Purchasing New Light Bulbs Isn't Always A Bright Idea

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Many people are abandoning the standard incandescent light bulb for the compact fluorescent bulbs instead. The switch is supposed to promote big energy savings.

However, the CFL bulbs, as they’re called, aren’t precisely the same thing as their incandescent counterparts. They take longer to warm up, they’re not as good at dimming and the colour of the light they throw off can upset some .

However, those are pretty superficial complaints next to the the bigger problem, which is that the bulbs don’t last as long as advertised in many cases:

NY Times: The Program for the Evaluation and Analysis of Residential Lighting at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., tests Energy Star-certified bulbs to see if they still meet requirements.

In the 2007-8 tests, five of 29 models failed to meet specifications for such categories as lifespan, luminosity and on-off cycling and were removed from Energy Star’s list of qualified products. Because of performance concerns, the government is expanding the watchdog program, vowing to test samples of 20 per cent of the thousands of certified bulb models each year.

To alleviate some of these problems, the Energy Department should better enforce the standards it sets for the light bulbs suggests the Times. As for the consumer complaints, they recommend manufacturers label and explain their products better while consumers adjust.

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