getting ever tighter with items like fuel costs for buses etc the costs for hauling away giant fluorescent tubes once a month seems ridiculous.

    I understand why it’s needed. Yes, it should have always been happening.

    SKL’s post about the rooftop classroom reminded me a lesson we did in 3rd grade learning about the one room school house. We spent a week having our classes using no lights. We moved all of our desks near the window and had to use ink and paper. It was one of those lessons that really stuck with me and we all had a blast doing it.

  26. Amy Hunter says:

    Here’s a more solid date, now that I’m awake again! Incandescents are being phased out between 2012 and 2014 and will no longer be on shelves in the US in 2014. Here’s an article:


    I’m hoping LED technology improves as a good alternative, and maybe it won’t give me headaches. But I’m stockpiling my incandescents anyway, so I appreciate the reminder to go buy some more!

  27. Jane says:

    I also hate these light bulbs. I feel they are to harsh and cast a very harsh light. I also have to travel one hour to recycle them. I would have to store them somewhere because I’m not making that kind of trip for that. It’s also somewhere that I never go so it’s not like I could take them when I was out doing other errands. I’ve got cases of bulbs already packed away. I use those light-bulbs that Amber mentioned. The Reveal bulbs. They are so nice. They aren’t expensive either so when I go shopping, I just buy a case of them.

    I also know people who just take these old light-bulbs to the dump so there they sit. You can’t teach an old farmer new tricks. Some think they can do whatever they want or whatever they have always done so even though there may not be much mercury in them but it will add up if they are all just laying around.

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