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Compact Flourescents

 
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:38 am    Post subject: Compact Flourescents Reply with quote

My local supermarket had a sale on Sylvania Compact Flourescents...only $1.00 a piece (I think they're regularly $5). They fit regular bulb sockets. They are like a little curled up flourescent light. They seem sturdy -- I dropped one on the linoleum and it didn't crack. Wonder if it's a kind of plastic they use for the tube?

I got a couple and liked the light so I went back and bought another 6 or 7 and replaced just about every bulb in my 1-bedroom apartment with the Compact Flourescents.

They use 20w where a normal bulb would use 70w. I even replaced my overhead light fixtures with them. They have a warning about using them in an enclosure, so I also left off the old style glass enclosure.. they have enough surface area that the coil seems to diffuse the light without having the glass as a dispersant.
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brian-hansen
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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 712
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now this is a technology where the stars have all aligned.

Not only do CF bulbs use 30% of the power of incandescents,
but they last on the order of 10 times longer. Even at $5 they
are a very good deal when you add the operating costs to
the purchase price. At $1 per, it's a bona fide pennies on the
dollar deal.

You might want to look into it a little deeper. In Oregon, some
CFLs are subsidised by a fund paid from a fee on electical
ratepayers' bills. That may be the case where you are as well.

It's a plus that you like the quality of the light, and find the
unshaded bulbs less glaring.

I can't help but wonder if you are being misled by the
"enclosure" warning you mention, though. My understanding is
that CFLs can be used anywhere that regular bulbs can, except
for circuits on dimmers. CFLs run much, much cooler than
incandescents, and I believe them to be better candidates
for most fixtures because of this. Perhaps what you read
is legalese relating to completely sealed, airtight fixtures.

-Brian
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Airtight: I do notice there is something about "mercury" in the base of the bulb. Maybe the logic is Heat + Mercury = Mercury Gas floating around in room. Not good, but I guess they need to be extra cautious.

Not me though -- I'm happy to be Mad as a Hatter ( http://www.hgtech.com/Information/Mad%20Hatter.htm) and I found a bargain at Home Depot -- 6 CF equivalent 60w bulbs ( 14w actual usage ). They're smaller than the 75w I bought before. They were nine dollars for 6 bulbs, but there was coupon stuck to the display from Puget Sound Electric that took $6 off the price -- so I got the bulbs for fifty cents each. I went bulb-happy and replaced every single incadescent (including the one in the cowling over my stove. I took the small bulbs and filled the vanity lighting above my bathroom mirror ( 4 bulbs ) with the little guys. AND -- I put one on my apartment balcony. Dam it's bright at night! It likes the whole small balcony and very evenly I might add.

Oh wait, there's one more! Just remembered -- refrigerator bulb! I will have to check on that when I get home.
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brian-hansen
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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 712
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure about the refrigerator bulb... You can do the experiment
for the rest of us. I wonder whether it will last as long as it
should in that environment.

And no, I don't think the CFL bulbs are outgassing mercury.
You do, however, need to treat them as you should most
alkaline batteries, as toxic waste, when they are done.
Because of the mercury.

-Brian
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Out of curiousity, I decided to use the Kill A Watt meter on one of my living room lamps to compare a 20w compact flourescent bulb (equivalent output of a 75w bulb, according to the package) to a 40w incandescent bulb.

The differences seem to show that the CF is very efficient (and noticibly brighter than the 40w IB)

_______CF_______IB
Volt____118______118
Amp___.24_______.31
Watt___17_______ 36
Hz_____60_______60

After 5 hours the CF had used 0.08 Kwh.

After only 4 hours the IB had already used 0.15 or almost twice as much energy.

I am switching my lamp back to using the CF.
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:27 am    Post subject: My Electric Bill vs. Al Gore's Reply with quote

I continue to be fascinated by my electric bill. It was $70 for the last month. I live in a 1-bedroom apartment whose rooms would be judged small to most people. Recently the press has been hampering Gore with tales of a $1200 a month electric bill for his 12-room mansion. Although square foot for square foot, that would make me the Energy Hog of the world compared to Al.

It still irks me that energy use for such a tiny space is still that high. In previous posts I documented that I was able to reduce light power requirements by switching to all CF bulbs. Of course, those numbers are a small fraction of the $70 (winter here in Kent, WA, USA). I am on the hunt for the "big game" in energy use in my apartment, though the suspects are obvious.

Still, I want to do a thorough investigation. My power company, PSE, has a very fine website that provides lots of analysis and comparison tools including charts and data history. It also lets me break down usage by appliances and so on. For example, it claimed by refrigerator costs about $3 per month. That seemed awfully low, so I ran the Kill-A-Watt meter on it for a few days. Sure enough the numbers added up (it's a particularly old refridge, midsized model, but I suspected some small gaps in the door seal were costing me loads). So the fridge isn't it.

I just put the K-A-W meter on my computing system. My system includes a tower cpu with 1-G RAM, 2 HDs, nVidia NX6600 GPU, LCD monitor, 3-way sound system, HP D2330 printer, DSL modem, VoIP modem.

After that there is the washer, dryer, hot water heater and heating system. The hot water heater is particularly tricky for me. It sits in a big closet in my bedroom. Normally this closet would have sliding doors, but they were off when I rented the place and I decided just having an open closet would be simpler. At the same time, the water heater probably puts heat into the room. Which is great in winter, and bad in summer!

Ideally I might put a "blanket" around the heater since heat loss through radiation of any kind away from its primary job is not good. Of course, I initially set its thermostats (there are two, a top and a bottom) on the lowest possible temperatures that still provided some reasonable hot water for washing and bathing (120F).
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youreadit
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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that it is surprising to have such high bills when one
believes that one is living modestly. And I applaud your experiment.

I find your defense of Al Gore to be touching, and illuminating.
Of course, folks that want to belittle him quote the figures you give
as evidence of his hypocrisy. Yet, in terms of carbon emitted, he has
paid extra to purchase carbon-free energy. And, as you show,
when you scale up from our lifestyle (yours and mine), that
level of usage is not extraordinary. Still, one suspects that he
could live more modestly, and be a better example to the rest of us.

There are some handy rule-of-thumb figures for estimating
energy use. In particular,

Heating and cooling 50%
Water heater 25%
Everything else 25%

The biggest savings are from insulation, using the right kind of windows,
passive solar gain in winter, solar shielding in summer, opening and
closing windows at the right times in summer, programmable
thermostat, etc.

Solar water heating is a mature technology, and one in which a
medium-sized family can get business-case levels of payback
when incentives are factored in. An interesting thought: solar
hot water would work better on the scale of your apartment complex
than it would for an individual home. Solar hot water becomes
more inexpensive the more hot water you use.

Everything else includes the refrigerator, stereos, computers, lighting,
etc. There are things you can do for the fridge: make sure the "fins"
are clean and that there is room for airflow, fix the seals, open it
less, and for a shorter time, replace with highly efficient fridge
(some expensive models operate on a fraction of the energy) when
your current fridge breaks down.

Another factor for stereos and computers is "phantom load". Your kill-a-watt can help there. Most consumer electronic devices are
always on (at least a little bit). Your TV is ready for the remote
to turn it on, as is your stereo and printers, etc. You can see
this visually when you walk into a dark room and see all the little
lights. If you want to reduce this load, you can put all non-essential
devices onto a power bar, and leave it off until needed. You might
want to leave your computer on, because it is your server. You
might want to leave your VCR on, because it has a clock. Etc.

Happy experimenting! And please keep letting us know your
results!

-Brian
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 9:25 am    Post subject: Insulating Hot Water Heater Pipes Reply with quote

Well, I think I'm on the verge of another breakthrough in reducing my energy costs. After doing some reading, I took up a suggestion for insulating my hot water heater pipes.

In my apartment the hot water heater sits in a nook inside a wide closet in my bedroom. There are no doors on the closet (I purposefully left them off).

I checked out the pipes -- there are four total -- and three of them were "hot" --either by feeding hot water from the boiler, or just by contact with the boiler. I went to home depot and found I could get some foam insulation for pipes, in 6 foot lengths for about $2. I bought two and custom fit the insulation to the pipes and wrapped them in duct tape.

I noticed two things immediately. The temperature in my bedroom dropped almost immediately. This will be great for the on coming hot summers where my bedroom was always unnaturally hotter than the living room, and made me move my standalone A/C in there just to keep it at a moderate temperature. Second, when taking a bath, the hot water almost always ran cold when the tub was 3/4ths full. Now it runs hot all the way full and beyond and I don't have to wait for it to re-heat!

I can't wait to see my next PSE energy bill! There are few more areas of the pipes that I want to insulate...just near a valve stem...and I think I may curtain off the heater for summertime if I can find a fireproof cloth of some type...
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brian-hansen
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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 712
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since you got such good results from the pipe insulation, you might
want to revisit the "blanket" for your water heater. My guess is that
it would do more good than the curtain you are thinking of.

Also, if you put the curtain over the closet door, or replace the door,
then I don't think you need to worry much about a fireproof curtain
for the WH.

-Brian


Last edited by brian-hansen on Fri May 25, 2007 7:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think what I might do is to get a blanket, but rather than wrapping around the core of the heater, which seems well insulated and does not leak heat, make a "bonnet" or cone around the top where all the pipes are.

Actually, yesterday, after insulating a few more areas of the exposed pipe, I think I've pretty much reduced 95 percent of the heat loss. And as I said, it's noticeable just from taking a bath and not having the hot water run out when the tub is filled half full.
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Researching your dissertation? Serious collector? Just looking for something neat?
You've found the right place to add to your existing collection, or to start a new one.
jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 12:14 pm    Post subject: Blow Out Reply with quote

Ok, less than a year since converting to CFs, my first compact bulb blew out!

I thought these things were supposed to last for years!!!

Did we just increase our lighting costs by an order of magnitude in order to save a few pennies in electricity ???
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brian-hansen
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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 712
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you provide a few particulars? Which location? Percentage of time on?
On a dimmer or electric eye?
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Which location?


Living room.

Quote:
Percentage of time on?


I have three lamps in my living room, this is probably the least used.

I bring it near my desk when working only sometimes.

I would say maybe 10 hours a week.

Quote:
On a dimmer or electric eye?


No
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