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CFL Facts

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Victor Roberts, Apr 10, 2007.

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  1. We've made a little progress on www.cflfacts.com. A very
    few questions and answers have been posted, just enough to
    get started on the site design, and my web designer (my
    son) has taken the raw text and given it a bit of class. The
    site needs a lot more work, including graphics and links to
    other sites with more graphics, but I would be interested in
    your opinions on the site so far.

    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
  2. Guest

    I think it looks good so far; the opening couple of paragraphs mention a
    lot of questions and answers that should be added in the future.

    As it stands now, the page is quite tall. I wonder if it would help to
    split it up over more pages as more questions and answers are added.
    You might have categories/pages like:

    Basics/About CFLs:
    what's a CFL, why 'lamp', it looks funny, etc.

    Choosing CFLs:
    base type, color temperature, dimmable, etc

    Environmental:
    energy use, mercury, disposal, etc.

    This might seem redundant, and I realize the site isn't strictly
    commercial, but you might add a couple of "where to buy" words. CFLs
    aren't exactly hard to find, though.

    Copy-editing things:
    In the dimmer question, the sentence

    These CFLs will have a label on the lamp and/or the packaging stating
    "not for use with dimmers.

    is missing a close quote.

    In the source code, the anchor tags are missing a right angle bracket.
    They look like

    <A NAME="1"</A>

    but should look like

    <A NAME="1"></A>

    This is probably a function of whatever editing/layout tool is being
    used. It doesn't cause a problem with rendering the page under Firefox,
    but some browsers might not like it.

    Matt Roberds
     
  3. TKM

    TKM Guest

    It's a fine beginning, Vic.

    There is a growing demand, especially in the N.A. residential lighting
    industry, for good CFL information and dimming is of major interest. I also
    get lots of grumpy "my CFLs burn out too fast" calls. Information about how
    to get a quality CFL product and how to install and operate them properly
    would help.

    You might want to link to http://www.18seconds.org It's a site that shows
    real time U.S. CFL sales by state and locality. The data are from Nielson.
    A consortium of companies including Wal-Mart and Yahoo support the site.

    Terry McGowan
     
  4. Thanks Matt. We are planning to divide the questions into
    "topics" like you suggest and then use
    expandable/collapsible lists to make the page easier to
    read.
    We will mention places to buy, but only by type, not name.
    I' also going to discuss Energy Star as a way to find CFLs
    that meet certain quality targets.
    Thanks. I'll fix these.

    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
  5. Thanks. I have a rather long list already made (but not yet
    posted) and I'm sure I will find more questions here.

    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
  6. A very small beginning so far :)
    I do plan to mention Energy Star and talk about shorter life
    in recessed cans and with frequent starting.
    Thanks. Good site.

    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
  7. The mercury question has been very difficult to deal with.

    Certainly CFLs reduce mercury compared to coal-fired power
    plants, but what if you use hydro, like we do, or even oil?

    Mercury is listed as a hazardous material by the EPA, and I
    do plan to link to the excellent multi-page mercury site
    maintained by the EPA. The sire even has clean-up
    directions for a mercury spill, but the smallest amount they
    deal with is "one thermometer" which is far more than one
    CFL.

    Most people are far more concerned about the very small
    amounts of mercury in a single CFL than I believe they
    should be. I certainly can't say that there is NO danger
    from one broken CFL in a home, even if I believe the danger
    is minimal.

    I have found EPA-recommended Hg levels that pose an
    immediate danger and EPA-recommended Hg levels that are safe
    for continuous exposure, but have not yet found a
    recommended safe level for a few days, as might occur if a
    CFL broke in a home.

    I've calculated the amount of Hg that /could/ fill a closed
    and sealed room if one CFL broke and the room had /no/
    ventilation. This level exceeds the recommended EPA level
    for continuous exposure by about 200 times. But in any real
    world situation the mercury vapor density would not be this
    high due to the slow evaporation of mercury and normal room
    ventilation AND the fact that most of the mercury in modern
    CFLs is tied up in the amalgam.

    I've also calculated the percentage of mercury that would be
    added to the waste stream if 200 million CFLs were just
    thrown away. This would add less than 1% to the annual
    amount of mercury added to the environment from non-natural
    causes.

    I also wonder how much of the current concern about mercury
    is being pushed by the LED industry. They have, after all,
    run advertisements claiming a need for respirators if we add
    CFLs to landfills.

    Mercury recommendations are still a work in progress.

    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
  8. Victor,
    Looks good. Some pictures would really help.
    If you want to take any of the pictures from
    http://www.cucumber.demon.co.uk/lights/diy/
    for your website, feel free (they were all
    taken by me), but you can probably find better
    elsewhere.

    It feels a bit US-centric at the moment. "Screw base" won't
    have such an obvious meaning in UK (and might even be read
    as screw base verses BC). GU24 doesn't exist outside the
    US AFAIK. There is a UK company pushing a modified GU10
    for a similar purpose, but it's got no tracktion as you have
    to buy their own expensive single-sourced lamps, which are
    not available in retail outlets.

    I've rarely heard people complaining about short life here,
    and indeed there are many around which have lasted too long
    and should have been changed ages ago, but just don't die.
    Seven years ago, IKEA was selling very cheap Chinese CFL's
    (by far the cheapest source of CFL's in the UK at the time),
    and these just never die. Some have probably done 25,000 hrs
    and are noticably dimmed and should be replaced, but I still
    see quite a number in service.

    The most common complaint is that the filament equivalancy
    on the packaging is a plain lie -- in the small print, you
    can find that the comparison is against a softtone (painted)
    filament lamp, which are rarely used and have significantly
    reduced light output compared with standard frosted lamps.
    This initial bad experience puts many people off. I have
    been working on the CFL wikipedia page (see discussion page)
    and put togther a graph comparing light output of filament
    lamps and CFLs:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/timeline/bc930ca506fffe94349a8d6900ad6e7e.png
    which is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Compact_fluorescent_lamp

    Also, the lower initial light output can compound this; I
    suspect some new CFL's get removed and discarded in dusgust
    before they've even had a chance to warm up.

    BTW, CFL's which look like standard filament lamps have been
    around in Europe for ages. However, a CFL with equivalent
    light output above about 40W incandescent is still bigger
    than its incandescent equivalent, although they are getting
    smaller with time.
     
  9. Global mercury waste data is from a UN committee report.
    I take some solace from the fact that mercury is a
    naturally-occurring element, not some Frankenstein compound
    that was made by man and will someday destroy the world ;-)

    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
  10. To put it in perspective, you need the mercury from over
    1000 CFL's to equal the amount of mercury in the average
    human body at death (about 3 grams, mostly from fillings).
     
  11. On the way.
    Well, probably because it is :) I don't know enough
    about regulations and jargon of other countries, so I've
    decided to focus on the US first.
    All good points. Screw base and GU24 don't even mean much
    to US consumers :)
    I wish we could say the same about life. Most CFLs do have
    a long life, but some don't. In less than 1 year I lost two
    of four Philips reflector CFLs that I had installed in a
    track light system. Doesn't say much for quality when
    Philips lamps fail that fast.
    I think we have become more realistic in the US than we were
    when CFLs were first introduced. This is a point I will
    have to address.
    Warm-up time will also be discussed. I have some CFLs that
    are so dim when first started that you need to be a "true
    believer" to know throw them out immediately. The same
    Philips reflector lamps come to mind :)
    But I suspect they all have covers over multi-tube or spiral
    lamps, as I state at CFL facts. Only an electrodeless CFL
    can have the shape of a GLS or A-Line lamp without an extra
    light and heat trapping cover.
    Also an issue. Thanks for your comments.

    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
  12. Even the EPA mercury site states you can swallow mercury
    with no serious side effects.
    I've been working around mercury and in labs with broken
    lamps and probably pools of mercury under the work benches
    for 30 years, and I'm still relatively sane :)

    The issue, however, is that mercury is listed as a toxic
    substance and most people don't understand the issues of "a
    little" vs. "a lot." They don't think about the fact that
    even drinking too much water can kill you also. I certainly
    can't state on the site that mercury is "safe" as it is not
    in many circumstances. So, the issue is finding the proper
    balance and a way to explain what is safe and what is not.

    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
  13. Do you have a cite for the 3 grams. I would like to use
    this fact.

    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
  14. That was an interesting experiment.
    It would completely redefine going to the toilet for a "dump". It's a
    wonder they didn't split the pan.

    I wonder if it ricocheted off the side of the rim and whirled about in a
    circular motion for a while. I also wonder how long it took to flush
    it.
     
  15. Some sites, such as the EPA mercury site do distinguish
    between metallic mercury, mercury vapor and methyl mercury,
    which is the toxic compound that finds its way into the food
    chain. The EPA site is currently my main source, but I am
    looking for additional references.

    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
  16. <Munch, munch, gobble slurp.> What! Oh now you tell me when I'm
    halfway through a bottle.

    No I'm not planning on eating mercury any time soon.
    Ah, so it shares similar properties to wet farts then? I'm not sure
    which emits the most harmful vapour though.
     
  17. Ah, well no. This was in the days before, or at least in the very early
    years, of indoor plumbing. The common method back then (at least in the
    States and its Territories) was the outhouse. As a matter of fact,
    today's researchers are discovering where the campsites of Lewis & Clark
    were by examining the soil for high levels of mercury (the men became
    *very* friendly with native women who were experienced with traders on
    the left coast - and they used the only cure they knew to try to get rid
    of that experience).
     
  18. This seems to be the main page:

    http://www.epa.gov/mercury/

    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
  19. I agree. But 200 million CFLs per year would add only 1
    metric ton of mercury to the 147 metric tons per year that
    are currently in the waste stream.

    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
  20. Presumably naturally ocurring mercury ores, which give off
    enough vapour to cause the "Mad Hatter" disease of the miners,
    contribute a goodly stream of vapour to the atmosphere through
    the ground? I wonder if anyone has estimated what that is?
    I wouldn't be at all surprised to find it was a good deal more
    than anything from fluorescent lamp disposal.
     
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