Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The grail has been partially met - flame-tip and dimmable compact flourescents have been found!! -

I found both flame tip and dimmable compact flourescents at Menard's.

I bought the following:

Compact flourescent flame-tip AKA decor bulbs for approximately $4.88 each for $9.96 in two packs. These were not dimmable, but they do fit into ceiling fixtures, etc.... The ones I bought were made by Sylvania at 40 watts. The bulbs come with a small tip and a converter to the larger standard size.

For some reason the builders of my house force me to use these ridiculous things.

They are quoted at 300+ lumens with 8000 hour life span. They use 9 watts (equivalent to 40 watt incandescent bulbs). Competing bulbs use onlky 7 watts, but provide substantially less lumens. They are also longer and may not fit certain light fixtures.

I also saw a high end 25 watt flame-tip bulb with a 25,000 hour life span for considerably more money - about $12. I need to many to justify the expense. I may replace future bulbs once the flourescents expire - if I don't replace the fixtures.

I also bought several two packs of dimmable compact flourescent BR30 indoor flood lights for $17.99. Unfortunately, the builder of my house put quite a few can lights on dimmers - especially some of my higher traffic areas.

I am pleased to report that they do work - however, the precision they achieve compared with an incandescent is lacking. From my personal impression, it sees if there are three to four dim levels, rather than the gentle gradience one experiences with incandescent bulbs.

However, I never dim these high use areas, so I don't care much. Unfortunately, I can't eliminate the dimmers cheaply, so i buy the more expensive dimming CF's. So these more expensive dimmable comact flourescent floods come to about $8.00 each - i think you can buy BR-30's in packages of 6 for about $3.00 each - so there is a big premium.

Finally, the dimmable bulbs are not nearly as impressive as the other CF's. They do have the 8,000 hour life, but only provide 700 lumens - comparable to a normal flood.

I'm still missing dimmable flame-tip / decor compact flourescents. If I recall correctly, I did see them at another Menards, but the one I visited did not have them. I may have to wait a while for these. As I don't travel in that direction often.

At this point nearly all of the high traffic areas of my house have CF's. I do still have a great need for BR-30 dimmable floods in some less used areas, like my basement as well as dimmable CF candles for two fixtures. Also, I need dimmable CFs for my chandeliers - however, I'd like to wait for another generation for all but one of them. I'll need quite a few.

I still plan to buy dimmable candles for two more fixtures - they are high traffic. The rest of the house can wait until costco works out a great deal.

If you really need to buy dimmable CF candles, you might try on line - it's quite expensive - usually $12+. I'm sincerely hoping I can find the less expensive dimmables somewhere. Who knows?

At the end of the day, I wonder how much this energy savings effort is really worth? I did lower my electrical bill from $220 to $150, but summer cooling and pool filtration costs are driving that number from $150 to $550.

If I'm lucky, raisting thermostat temperatures will help somewhat.


PS The menards website is pretty hard to use. I couldn't figure out how to look in store product up on line, nor could I place an order on line to pick-up at the store - something you can do with circuit city.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i've been looking high and low for a spiral dimmable, but haven't found one with any range, they buzz and they are all so big that they barely fit my fixtures.

have you found anything? any suggestions on where to look? (did you buy anything online?)