An Article from Aaron's Article ArchiveIncandescent to Compact Fluorescent to LED
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Incandescent to Compact Fluorescent to LED
Saturday, 09 June 2012 9:05 AM MDT
I hate compact fluorescent light bulbs. Geek that I am, I was an early adopter, buying some of the very first CF bulbs available in St. George over a decade ago. But I quickly discovered that although they claimed they'd last longer than good old-fashioned incandescent bulbs, the only light bulbs in my house (with just one exception) that I had to replace over the course of the next ten years were the expensive CF bulbs. Incandescents for the win! (Oh, and if an incandescent breaks, I don't have to worry about mercury contamination.)
I can't totally blame the CF bulbs, however (though my emotional repugnance for them remains unabated). The light fixtures where I installed them were fully enclosed, which CF and LED bulbs DO NOT LIKE because they often overheat in such spaces, while incandescents happily endure high temperatures.
I've also always been a fan of warm tone light, preferring bulbs that emit white light in the 2700K to 3000K spectrum range like incandescents and halogen. That's probably another reason that in general I've hated CF bulbs. The color of the light produced was always either cold, or when the bulbs attempted to appear warmer, instead of a yellow-gold tinted white light, an odd pinkish hue was instead emitted. It was a limitation of the phosphors in the CF bulb coatings that convert the invisible ultraviolet light produced by the fluorescing, electrically excited gasses inside. Oh, and depending on the alternating current frequency the CF bulb's electronic circuitry provides, CF bulbs might also have a noticeable flicker.
With the entrance of LED bulbs into the market, they too often exhibit similar light spectrum deficiencies and likewise can have flicker issues. But more recently, newer phosphor and LED technologies have finally come to the marketplace, so I decided to give LEDs a try.
In order to avoid the enclosed-fixture overheating issues, I decided to replace the light fixtures in my hallway (where the old CF bulbs had all finally died) with an open-air style (a traditional fixture wherein the bulbs mount horizontally and a glass cover attaches below, hiding the bulbs but not completely enclosing them, leaving a gap near the ceiling surface all the way around). So off to Lowes I went. I only made one mistake—I didn't carefully read the packaging and so the two fixtures I bought for just under $30.00 each were for a different, smaller light bulb (the sockets weren't the ordinary A19 style).
As my sister observed, I did the "man" thing, and instead of repackaging the fixture and returning it, I fixed it. I MacGyver my old fixture base mount and sockets with the new fixture's threaded, hollow central bolt structure (on which the glass cover hangs). So now I've got two new, working light fixtures installed using parts from my old and parts from the new. Yeah!
I also grabbed four $10 40-watt-equivalent 3000K LED light bulbs and installed 'em. I must say that I'm pleased. The lighting looks pretty good. While the bulbs do suffer ever-so-slightly from the pinkish-tint problem, with the new light fixture covers in place, and with the old (ugly, but not really visible) gold light fixture base behind them, everything combines to overcome this issue, bathing my hallway in a pleasing, warm white light.
Not bad, LEDs, and the price wasn't too terrible either. $40 for bulbs, $60 for fixtures, and my hallway is now fully illuminated with the equivalent of 160 watts, but only consuming about 30 watts. That really appeals to the technology geek in me!
I like my new lights!