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June 24, 2011


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Good info. Like this. Thanks, Mr Green.

Joan Goodman

Why can't we buy lamps that take these bulbs? Home Depot, Lowe's....their lamps take regular bulbs. My lamps at home cannot take these bulbs because shade cannot be on the bulb. My overhead lights cannot take these bulbs.

Let's get real here and not blame the consumer for not using these spiral things.

Sherwood Johnson

Forget about fluorescents. LED bulbs are awesome (WAY better than fluorescent without all the issues and WAY longer lifespan)!!! The initial cost may be higher, but they already have a payback over their lifespan and the quality of light, dimming, etc, is now very good to excellent! I would use nothing else in my house.

Jorge Corrochano

We use Fluorescent Bulbs in Every Outlet Now , and Have Found A Significant Lower Cost In Our Electric Bill ! Our Next Step is To Put Up Several Solar Panels , So That Eventually We Will Not Be Dependent On Our Electric Power Company ... Then We Plan To Purchase Bio-Electric Autos ! Cool Hug !! We CAN SAVE MOTHER EARTH , And We MUST For Decedants !

Bob Schneider

I have several security lights that are controlled by electronic wall switches/timers. All of these controls specify "not to be used with flourescent bukbs". Are there any electronic switches on the market that can control flourescents? Can I use LED bulbs with the present switches? Have not noticed any LED bulbs at my local Home Depot. Might have to look a little closer.


Too much heat, not enuf light.

Namecalling does nothing except reduces your credibility.

And, I'd like to see an answer to Bob Schneider's question. I have dimmers and timers, some 40 years old, all over my house. Which ones must I replace and with what??


Why doesn't anyone mention the environmental cost for throwing away so many items with mercury in them? For a long time I never noticed the incredibly fine print about not throwing these in the regular trash. How can these bulbs be a better environmental alternative as long as proper disposal is not better advertised and is not made more readily available? MOST homeowners currently throw these in their regular trash. Lastly, what about when they break? How do we clean that up? I know I don't want to touch mercury.

Don Young

We tried the soft-swirl fluorescent bulbs but found the quality of the light they emit to be of poor quality. Also, we were surprised that these bulbs do not last as long as incandescent ones. Unfortunately, they contain mercury too. We won't be buying any more.

Also, I remember reading two negative things about fluorescent lighting that is research based:
1) It causes skin cancer.
2)The flickering of fluorescent bulbs, which is not noticeable to the human eye, causes fatigue.

I agree with Sherwood Johnson, that LED's, and possibly more efficient incandescent bulbs, are the future.

Marty Schaefer

I agree that mercury is a problem with flourescents. Municipalities MUST provide and publicize proper disposal of these things. And let's go with LEDs, the sooner the better.
In the meantime, people need learn to handle flourescents carefully: screw them in by the base--don't hold onto the glass part. (I found out the hard way; had to go online to learn how to dispose of mercury in a room! It's not easy.)


I've been using fluorescent bulbs since they were too long to fit in lamps and cost $17. My only problem with the curly ones is that they collect dust and I don't have to change them often enough to keep the overhead fixtures clean.


LEDs are a good, safer alternative to regular blubs and those horrible, mercury-laden fluorescents, but Halogen bulbs are even better. They can be dimmed and have a soft light that is bright right from the moment you turn it on. Even better--they last and last. We have had some for years!

Jaime Guerrero

According to an article in INC magazine, gallium nitride, the substance that makes LEDs expensive today is being produced by Bridgelux, on silicon wafers and will become available for widespread production by 2014. Slashing production costs by 75%, this will make the final cost to consumers in purchasing LEDs, considerably less.

Michael Jones

I have heard that these things actually create waves of energy that are bad for humans. I would like to hear more about this and see who is making these accusations. I mean lying, cheating and stealing is the human way so what is the truth?


I've got several of these lights both inside and outside my residence.

The problem I'm having is that I'm the sort of guy that zips into a room, grabs whatever and zips out. It seems to take forever before these lights reach a point of full illumination. I'm usually leaving the room before the light truly gets lit up. In the mean time I'm stuck with semi-lighting.


My only problem with the light bulb issue is this... How is it that the government can and will mandate a change in my behavior (using these light bulbs), but cannot and will not mandate changes in the behavior of the biggest polluters and CO2 producers?

EXAMPLE: Why doesn't the government mandate or at least subsidize organic farming? If we switched to organic that would absorb far more CO2 than what's produced by incandescent light bulbs.


Good Article and I'll turn off my light bulbs as suggested but I would rather see Sierra Club articles that don't turn off conservatives. We need to quit preaching to the choir and get some new conservative converts and you ain't gonna do it by calling them names such as "dim bulbs". We enlightened liberals should bemoan the loss of civility that contributes to our ever widening cultural and political divide.

Buckley Williams

I've been using flourescents since they first hit the market and now find just the right lighting - bright and quick response -for all my needs. I think people resist because the majority doesn't like change, the Feds are telling them they must and the conservative buddies of the energy companies have such slick campaigns to deny we have an energy and environmental problem with fossil fuels.


The mercury in a CFL, even if it was disposed in the trash, is still much less than the additional mercury that would be emitted by a coal-burning power plant to power incandescent light bulbs for the life span of the CFL. I somehow thought that it was common knowledge that you're supposed to recycle CFLs, so I'm not sure how some people who buy them are out of the loop, but apparently that needs to be in bigger print on the packaging (and people need to read their municipality's recycling codes better). I think that at least in NY, most stores that sell them have to take them back, like Home Depot. (I suggest putting the bulb in a plastic bag before you go, instead of taking a brand new bag for it like they offer.) If a bulb breaks, DO NOT use a vacuum, which would disperse the mercury into fine particles, and instead use a damp paper towel and seal the pieces and residue in a plastic bag, and open a window. I've read that a very small percentage of people have an extreme mercury sensitivity, and these are the only people that would really have an issue with the mercury in CFLs.

Also, most that I've had lately don't take extra time warming up. Maybe try the "warmer" colors (do a search for which Kelvin numbers are considered "warmer," since I don't remember offhand).

Amal Mehta

Fluorescent bulbs should be replaced or made to be not noisy and not cause problems for sensitive people.


To answer questions- modern CFLs do not flicker as they use an electronic ballast. Try new bulbs and you'll see.

Certain light-weight clip-on lamp shades can attach right to the CFL. I use several like that in my house. You can also get the A-line type CFL bulbs that encapsulate the bulb in an incandescent-like shell. This works perfectly in exposed bulbs lamps, including my kitchen fan. There are also 3-way, flood and spotlight available and I have spots over my stove and floods in the living room.


I was able to find an auto- timer that works with our outside security CFLs and a with a normal CFL. It is "Intermatic" and has been installed(easy DIY) for 3 years now with no problems. I don't remeber where I bought it, probably ACE or Lowes.

Joseph M. Holland, P.E.

You say "... if you're replacing an old-fashioned incandescent bulb, then do it with gusto! "

Actually the bulbs need to be handled with kid-gloves. They are excessively fragile, usually with thin, loose glass tubing against inadequate plastic support. Then if mishandled or dropped, it sheds trace mercury around the room. They are poorly marked regarding proper disposal and I would bet that 99% end up in the regular trash, then burned (here) or land-filled.

Nice racket for the manufacturers who have no disposal support services. I feel for the unknowing supporters being led to the slaughter by these manufacturers ($Chinese$ probably?),regarding the reporting by the right-wingers.

Let us be more careful with light-bulb-going-off ideas. A questionable cottage industry may be created in lieu of the former problem.

Grace Adams

When I lived in northern Mississippi, everyone in the neighborhood had a pump house and burned an incandescent light 24/7 all winter in their pump house to keep the pump from freezing. I also had to keep an incandescent light on 24/7 in the bathroom all winter to keep the pipes from freezing. Incandescent light bulbs are useful as a small safe source of heat. Rather than ban them, they should tax them enough to keep consumers from mistaking them for cheap light bulbs. Also, I can hardly wait for LEDs to come down in price enough to really compete with CFLs as cheap light bulbs. LEDs do not have the safe disposal problem that CFLs have.

led icicle lights

well all that you say about Fluorescent bulbs was sadly true , and I hope other people view this blog about how really energy efficient of a LED type of lights. Thanks for sharing and info.

Solar Panels

The best way to do it is by installing solar panels in your home. These devices require little maintenance and most of all these can last up to 20 years, after which you can recycle them. Truly impressive..

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