Here is a little follow-up on a topic I brought into the lime-light a few years ago – LED lighting. As you remember, I was hoping for a revolution in lighting, but it did not come to pass. LED lighting is making more inroads in the present day but progress is slow. Phillips has come out with a 20 year bulb, but it is still too expensive for mass adoption, retailing for about $50. Another problem besides price is that all of our houses are out-fitted with sockets. LEDs are very flexible and modifiable and can be made to fit in any room, in any arrangement, in any color. The trouble is, people would have to re-wire much of their home in order to take advantage of this flexibility – a problem that other people have noticed as well. Sockets were a good standard approach for the past, but perhaps they have outlived their usefulness.
So what about the sample LED lights I have been using during the intervening 5 years (since my first big blog post on the subject)? The lights that were shaped like standard bulbs are still working fine. I haven’t noticed any decrease in the light intensity or any other changes in performance/function. I also used one of the flood light-type LEDs in one of my desk lamps and that one started mis-behaving just last week. It didn’t burn out but it started blinking. I haven’t tested it out since last week but I will again in the near future and see if the blinking is a prelude to complete failure of the bulb.
Speaking of bulb failures, we also use the CFL bulbs in our house. We have very few incandescent bulbs – maybe 1 or 2 in the whole house. What I have noticed with the CFL’s is that they tend to burn out at a regular rate. It was about 6 years ago that I started switching all of our bulbs over to CFL. Almost all of them them burned out after 6 years. It is if they are designed to fail after a certain point. Incandescent bulbs burn out faster, but they vary quite a bit. I have had some incandescents burn out in a matter of months and others last many years. I just found it strange that the CFL’s all burned out after about 5 years of use, which it the average stated lifespan on a lot of the promotional material and packaging.
I also notice that the CFL’s just don’t “blink out”. Sometimes they burn out, which is not supposed to happen. I have included a picture of one of the bulbs I found “burned”. You can see how the plastic (or ceramic) based material where the lighting element is adjoined to the base of the bulb turned brown because of the heat. This is a little disconcerting and I am not the only one who has noticed. Here is a more in depth, engineer’s take on the situation.
And one last point about energy savings with new lighting technology. As I have mentioned in the past, just because we have more efficient lighting, doesn’t automatically mean that there will be a lot of energy savings or reduced pollution. An unfortunate effect of humans & progress is that when something becomes cheaper to use, we typically use more of it. The same could turn out to be the case with LED lighting. I can see many people thinking, “why turn out the light in the room when no one is in there, it is so efficient, it doesn’t cost as much to keep it burning, right.”
Have a pleasant Friday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.