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Are CFL Light Bulbs Safe? The real story from ABC. May 21, 2010

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in compact fluorescent.
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Zoinks Here is a great article on the CFL’s and how to responsible use one of these little buggers! This article is taken from ABC byJohn Matarese.

https://www.zbulbs.com/

CFL Light Bulb Risks Last Update: 5/20 7:03 pm If you’re like most people, you now have at least one or two of those squiggly Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs in your home. And you may be buying more soon. Like it or not, the government is pushing us to purchase more and more CFL’s –compact fluorescent lights — because they save energy. But do they come with extra risks the stores and government don’t want us to know about? Some homeowners are wondering: Could be also be inviting a risk of explosions, fire, and even mercury poisoning? Bulb explodes without warning Tom and Nancy Heim were watching TV recently, when Tom decided to turn on the floor lamp next to his recliner chair. “I heard this loud pop…I saw what I thought was smoke, coming out o the top of the floor lamp,” says Tom. Nancy suddenly found glass in her lap. She says, “I did not see it. I just heard it, and I noticed i had glass on me.” Their concern. The bulb could have started a fire or exposed them to dangerous mercury vapor. Risk of explosion or fire So we checked with the U.S. EPA, and found found some reassuring news. The EPA says its records show the risk of a bulb exploding is extremely rare. And in most cases it has investigated, the bulb had been damaged at some point, such as having been dropped on the floor. According to the EPA, it’s almost impossible for a CFL bulb to start a fire, as all UL approved bulbs have a safety shutoff fuse in the base. If the glass breaks, the fuse cuts out, and there no more current goes into the bulb.

Is there a  risk of mercury poisoning?

But what about the mercury vapor they may have breathed?

Last year, we asked Dr. Kim Dietrich, an Environmental Engineering Professor, to break and test a CFL bulb for mercury. Research Assistant Professor Joo-Youp Lee shattered a bulb inside a sealed bag…then put the bag on a mercury vapor analyzer.

No question, he says, the bulb contained a measurable amount of mercury.

However, Dr. Dietrich says the amount found is minuscule compared to thermometers we used to put in our mouths.

According to Dr. Dietrich, “It would take 100 shattered CFL bulbs to equal the amount of mercury in an older thermometer.”

What if a bulb breaks?

Despite that reassuring news, the U.S. EPA has a list of steps you should take if you break a bulb.

  • The EPA says open a window and ventilate the room for 15 minutes.
  • Then use cardboard to sweep up the remains of the bulb
  • Wearing rubber gloves, use a wet paper towel to wipe the area.
  • Finally, seal it all in a plastic bag, and dispose.
  • The EPA says do not vacuum the room, or you could spread mercury dust around.

The EPA says the amount in one bulb is not enough to create a health hazard.

To prevent problems

To prevent problems, and extend bulb life, the EPA suggests you:

  • Do not use CFL bulbs in bathrooms, or anywhere they will be turned on and off all day.  Frequent powering up and down reduces their life.
  • Do not use standard CFL’s in dimmer switches. Low voltage reduces their life
  • Three-way lamps are fine, however, as the contacts on the base of CFL bulbs are different from three-way bulbs, and they will not turn on with the low voltage setting.

So while a bulb explosion may scare you, it’s unlikely it will cause a fire or any real damage.

And despite Internet rumors, a broken bulb will not turn your home into a Hazmat zone.

The government says it is safe to continue using them.  As always, don’t waste your money. Is there a  risk of mercury poisoning?

But what about the mercury vapor they may have breathed?

Last year, we asked Dr. Kim Dietrich, an Environmental Engineering Professor, to break and test a CFL bulb for mercury. Research Assistant Professor Joo-Youp Lee shattered a bulb inside a sealed bag…then put the bag on a mercury vapor analyzer.

No question, he says, the bulb contained a measurable amount of mercury.

However, Dr. Dietrich says the amount found is minuscule compared to thermometers we used to put in our mouths.

According to Dr. Dietrich, “It would take 100 shattered CFL bulbs to equal the amount of mercury in an older thermometer.”

What if a bulb breaks?

Despite that reassuring news, the U.S. EPA has a list of steps you should take if you break a bulb.

  • The EPA says open a window and ventilate the room for 15 minutes.
  • Then use cardboard to sweep up the remains of the bulb
  • Wearing rubber gloves, use a wet paper towel to wipe the area.
  • Finally, seal it all in a plastic bag, and dispose.
  • The EPA says do not vacuum the room, or you could spread mercury dust around.

The EPA says the amount in one bulb is not enough to create a health hazard.

To prevent problems

To prevent problems, and extend bulb life, the EPA suggests you:

  • Do not use CFL bulbs in bathrooms, or anywhere they will be turned on and off all day.  Frequent powering up and down reduces their life.
  • Do not use standard CFL’s in dimmer switches. Low voltage reduces their life
  • Three-way lamps are fine, however, as the contacts on the base of CFL bulbs are different from three-way bulbs, and they will not turn on with the low voltage setting.

So while a bulb explosion may scare you, it’s unlikely it will cause a fire or any real damage.

And despite Internet rumors, a broken bulb will not turn your home into a Hazmat zone.

The government says it is safe to continue using them.  As always, don’t waste your money.

European Union Begins Ban of Incandescent Light Bulbs September 1, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, Controversial information, incandescent light bulb.
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The Incandescent Ban: Coming to a country near you!

The Incandescent Ban: Coming to a country near you!

Gadzooks! The EU has begun their ban the incandescent light bulb. Below is an article about the stir it is causing throughout Europe and even worldwide. Remember the EU is not the only one banning the incandescent. Heck the US is planning on a 2012 ban with some restrictions beginning as soon as 2010.

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com

 

ABC’s Samantha Fields reports from London: Across Europe today, a mundane household object is causing quite a stir — the incandescent light bulb, which is now living on borrowed time. The European Union Tuesday began enforcing a ban on incandescent bulbs, in an effort to save energy and combat global warming. Under the ban, factories are no longer allowed to produce the frosted glass bulbs, and retailers are not allowed to import them, though they can continue selling ones they already have. Conceived by Thomas Edison, incandescent light bulbs were first produced commercially in 1879, and in the 130 years since, almost nothing about them has changed. Now, though, the traditional bulbs are being replaced by the more energy-efficient — and more expensive — compact fluorescent bulbs. While some Europeans are in support of the ban and the reasons behind it, many others are mourning the endangered bulbs, which are cheaper, and give off a warmer glow. Some people are even rushing to stockpile incandescent bulbs, which will remain on the shelves only until retailers sell out of their existing stock. In Germany, sales of incandescent bulbs were up 35 percent in the first half of the year. One objection to the ban is that compact fluorescent bulbs cost around $14 a piece, compared to less than a dollar each for a traditional bulb. But the initial cost of the bulbs, officials say, is offset by energy savings down the line, and by the fact that compact fluorescent bulbs tend to last longer than incandescent ones. By E.U. calculations, making the switch to compact fluorescent bulbs, which use 80 percent less energy, could save each household more than $70 a year on electricity bills. Even if people can be convinced on the financial front, though, many are up in arms over the ban for other reasons. People who suffer from a variety of conditions, such as epilepsy, anxiety and lupus, say that fluorescent light has an adverse affect on their health. Others are concerned about the levels of mercury found in the bulbs. Compact fluorescents also tend to take longer to illuminate, cannot be used with dimmer switches, and emit a harsher light. That, in many ways, is what it comes down to: quality of light. Though the European Union is not the first to ban incandescent bulbs — Australia and Cuba have also done so — its experience will serve as a preview for the U.S., which is planning to phase them out starting in 2012. As the battle against climate change moves increasingly front and center, proponents of the energy-guzzling incandescent bulb seem to be fighting a losing battle. Still, they’re unlikely to let Edison’s bulbs go out without a fight.

Zoinks! The WallStreet Journal Weighs In!America’s On-Again, Off-Again Light Bulb Affair When Electricity Is Cheap, Consumers Spurn Fluorescent and LED Models That Can Save Money Over Time June 4, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Uncategorized.
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Gadzooks! The media is getting hot on light bulbs.. I might actually be hip! Someday…sigh

Dr Z

www.zbulbs.com

 

How long does it take to change a light bulb? Nearly a century and a half, it seems, though a replacement has been around for decades.

In the push for energy efficiency, changing old habits is proving more difficult than developing new technology. In the case of the light bulb, consumers see little reason to switch from energy-draining conventional models to more-efficient alternatives as long as electricity remains cheap.

Thomas Edison unveiled his incandescent bulb in 1879, and since then it has illuminated the world. But it is highly inefficient, generating 90% heat and 10% light. “The only thing worse is a candle flame,” says Terry McGowan, of the American Lighting Association, a trade group.

There is a better bulb. In fact, there are several. The spiral-shaped “compact fluorescent,” around for years, produces the same amount of light as its incandescent ancestor with one-quarter the energy. It lasts for years, provides light in an array of hues, and, by lowering electricity bills, pays for itself in about seven months. And the latest bright idea, the light-emitting diode, costs even more but lasts far longer than compact fluorescents. LED bulbs have been used mostly for consumer electronics and in commercial applications such as traffic lights.

Studies say improving the efficiency of the light bulb is among the easiest ways to start meaningfully curbing fossil-fuel consumption. Lighting accounts for some 20% of residential electricity use in the U.S. — a lot to fritter away as wasted heat. Yet about 80% of all bulbs sold to U.S. consumers are incandescents, which often cost less than 25 cents apiece, about one-tenth the price of a compact fluorescent.

“I buy the cheap ones,” Dallas resident Betty Ferrell said the other day as she reached for a pack of incandescents at a local Wal-Mart store. “They may not be cheap in the long run,” she said, “but they’re cheap for what I have in my purse now.”

In fact, Americans have been so reluctant to buy the new bulbs that the federal government is about to force their hand. A recent law will, in effect, ban incandescent bulbs for most uses by 2014.

MarketWatch’s Steve Gelsi reports from the 2009 Lightfair International conference, where offering more illumination for less power and less money is now the name of the game. He discusses compact florescent lamps, or CFLs, with actor and activist Ed Begley Jr. and light emitting diodes, or LEDs, with Osram Sylvania CEO Charles Jerabek.

But the switch to fluorescents won’t settle consumers’ dilemma about whether to pay now, for a more expensive bulb, or pay later, for more electricity. Consumers still will have the option of buying halogen bulbs, which fall in between incandescents and fluorescents in efficiency and price. And LEDs for household use are starting to show up in stores.

Never before has there been such a flowering of practical energy-saving products, from double-pane windows to front-loading washing machines to hybrid gasoline-and-electric cars. Yet they cost far more to buy than the less-efficient technologies they seek to replace — a big hurdle in places like the U.S., where electricity is such a small component of most household budgets that it rarely plays a role in shopping decisions.

“If energy is dirt cheap, it gets treated like dirt,” says Arthur Rosenfeld, a physicist who headed a team of scientists at the federal government’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in California, that did some of the early development work on compact-fluorescent bulbs. “That’s been the problem.”

Mr. Edison’s incandescent light bulb, introduced the same year as Ivory soap, is relatively simple. Inside the glass bulb sits a wire, or filament. When a switch is flipped, an electric current hits the filament, which heats up and glows.

The fluorescent bulb, launched commercially in the late 1930s, is more refined. It consists of a glass tube containing mercury and coated on the inside with phosphor. Electrified, the mercury vapor causes the phosphor molecules to vibrate, producing light.

The combination of the mercury and the phosphor produces less heat and more light than an incandescent, making it more efficient. Because the bulb has no filament that can break, it lasts longer. Typically, fluorescent light has a blue tinge, compared with incandescent light’s reddish hue.

Fluorescents became popular in offices and factories in the 1940s. But they didn’t catch on in homes. They required specialized fixtures. And Americans, raised on the warm glow of incandescents, found the fluorescent’s sharper light harsh.

“Compact” versions that could be screwed into conventional incandescent sockets arrived after the oil shocks of the 1970s. But they were still too big to fit under many lampshades. The bulbs flickered and hummed. And their price — about $20 apiece — deterred most consumers, especially because oil prices slumped in the 1980s, damping the appeal of energy-saving devices.

By the start of this decade, the fluorescent bulb had progressed to its current squiggly shape. Costs fell as technology improved and production shifted to China. Based on average U.S. electricity prices, by 2005 the bulb paid for itself in less than a year, according to the Department of Energy. Just then, energy prices soared, sparking a big rise in sales.

But sales of compact fluorescents have dropped in the current recession, to 21% of total U.S. consumer light-bulb sales in 2008 from 23% in 2007, according to the DOE.

[Light Bulb] Getty Images

In Europe and Japan, where electricity costs more, fluorescent lights are more popular. To improve the bulbs’ appeal to Americans, manufacturers are adjusting their phosphor blends to mimic redder incandescents. Fluorescent light “doesn’t make you look as good,” says Timothy Lesch, a vice president at Osram Sylvania, a big bulb manufacturer. He has compact fluorescent bulbs throughout his house, but not in those rooms where he spends a lot of time. “They’re not in my den,” he says.

As manufacturers continue tweaking, buying a light bulb has become a complicated venture. A Wal-Mart in Plano, Texas, outside Dallas, has nine varieties of bulbs claiming to fulfill the role of a traditional 60-watt incandescent. Some advertise “cool” light; others “soft.” Promised lifetimes range from five years to eight. As for electricity savings, manufacturers claim anywhere from $36 to $56 a bulb.

Stacy Parks, financial manager for a Dallas information-technology company, bought the brightest compact fluorescents she could find to light her front walkway: 42-watt models, akin to blazing 150-watt incandescents. But when she tried out the bulbs, she says, the path “looked like a landing strip.” She eventually replaced the bright lights with dimmer fluorescents.

Most industrial countries, including the U.S., are largely phasing out the incandescent over the next several years. Yet even if that pushes down the bulb’s price further, as industry officials predict, consumers still will have to pay much more for a compact fluorescent than they are accustomed to paying for an incandescent.

And technology marches on. The LED is eclipsing the compact fluorescent as the cutting-edge bulb. Wal-Mart Stores has started selling a consumer LED bulb that uses just seven watts of electricity and claims to last for more than 13 years. It costs around $35 — a daunting price tag for a light bulb. “We’re kind of testing the waters,” says Rand Waddoups, Wal-Mart’s senior director of strategy and sustainability. “This is a behavior change, and that requires some work.”

 

One Billion Expected to Celebrate Earth Day! April 22, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, Environmental Earth Day, light bulb.
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Today is Earth Day! April 22 www.zbulbs.com

Today is Earth Day! April 22 http://www.zbulbs.com

Zoinks! Its April 22 and its Earth Day

Created United States senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970, Earth Day’s reach has spread around the world and is now marked in about 175 countries. So  its a good time to think about how you can make a difference and what you use for lighting can make a really big difference. Here are a few facts about what can happen if you change a regular old incandescent light bulb out for a compact fluorescent light bulb.

A compact fluorescent light bulb is an energy efficient alternative for your conventional incandescent bulb. If every American changed just one light bulb in their home to an Energy Star certified compact fluorescent bulb, we would save enough energy to light three million homes for a year. This same action would also eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from the equivalent of 800,000 cars. Just imagine the impact if every American changed every light bulb in their home!

BENEFITS for the Environment:

CFLs are more energy efficient than conventional incandescent light bulbs. They use around 75% less electricity and give off 75% less heat while emitting the same amount of light. Although these energy savers contain 5mg of mercury, when CFLs are properly recycled no mercury is emitted into the environment.

Zoinks! Thats alot of change that can be made by one light bulb switch!

Get Lit and Stay Lit

www.zbulbs.com

Dr Z

drz-zoinks_sml2

 

 

State proposes CFL disposal legislation April 8, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, Controversial information, light bulb, List Article.
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What should we do with this guy when he burns out?

What should we do with this guy when he burns out?

Gadzooks! Its me Dr. Z! Seems Compact Fluorescent are in the media yet again! Turns out some states are looking to put forth some legislation to make sure these little spiral buggers are disposed of properly.  Check out the article below for the info!

ZOinks!

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com

 

Energy-saving lights now poised to pollute Bill would require makers to accept, dispose of dead ones

BY JOHN RICHARDSON
Portland Press Herald

Mainers have installed millions of energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs in recent years, thanks in part to state incentives aimed at saving energy and slowing global warming.

Now the state is trying to make sure all those bulbs don’t get thrown into the trash when they eventually burn out. Each one contains a small amount of mercury which, when added up, can poison waterways, fish and people.

Legislation to be presented at the State House today would require makers of the bulbs to set up and promote a statewide collection and recycling program.

Conservationists say the idea will keep an environmental success story from turning into an environmental problem. A group of manufacturers, however, warns that the proposed solution will make the bulbs so expensive that many Mainers may stop buying and installing them.

The proposal is expected to be the most controversial of several mercury-related bills to be presented at a public hearing before the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee starting at 9:30 a.m. today.

If it passes, Maine would be among the first states to create such a manufacturer-financed recycling system for the squiggly lamps. Several other state Legislatures are considering similar proposals.

“Compact fluorescent bulbs are great products,” said Matt Prindiville, a lobbyist for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the bill’s primary supporter. “They save energy, they save money, they reduce pollution, they reduce global warming (emissions). But, unfortunately, they contain small amounts of mercury and they need to be disposed of properly.”

Last year alone, Mainers used state rebates to buy 1.2 million of the bulbs, he said. “In five years, those 1.2 million bulbs are going to be coming out of people’s light sockets, and unless we get a successful program in place most of them are going to go into the trash.”

Maine has banned a long list of products that contain mercury in an effort to keep the toxin out of landfills and incinerators. Mercury pollution is the reason the state says pregnant women and children should not eat too much locally caught fish. Other bills to be presented today would phase out or ban the sale of mercury-containing button cell batteries, automobile wheel weights and rifle recoil suppressors.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs have been promoted by the state despite the mercury content because of their other environmental benefits. By reducing the need to make so much electricity, they can even reduce mercury pollution overall, especially if they are recycled.

Efficiency Maine, a state program that promotes use of the bulbs, has set up free spent-bulb collection bins at about 200 retail stores statewide. The program costs about $40,000 a year and recycled a total of 4,723 bulbs in 2008, according to the Public Utilities Commission, which operates Efficiency Maine. That effort is financed by electricity ratepayers.

Towns and cities in Maine also collect the bulbs for recycling, although some charge a fee or only accept them at special collection days.

Most of the bulbs, as well as fluorescent tubes that contain even more mercury, are still going into the trash, according to John James, an environmental specialist with the state Department of Environmental Protection. “We’re one of the better states in the nation, but we only account for 5 percent of the lamps” being recycled, he said.

The DEP is supporting the recycling bill, which also would set limits on the amount of mercury in bulbs sold in Maine.

A statewide recycling program that’s convenient, aggressively promoted and supported by manufacturers would likely capture more bulbs, and would shift the cost away from taxpayers and ratepayers back to the manufacturers, according to Prindiville. Manufacturers will pass the cost onto consumers, he said, but the added cost won’t be enough to discourage Mainers from buying the bulbs and saving energy and money over the long term.

The cost of recycling the bulbs under Maine’s program is now about 75 cents per bulb, according to Prindiville. But, he said, an analysis done by officials in the state of Washington found that manufacturers could do it by spreading the cost and adding only 15 cents to the cost of bulbs that typically cost $1.60 to $3.

A group representing light bulb manufacturers, however, said the impact on prices is sure to be much larger, as much as $1 or more per bulb.

Representatives of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association could not be reached Thursday, but the group has outlined its opposition to the proposals in Maine and other states in letters and policy papers posted on its Web site.

The association has been supportive of recycling programs. But last month it dropped out of talks to develop a national solution after leaders of the effort supported Maine-style legislative proposals emerging around the country.

The group says the cost of recycling bulbs is high compared to the amount of mercury that is kept out of the environment. A bulb typically contains 3 to 5 milligrams of mercury, at least 100 times less than old-fashioned mercury thermometer.

And, it says, the recycling cost will be even higher if manufacturers are forced to create a whole new collection and recycling system, rather than relying on existing programs.

“Efforts to adjust retail prices of (compact fluorescent bulbs) to incorporate recycling costs could increase the price of CFLs by 50 percent or more,” according to a recent policy statement posted by the association. “Higher prices could depress sales and hinder efforts to meet state and regional energy conservation goals.”

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!

Gadzooks!

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com

 

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.

LEORA BROYDO VESTEL
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.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/28/business/energy-environment/28bulbs.html?_r=2&em

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

www.zbulbs.com

 

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls_mercury

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

http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/wastetypes/universal/lamps/index.htm

Zoinks!

Dr.Z

Recycle those Compact Fluorescents! January 30, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in How to about lighting, Uncategorized.
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Zoinks! Its Dr Z, the philospher of fluorescent, the grand poobah of bulb, and seeker of the light of truth…Gaspp*Compact Fluorescents! Did you know they contain mercury? You don’t want just throw these guys in the dumpster when their life has ended. Mercury is a hazardous waste so you want to make sure and recycle them! So what do you do to recycle them? Well, thankfully our heroes at the EPA (the Environmetal Protection Agency) have put up a website detailing where and how you can recycle these little guys! You don’t want throw out the environmental benefit of the bulbs out the window! Check out the link below for more info!

http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/wastetypes/universal/lamps/index.htm

 

Zoinks! Mercury is Hazardous waste! Recycle those CFL's gang!

Zoinks! Mercury is Hazardous waste! Recycle those CFL's gang!

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com

A guide to switching Incandescent light bulbs to CFLs January 21, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in How to about lighting, Uncategorized.
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oops! wrong spiral!

oops! wrong spiral!

Zoinks its me Dr. Z!

So you want to change out those old incandescent bulbs for hi tech Compact Fluorescent and have no idea where to start? You probably know by now that CFL’s are 4-6 times more efficient than incandescent lightbulbs, which means a 13 watt cfl can replace a 60 watt incandescent. (Remember CFl’s give you more light per watt than an incandescent.) So to make things simple I have included a simple little chart below that will help you in finding the CFL you need.

Standard Bulb   CFL Bulb
40w = 10w
60w = 13w-15w
75w = 20w
100w = 26w-29w
150w = 38w-42w
250w-300w = 55w

Hope this helps!

zoinks

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com

What To Do When a Compact Fluorescent Breaks! January 8, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Controversial information, How to about lighting.
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mercuryglob

Mercury is a common element found many household items from thermometers to fluorescents

 

Zoinks! Its Dr. Z here to help you with your lightbulbs! Much has been said about what you should do if a compact fluorescent bulb breaks..Unfortunately lots of misinformation has been out there about what to do about clean up and mercury. In case you don’t know all fluorescent lights contain a small amount of mercury in them to aid in the production of light. Now mercury is a poisonous substance that can be harmful to human and ecological health so you want don’t want take it for granted, but it is certainly not on the level of nucleur waste like some goofballs think(No it does NOT take $2000 to clean up a Compact Fluorescent). So to clear things up I decided to referance the people who now how to keep it clean. The EPA (Enviromental Protection Agency) On their website the EPA states :

What to Do if a Fluorescent Light Bulb Breaks
Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are lighting more homes than ever before, and EPA is encouraging Americans to use and recycle them safely. Carefully recycling CFLs prevents the release of mercury into the environment and allows for the reuse of glass, metals and other materials that make up fluorescent lights.

EPA is continually reviewing its clean-up and disposal recommendations for CFLs to ensure that the Agency presents the most up-to-date information for consumers and businesses. Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection released a CFL breakage study report on February 25, 2008. EPA has conducted an initial review of this study and, as a result of this review, we have updated the CFL cleanup instructions below.

Pending the completion of a full review of the Maine study, EPA will determine whether additional changes to the cleanup recommendations are warranted. The agency plans to conduct its own study on CFLs after thorough review of the Maine study.
Frequently Asked Questions about Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs and Mercury (PDF) (2 pp., 71K, About PDF)

Learn more about recycling and disposal options for fluorescents

Find fluorescent light bulb recycling programs in your area

Learn more about compact fluorescent light bulbs from the ENERGY STAR program
Fluorescent light bulbs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. EPA recommends the following clean-up and disposal below. Please also read the information on this page about what never to do with a mercury spill.

Before Clean-up: Air Out the Room

Have people and pets leave the room, and don’t let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out.
Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.
Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces

Carefully scoop up glass pieces and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place towels in the glass jar or plastic bag.
Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.
Clean-up Steps for Carpeting or Rug

Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.
Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.
Clean-up Steps for Clothing, Bedding and Other Soft Materials

If clothing or bedding materials come in direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from inside the bulb that may stick to the fabric, the clothing or bedding should be thrown away. Do not wash such clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage.
You can, however, wash clothing or other materials that have been exposed to the mercury vapor from a broken CFL, such as the clothing you are wearing when you cleaned up the broken CFL, as long as that clothing has not come into direct contact with the materials from the broken bulb.
If shoes come into direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from the bulb, wipe them off with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels or wipes in a glass jar or plastic bag for disposal.
Disposal of Clean-up Materials

Immediately place all clean-up materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area for the next normal trash pickup.
Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials.
Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states do not allow such trash disposal. Instead, they require that broken and unbroken mercury-containing bulbs be taken to a local recycling center.
Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming

The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window before vacuuming.
Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.

http://www.epa.gov/mercury/spills/index.htm#fluorescent

Holy Cats! They are nothing if not thorough aren’t they? Well until next time!

Git Lit and Stay Lit

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com