I Have No Idea – Lightbulbs

I have written articles, blog posts, even made videos about this subject, and it just continues to get worse. I am willing to concede that “green marketing” works. I have proven over and over that it is often false, or misrepresentative, but now the “greenies” have gone too far. I can no longer evaluate products when the market is saturated with hypes and claims! How many bloggers does it take to change a lightbulb? I don’t know yet! The jury is still out.

A few years back, there was a claim that sales of filament lightbulbs would soon be outlawed in favor of heavy metal (mercury) laced “green” bulbs, as they would save energy. Environmentalists flamed the internet again and CFLs were replaced with LEDs. Each product claims a reduced wattage of energy use to provide the same amount of light as a higher wattage bulb. I understood that phase. I even embraced it.
I can run 10 LED lamps, producing a hideous off-greenish-blue light, in my camper with the same power that one warm and steady incandescent bulb requires. I installed 18 of the gizmos in my toy hauler before an elk hunting trip. They work well in a situation where you are trying to save battery power in below freezing conditions. Warm light does not make your hunting buddies look better after a week anyway. In my home, it gets a little more critical.

I recently pushed an oversized cart through large home improvement store. My goal was to buy a flush mount ceiling light, and a flush-mount ceiling fan with a lighting kit that complimented the ceiling light. The first trick is to find to similar fixtures that use the same type of bulbs. When lit, an LED powered lamp looks different from a CFL, or a traditional Edison bulb, making the pair very unlike. To my surprise, I found a ceiling light and fan lighting kit that both used 60 watt max traditional bulbs. Since bulbs were not included, I headed to the light bulb aisle.

I started at the end of the aisle that used to contain plain-old light bulbs, but soon found I had wandered into the land of half, frosted, dimmable, spiral, multi-led, compact florescent section. I walked backwards looking for the 60 watt bulbs. Nothing! Everything was “replaces 60 watt bulb – uses only 12 watts” and so on. I went back to the beginning of the aisle to start over. This is where I noticed another example of “green marketing” saving companies money while preying on the customer.

bulbsThe labels on standard light bulbs now look something like this… replacement for 60 watt bulb uses only 43 watts of energy. The tree-hugging, do-gooding, environmentalists blinded to realism may fall for this, but I do not. There is nothing saying that the 43 watt bulb puts out as much light as a 60 watt bulb. There is just a large 60 watt label on a 43 watt incandescent light bulb. Less light means more bulbs, or better glasses, needed to see in the produced light. If I caught the deception, why does it bother me? Follow along fellow consumers.

Both my fan and ceiling light fixtures claim a maximum wattage of 60 is to be used in each light receptacle. I can obviously use the “replacement” for 60 watt bulbs as they are actually only 43 watt bulbs. What about the next incandescent bulbs on the shelf… replacement for 75 watt bulb uses only 58 watts. Isn’t this an actual 60 watt traditional bulb? Who pays for the fire damage if I use a 58 watt bulb masquerading as a 75 watt bulb when only a 60 watt maximum bulb was recommended? Once again… green marketing run amuck.

Most annoying are the misconceptions concerning energy consumption that are fed to our youth. They read tablets in the dark. They play computer games with no lights on. Think back. Didn’t we visualize our grandparent’s homes as a little dark, or poorly lit? Children today believe that is the way we grew up. Turn off the 6 recessed 40 watt bulbs, hit them with a good old center of the room 100 watter and they will cringe into the corner of the room while tanning a bit. The reality is that we had better and more useable artificial light40 years ago than we have today

This is probably why manufacturers list lumens (actual light) provided by newer bulbs. I found the 60 watt "replacements" ranged anywhere from 435 to 850 lumens. I'll take 850 lumens please. I don't want to add 3 more light fixtures in an attempt to make up the difference. Before you comment to discredit my thoughts, take a look at what more obvious claims would look like. "At 40 miles per gallon, the Honda Civic is a replacement for the fuel guzzling Corvette, OR, replacing Huggies diapers with 2 ply paper towels decreases landfill waste." The new standard in light bulb labeling is just another attempt to keep consumers in the dark.