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Some Great Tips For Hanging Christmas Lights September 22, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Definitions about product., How to about lighting, LED Lights, light bulb.
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This could happen to you

This could happen to you

Gadzooks! Its already the time to start thinking about putting up christmas lights! So I figure it would be good to post a few tips on how to go about creating your own little winter wonderland.  Ann Belvins from Better Homes and Gardens gives 13 tips for setting up a dazzling christmas display!

Dr. Z



1. Start out small. If you’re a Christmas lights novice, light just two or three items, such as trees or bushes, to serve as focal points. Add new displays each year.

2. Stay safe. Only use lights with the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) label and be sure you’re using lights designed specifically for outdoor use.

3.Know your lights. When it comes to holiday lights, there’s a type available for every nook and cranny of your house and yard. Whether you want blinking rope lights outlining windows or net lights blanketing bushes, wising up on your holiday light knowledge will help you get the most bang for your buck.

4.Check for burned-out lights. Test light strings and replace any burned-out lights before decking the halls. Burned-out lights drain power from the entire light string, and the other bulbs will grow dimmer.

5. Out with the old, in with the new. Avoid old-fashioned nails, staples, screws, or hooks when mounting your display. Electrical tape is a quick and easy alternative — it won’t destroy your roof, and it’s a good tool for protecting electrical connections. Clips, such as shingle tab or parapet clips, hold lights to surfaces by applying simple, safe pressure.

6.Use a sturdy ladder. Enlist a helper to keep you steady as you hang lights on very tall tree — you’ll stay safe and you’ll be able to reach the branches easily. Attach lights to branches with tree clips or twist ties.

 7. Work your way up. To string trunks of deciduous trees, start at the base and wrap the lights around in a spiral. If you want to illuminate an evergreen, however, start at the top and zigzag lights through the center of the tree, getting wider with the tree’s shape

8. Consider the location. If your evergreen can only be seen by passersby from the front, save lights and work by decorating the tree front only.

9. Add some dimension. Consider ground and stake lighting for extra holiday oomph. Multicolored lights work well for outlining walks, paths, and driveways.

10.Avoid bright light overload. Holiday lights can be dazzling and fun, but be careful not to overload your circuits. Include no more than 1,400 watts on a circuit. If other lights in the house dim when you turn on the holiday lights, your circuit is overloaded.

11.Look around for added sparkle. Find illuminating inspiration in unexpected places. Perhaps a birdbath or decorative porch columns would look pretty with a little extra light. For hard-to-reach spots, or any place you don’t want to use electricity, try battery-operated mini lights.

12.Call in the pros. If you don’t have roofing experience, limit your lights to eaves, gables, and the edge of the roof. Keep lights and cords away from metal. Beware of overheated wires, aluminum gutters, and ironwork decor. If you want more lights on the roof itself, call a professional lighting company.

13.Hit the switch. Turn off outdoor lights before going to bed, and don’t leave them on when you’re away from home, unless they’re attached to a timer with a photocell.


Big Advance in OLED Lighting Might Signal Beginning of the End for the Bulbs May 18, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Definitions about product., LED Lights, light bulb, List Article.
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OLED Diagram

OLED Diagram


Gadzooks! The search for the perfect light source continues. OLEDs are they the future? Check out the posting below.

Dr. Z


P.S. I included a brief definition of OLEDs at the begining. Thanks to Wikipedia!

An organic light emitting diode (OLED), also light emitting polymer (LEP) and organic electro luminescence (OEL), is any light emitting diode (LED) whose emissive electroluminescent layer is composed of a film of organic compounds. The layer usually contains a polymer substance that allows suitable organic compounds to be deposited. They are deposited in rows and columns onto a flat carrier by a simple “printing” process. The resulting matrix of pixels can emit light of different colors.

Such systems can be used in television screens, computer displays, small, portable system screens such as cell phones and PDAs, advertising, information and indication. OLEDs can also be used in light sources for general space illumination, and large-area light-emitting elements. OLEDs typically emit less light per area than inorganic solid-state based LEDs which are usually designed for use as point-light sources.

A significant benefit of OLED displays over traditional liquid crystal displays (LCDs) is that OLEDs do not require a backlight to function. Thus they draw far less power and, when powered from a battery, can operate longer on the same charge. Because there is no need for a backlight, an OLED display can be much thinner than an LCD panel. Degradation of OLED materials has limited their use so far.[1]


The up-and-coming electronics technology known as organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) has spent the week in the, yes, spotlight. Earlier this week researchers announced that they had joined OLEDs to a rubbery conductor to make a computer display screen that could be bent, folded, and crumpled. Now, another team has tweaked OLEDs to make ultra-efficient panels that produce a white light similar to that produced by traditional incandescent light bulbs. Study coauthor Karl Leo says some big technical hurdles still need to be overcome, but adds: “I’m pretty convinced that in a few years OLEDs will be a standard in buildings” [BBC News].


Incandescent lighting is being phased out in some parts of the world because it isn’t energy efficient, and it’s being replaced by compact fluorescent bulbs or light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures. But with both fluorescent and LED lighting, the quality of white light produced has always left something to be desired. Fluorescent lighting can make people appear unhealthy because less red light is emitted, while most white LEDs on the market today have a bluish quality, making them appear cold [Technology Review]. In contrast, OLEDs, which are made from organic compounds that emit light when electricity is passed through them, can provide a nice white light, but efficiency problems have held the technology back.

As the researchers explain in a paper in Nature, their modifications boosted OLED’s efficiency past that of traditional lighting sources. Their improved device yielded 90 lumens (a measurement of brightness) per watt of electricity consumed…. This compared to 15 lumens for a conventional incandescent light bulb and between 50 and 70 lumens per watt for modern compact fluorescent light bulbs [AFP]. They produced the efficiency gain with a series of technical adjustments. One trick was to make the outer surfaces of the device from types of glass that have optical properties that more closely match those of the device substrate. Otherwise, much of the emitted light is reflected and either reabsorbed or lost through heat. “In conventional structures, about 80 percent of the light is lost,” [Technology Review], says study coauthor Sebastian Reineke.

But the technology still faces several large obstacles:. Just like previous white OLEDs, the devices degrade within an hour or two, because the polymers that produce the blue part of the light are unstable. However, Professor Leo said that promising first results on stable, phosphorescent blue polymers are starting to emerge. “I’m personally convinced that it may take a few years, but chemists will solve this problem and find materials which are stable enough,” he said [BBC News]. OLEDs are also expensive to produce, but researchers hope that the material can soon be produced in large sheets, making it commercially viable.

Related Content:
Rubbery Computer Screens Can Be Bent, Folded, and Even Crumpled
DISCOVER: Future Tech shows why the light bulb is becoming as quaint as a vacuum tube

Image: F. Erler / N. Seidler

Home LED Light Applications April 10, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Definitions about product., How to about lighting, LED Lights.
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led pumkin: even pumkins go well with LEDs!

led pumkin: even pumkins go well with LEDs!

Gadzooks! Its me Dr. Z here to put forth some more great info on LED and what  application best suits them. Check out the article below for some useful tips!

Dr. Z



Can You Use LED Lights In Your Home?

LED Lights – Current Home Applications

LED lights appeared in the 60s but just recently have been used for home lighting applications for space lighting. Basically a LED is a semiconductor device which converts electricity into light. Obviously there’s more to it than that though.

For a not-too technical look at LED workings check out How Stuff Works.

Currently, LED lights, or Light Emitting Diodes are not appropriate for house wide lighting use. By design, LED lights are directional, meaning their light doesn’t spread all that well. That said, there are still pros to replacing some home lighting with LED lights.

  • LED bulbs burn cooler; a point that can help prevent fires.
  • LED burns more efficiently than incandescent, which saves energy and money. The monetary savings may be cut though, depending on where you get your lights. You can find them for the same cost as incandescents, but not always.
  • LED lighting is durable. Consumer Reports recently compared one of the more well known LED applications, , to regular incandescent bulbs. The LED bulbs far out-performed the incandescent. Research on small home LED light applications show the same.
  • LED lighting is healthier for the environment.

So, where can you use LED bulbs in your home. Most current research suggests that LED lights work best for small spaces, or places where you may need close-in direct light. Keep in mind that this is because LED lights burn in a more muted fashion, you’re not going to get bright light like you will with other choices.

Places LED works well include

  • Reading lights.
  • In stairways or closets.
    Recessed lighting.
  • Linear strip lighting.
  • As a night light.
  • To showcase something – an art piece for example.
  • Lights you see inside a glass door cupboard.
  • Outdoor and porch lighting.

Outdoor lighting is iffy. Some people like how LED looks outside while others think the light is too dim. I’ve heard both sides. Personally, I like the more muted look of LED, but if you need extra bright light outside, LED is not what you want. The best you can do is try. You can always replace a light.

NY Times CFL article-Do New Bulbs Save Energy if They Don’t Work? April 6, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, Definitions about product., light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture, List Article.
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the search for the ultimate bulb continues!

the search for the ultimate bulb continues!

Zoinks! Its me Dr. Z the pharoah of fluorescence ! New article in the  NY TIMES weighing in yet again on the search for the ultimate light source. Listen Learn and Read On!


Dr. Z



Do New Bulbs Save Energy if They Don’t Work?
Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times
A compact fluorescent light bulb is placed in a large spherical testing device at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

Published: March 27, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO — It sounds like such a simple thing to do: buy some new light bulbs, screw them in, save the planet.

Living More Green
Are there simple and cost-effective ways to increase energy efficiency for houses?

Tips for Using Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (March 28, 2009)
Times Topics: Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs | Efficient Lighting

A blog about energy, the environment and the bottom line.

Go to Blog » But a lot of people these days are finding the new compact fluorescent bulbs anything but simple. Consumers who are trying them say they sometimes fail to work, or wear out early. At best, people discover that using the bulbs requires learning a long list of dos and don’ts.

Take the case of Karen Zuercher and her husband, in San Francisco. Inspired by watching the movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” they decided to swap out nearly every incandescent bulb in their home for energy-saving compact fluorescents. Instead of having a satisfying green moment, however, they wound up coping with a mess.

“Here’s my sad collection of bulbs that didn’t work,” Ms. Zuercher said the other day as she pulled a cardboard box containing defunct bulbs from her laundry shelf.

One of the 16 Feit Electric bulbs the Zuerchers bought at Costco did not work at all, they said, and three others died within hours. The bulbs were supposed to burn for 10,000 hours, meaning they should have lasted for years in normal use. “It’s irritating,” Ms. Zuercher said.

Irritation seems to be rising as more consumers try compact fluorescent bulbs, which now occupy 11 percent of the nation’s eligible sockets, with 330 million bulbs sold every year. Consumers are posting vociferous complaints on the Internet after trying the bulbs and finding them lacking.

Bulb makers and promoters say the overall quality of today’s compact fluorescents is high. But they also concede that it is difficult to prevent some problem bulbs from slipping through.

Experts say the quality problems are compounded by poor package instructions. Using the bulbs incorrectly, such as by screwing low-end bulbs into fixtures where heat is prone to build up, can greatly shorten their lives.

Some experts who study the issue blame the government for the quality problems, saying an intensive federal push to lower the price essentially backfired by encouraging manufacturers to use cheap components.

“In the pursuit of the holy grail, we stepped on the consumer,” said Michael Siminovitch, director of a lighting center at the University of California, Davis.

Compact fluorescents once cost as much as $30 apiece. Now they go for as little as $1 — still more than regular bulbs, but each compact fluorescent is supposed to last 10 times longer, save as much as $5.40 a bulb each year in electricity, and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from burning coal in power plants.

Much of the credit for that sharp cost decline goes to the Energy Department. The agency asked manufacturers in 1998 to create cheaper models and then helped find large-volume buyers, like universities and utilities, to buy them. That jump-started a mass market and eventually led to sales of discounted bulbs at retailers like Costco, Wal-Mart Stores and Home Depot.

Consumers are supposed to be able to protect themselves by buying bulbs certified under the government’s Energy Star program. But experts and some environmental groups complain that Energy Star standards are weak, permitting low-quality bulbs with too high a level of mercury, a toxic metal contained in all compact fluorescents.

“The standard essentially establishes a floor, which sorts out the junk, with the expectation that the rest is good,” Mr. Siminovitch said. “It’s not.”

The government, which will begin enforcing tighter specifications this year, says it must seek a balance between quality and affordability to achieve its goal of getting millions of additional consumers to install the bulbs.

“Something that is perfect but not affordable wouldn’t serve the broad interests,” said Peter Banwell, the Energy Department’s manager of product marketing for Energy Star.

Alan Feit, vice president of Feit Electric, says he does not think the problems experienced by the Zuerchers indicate an overall quality problem with his bulbs. But he acknowledged the difficulty of keeping tight quality control on a cheap, mass-market item. “There are 40 to 50 components that go into these things,” Mr. Feit said. “While manufacturers try to inspect all incoming materials, one little mistake may cause a performance problem.”

Victor Roberts, an independent expert in Burnt Hills, N.Y., who conducts failure analysis testing on compact fluorescents, suspects that some suppliers — many of them in China — are using substandard components.

“Somebody decides to save a little money somewhere,” he said, “and suddenly we have hundreds of thousands of failures.”

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 percent of the thousands of certified bulb models each year.

In California, where bulbs have been heavily encouraged, utilities have concluded that they will not be able to persuade a majority of consumers to switch until compact fluorescents get better. That is prompting them to develop specifications for a better bulb.

The effort aims to address the most consumer complaints: poor dimming, slow warm-up times, shortened bulb life because of high temperatures inside enclosed fixtures, and dissatisfaction with the color of the light.

“Because of the aggressive goals in California, we have to be pushing the envelope at all times,” said Roland Risser, director of customer efficiency at Pacific Gas and Electric.

Experts and bulb manufacturers say that consumers need to play a role in solving the problems by learning more about the limitations of compact fluorescent bulbs. The Federal Trade Commission has begun to study whether it should force improvements in the labels of the bulbs.

Better labels might have helped the Zuerchers, the San Francisco couple. Initially, they put regular compact fluorescents in virtually every socket in their home, including enclosed ceiling lamps, dimmable fixtures and areas where lights are turned on and off frequently.

But some of those applications require specialized, more expensive bulbs, something the Zuerchers say was not made clear on the label of their Feit bulbs or on any sign they saw posted at Costco.

“We’re both college-educated and pay attention to labels we read,” Ms. Zuercher said. “It feels like someone forgot to put a place to find the information.”


Tips for Aquarium Lighting April 3, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, Definitions about product., How to about lighting, LED Lights, light bulb, List Article.
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Hey guys! Fish need better light!

Hey guys! Fish need better light!

ZOinks! Its me Dr Z! I have said before and I’ll say it again… Everybody needs better light and that everyone includes our finny fishy friends that reside in aquariums! Below are some great tips on good lighting for fish! Enjoy!

Dr Z



Aquarium Lighting – Fish Tank Lighting

One important aspect of keeping tropical fish is aquarium lighting. This is an often overlooked area that can sometimes be confusing for a beginner to aquariums. The confusion may come from the many available types of fish tank lighting that you can use to light your tank. The main types of light are:

  • regular fluorescent lights,
  • compact flourescent,
  • high output (ho) flourescent,
  • very high output (vho) flourescent
  • metal halide
  • LED – Light Emitting Diodes

The type of light you need for your tank really depends on what you plan on keeping in your tank. This article is a very general introduction into aquarium lighting and below we discuss the various types of lighting needs based on aquarium type. These are general recommendations and we encourage you to research your livestock’s lighting requirements for best results.


Light Spectrum
Spectrum of visible light expressed in nanometers (nm).Aquarium Light Types

Regular Flourescent Light
These are the type of lights that come with most starter tanks and are very affordable. They typically range from 15 to 40 watts and have Kelvin ratings from 3,000° to 10,000°. Kelvin is the scale used to measure the color temperature. They are very cheap to run and replace.Compact Flourescent Light Bulb
These are a step up from the regular flourescent lights. They typically range from 10 to 100 watts and have Kelvin ratings from 5,000° to 10,000°. They offer really bright and intense light but they do put off some heat that may raise the tank water temperature. Running power compact lights will require special hoods and because of the heat produced, they often come with installed fans in the hood.

High Output (HO) Flourescent Light
HO flourescent lights typically range from 20-60 watts and have Kelvin ratings from 6,000° to 11,000°. They are more expensive than regular flourescents and usually last longer. These lights require a T5 light fixture.

Very High Output (VHO) Flourescent Light
VHO flourescent lights typically range from 75-160 watts and have Kelvin ratings from 10,000° to 20,000°. These lights are very expensive and produce a lot of heat. They require a ballast and/or special fixture especially for VHO lights. They have fans incorporated into the lighting unit to help keep the lights and aquarium cool. Even though they come with fans you may need to equip your tank with an aquarium chiller to prevent your tank water from overheating.

Metal Halide Light Bulb
Metal Halide lamps typically range from 175-1000 watts and have Kelvin ratings from 5,000° to 20,000°. This type of light is closest to the sun in terms of luminousity but they are very expensive to buy, operate and replace. They produce a lot of heat and usually must be fan cooled. Ballasts with fan units included are widely available. This is often the preferred method of lighting a reef tank setup with anemones and corals that need higher intensity lighting.

LED Aquarium Lights
Is this what we have in store for the future of aquarium lighting systems? Prices as of 2007 are still very high and they will need to drop significantly in price before more hobbyists will transition to them. They offer many advantages over previously mentioned lights. Some of the advantages of LED lights over convential flourescents and metal halides include:

  • LED lights run much cooler than standard flourescents and metal halides
  • LED lights consume less energy than the other lights
  • They have a much longer life span
  • There is no filament to break, so they could be considered more durable
  • They can be configured in many ways due to their small size.

Many of the light fixtures being sold now include moon lights which are LEDs. So we’re starting to see them more often, but even though these LED’s are very promising we are probably still a few years away from using them as the primary light source on most home aquariums. 

Freshwater Aquarium Light – Fish Only
For a freshwater tank with no live plants you can get by with the low watt flourescent lights. These lights are typically between 18 and 40 watts and should last for a year or longer before they burn out.

Freshwater Aquarium Plant Lighting
Live plant keepers will need to upgrade their lighting system. The light type you need depends on several factors:

  • Depth of the tank
  • Plant species you plan on keeping
  • Growth rate desired

Typically, plant keepers try to provide anywhere from 2-5 watts per aquarium gallon. Research the plants you want to keep beforehand to determine if you can provide the light needed.

Saltwater Aquarium Light – Fish Only
Fish only saltwater tanks will work fine with regular flourescent bulbs. Try to get a “full spectrum” light for your tank.

While tanks with live rock can get by with regular flourescent full spectrum lights they will do better with flourescents and actinic lights (blue light). It really depends on how well you want the coralline algae to grow. Certain types of coralline algae seems to grow better with higher amounts of actinic lighting.

Saltwater Reef Aquarium Light
Saltwater reef tanks with corals, clams and other light needing organisms will need the high output, very high output flourescent or metal halide lamps. Certain corals, anemones and clams require very intense lighting levels that can only be provided with VHO and metal halide light sources. A general rule of thumb for reef tanks is between 4 and 10 watts per aquarium gallon. Many reefers have lighting systems incorporating metal halides and VHO flourescent tubes. Research the species you want to keep because light requirements can vary. Because of the amount of heat these light units can produce, you may need to get an aquarium chiller to keep your tank water temperature in an acceptable range. The expense of lighting a reef tank may be just as high or higher than the cost of the live rock.

Photo Period – How long do you leave the lights on?
How long should the fish tank lights stay on for? We get this question frequently. A good range to aim for would be anywhere from 6 to 12 hours. Remember that fish like and need to rest just like other animals. Fish only setups could range from 6 to 12 hours, reef tank setups and freshwater planted aquariums could range from 10 to 12 hour photo periods. Leaving the lights on for longer time periods could contribute to nuisance algae growth (just one of the factors with algae growth), higher tank temperatures and quicker tank water evaporation. Be consistent and if you can afford it, invest in a light timer.

Aquarium Light Timer
You may also want to get an aquarium light timer. A light timer can help make running an aquarium that much more enjoyable because it’s one less thing you have to mess with. Most higher end fish tank hoods and fixtures have multiple power cords that are tied into the multiple light sockets within the hood. This allows you to setup your timer to turn on the various lights at different times.

For instance, a popular hood nowadays is the compact flourescent hood incorporating an actinic bulb, a full spectrum bulb and a moon light. You could set up the timer to turn on the actinic bulb to go on first and stay on for 12 hours, then have the full spectrum bulb come on an hour or so later and stay on for 10 hours. This could simulate dawn and dusk by having the actinic bulbs come on an hour early and stay on an hour later. Finally, you could have the moon lights turn on when the actinics turn off. Who knows, you may even start to see breeding behavior in certain species that may be more in tune with the light of the moon in this type of setup. Another side benefit of using a moon light is the super cool effect it creates in the aquarium when all the other lights in the room are off.

As you can see, the type of light you need really depends on they type of tank your running. Freshwater and Saltwater fish only tanks can usually get by with the regular flourescent lights whereas the freshwater plant keepers and saltwater reef tank keepers will need to invest in better light sources.

Please practice good aquarium electrical safety and be sure to use drip loops and gfci outlets!


So How Much Mercury is in Those Compact Fluorescents? February 11, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Definitions about product..
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Don't try this at home kids.

Don't try this at home kids.

Zoomz-n-ZOinks! Its me Dr. Z! The loopy lightbringer of the new millenium. One of the most controversial and misinformed subjects about CFL is that the contain life threatening amounts of mercury that could kill you in all sort of bizzarre ways. Nothing could be further from the truth. The amount of mercury CFL’s contain is very small and is sealed within the glass tubing. It contains most often no more than 5 milligrams, which is equivalent to the tip of a balllpoint pen. Mercury is an essential component to all fluorescents and  is essential to making it a energy efficient light source. There is nothing that can replace mercury that will allow fluorescents to work thought many manufacturers have greatly reduced the amount needed.  Zoinks! Its also good to remember that your everyday household thermometers contains up to 500 milligrams of mercury and many manual thermostats contain up to 3000 milligrams. It gonna take  100 and 600 CFLs to equal those amounts! GadzookZ!

Dr Z




So CFLS are certainly safe to use in your home and no mercury is given off if used properly. No juggling, throwing,eating , or licking! CFLs are made of glass tubing and can break if dropped or roughly handled.  Be careful when removing the lamp from its packaging, installing it, or replacing it. Always screw and unscrew the lamp by its base, and never forcefully twist the CFL into a light socket by its tubes.  Just like when handling an Incandescent bulb or any bulb for that matter! As far as disposal you want to make sure an recycle!

See the EPA’s site on recycling




Common Myths about Compact Fluorescents February 10, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Definitions about product..
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Dr Z, in search of the perfect light.

Dr Z, in search of the perfect light.

Gadzooks! Its hard work being a light bulb guy! Dr. Z here ready to save the world one bulb at a time. I’m finding many people out there still have a alot of misconceptions about compact fluorescents, so I have posted this fantastic article taken from ConsumerReports that gives a unbiased take on compact fluorescents. They did a great job on this one. See below! Zoinks!

Dr Z



Compact fluorescent lightbulbs
Don’t fall for the common myths about these long-lasting, energy-saving lights

STILL SHINING Several CFLs from GE, Home Depot, and others are lighting our labs after 10,000 hours.
Photo by Michael SmithSwapping regular bulbs for compact fluorescents can save you at least $30 per bulb over a CFL’s life. The latest bulbs are better than earlier ones. Yet the myths burn on. Here are some of the most common misconceptions:

Myth: Finding a recycler is hard.

Reality: You shouldn’t throw used CFLs out with the trash. But Home Depot, Ikea, and some Ace and True Value stores accept unbroken CFLs no matter where you bought them. Wal-Mart sells the most CFLs. A spokeswoman told us the chain was looking into a recycling program, but it didn’t have one as we went to press. You can also contact your public works department or go to http://www.epa.gov/bulbrecycling.

Myth: Compact fluorescents are pricey.

Reality: Some CFLs now cost less than $2 compared with $9 to $25 in 1999. Several lasted five to 10 times as long as regular bulbs in our tests, and Energy Star versions use up to 75 percent less power. They’re also warranted for as long as nine years. Write the purchase date on the bulb in indelible ink. And save your receipt.

Myth: CFLs produce a harsh blue light.

Reality: Many now light like ordinary bulbs. Those with a 2,700 to 3,000 Kelvin (K) number have a warmer, yellower color; 3,500 K to 6,500 K bulbs emit a bluer or whiter light. Energy Star CFLs must include the Kelvin number on the package as of December. Look for CFLs labeled “soft” or “warm” white for light like an incandescent’s, and choose “bright white,” “natural,” or “daylight” for whiter light.

Myth: CFLs flicker when they first light.

Reality: That happened in earlier CFLs with magnetic ballasts. New ones use faster, electronic ballasts.

Myth: These bulbs need time to turn on.

Reality: Turn-on is now nearly instant. But most CFLs we tested took about 30 seconds to reach 80 percent of their brightness, and some flood and outdoor lights took 90 seconds or more. That’s why some appear dim at first and aren’t ideal for areas such as closets or stairs.

Myth: CFLs contain lots of mercury.

Reality: Each bulb has a tiny fraction of the mercury in a traditional fever thermometer. Energy Star CFLs will have strict limits by the end of this year.

Myth: Compact fluorescent lightbulbs release mercury as they burn.

Reality: The mercury is sealed inside the glass tubing.

Myth: You need to put on a hazmat suit if you drop one of these bulbs.

Reality: Exposure to broken CFLs can pose a health risk, especially to a fetus or young child. But don’t panic. Open a window, shut off central A/C or forced-air heating, and clear the room for at least 15 minutes as the Environmental Protection Agency recommends. Then follow the EPA’S cleanup guide at http://www.epa.gov/mercury/spills. And be sure to keep CFLs out of lamps that could easily tip, especially in rooms used often by children or pregnant women.

Myth: CFLs smoke when they burn out.

Reality: Today’s spent bulbs typically flicker, dim, or emit a reddish-orange glow. If one you own smokes or smolders, turn off power to the light and allow the bulb to cool before removing it and taking it to a retailer or other recycler.

Coming soon! February 6, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Definitions about product., Stupid Jokes about Lighting, Weird Bulb News.
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Video of the The Great Ligh Bulb Weeny Roast Experiment!

Coming Soon: Video of the The Great Ligh Bulb Weeny Roast Experiment!

Zoinks! Its me Dr Z the leader of luminiferous ether and sorceror of the seven rays of the sun. Are you ready to witness a step into the unknown? A jump into the great beyond? The most daring scientific experiment since NASA’s trip to the moon?!?!?

Prepare yourself for THE GREAT LIGHT BULB WEENY ROAST EXPERIMENT..coming soon on video. Starring Me Dr Z! and my cohort Mr. Y. Zoinks

Be there or be square!

Dr Z


Flicker Fluorescent Facts! February 2, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Definitions about product..
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Dr.Z (with magnifying glass) and Mr. Y unconvering the mysteries of light one bulb at a time

Dr.Z (with magnifying glass) and Mr. Y unconvering the mysteries of light one bulb at a time

Zoinks! Its me Dr Z

Some of you may have noticed that older compact fluorescent light bulbs flicker when they are turned on because of it takes a few seconds for the internal ballast to produce electricity which in turn excites the gas inside the bulb.  This is really the sign of inferior quality in a compact fluorescent. (Yes even new technology has different quality standards)New compact fluorescents have improved greatly and there is no significant flicker when starting these.( it takes less than 1 sec to start) Compact Fluorescent DO require some time to warm up to full light so they may appear a little dim when they are first turned on. This makes them ideal for use in fixtures that are left on for a long time.


Dr Z


The story of the EPA and CFL’s- Does the EPA like the CFL? Maybe we should ask the CIA? January 29, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Definitions about product..
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The Secret is out! The EPA thinks CFL's are ZBEST!

The Secret is out! The EPA thinks CFL's are ZBEST!

NO! You don’t need to talk to the CIA about CFL’s. But the EPA does know a thing or two about CFL’s (in case you don’t know what a CFL is ..it a Compact Fluorescent Light!)

So what does the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) think of CFL’s? Do they support the use of them? Do they believe we should use them to light our houses, homes, and businesses? Do they like their funny little shape?

The answer is :Yes. If you compare a CFL to a standard incandescent bulb, it offers many benefits. First and for mostit helps save energy and money. A CFL will use 75% less energy than a standard incandescent light bulb, and lasts up to 10 times longer if not more. If you replace a 60 watt incandescent with a 13 watt CFL you can see savings of at least $30 over the life of the bulb. These things pay for themselves! I think even the CIA ,FDA, and NBA could support something like that! The second thing about CFL’s is that they produce 70% less heat which means they can cut energy costs associated with home cooling! So EPA has found a find friend in the CFL..


Dr Z




P.S. Energy star has a zany new energy calculator that you can use to calculate the money you are going to save by switching to a CFL. Check out it out at the linke below!