Saturday, December 10, 2016

Lights of my life

I try to be environmentally conscious. I separate my trash, I send my paper and plastic and cans to recycling and my food scraps for composting. I try to remember to take my reusable bags into the grocery store with me. I reuse dryer sheets. ;) 

But I have a dirty secret -- I despise those newfangled light bulbs that are supposedly more energy efficient. Okay, they ARE more energy efficient, unquestionably.

But I think they look awful. :p

Unfortunately, the day is approaching when I'm going to have to start using them for all my lighting needs. As of January 1, 2015, the Canadian government banned the manufacture or import of 60 and 40 watt incandescent light bulbs (75 & 100 watt bulbs were phased out earlier). When I first heard about the ban (pre-2015), I started stocking up on 60-watt bulbs. I still have a bit of a stash, but of course, it's not going to last forever.  

We only ever used incandescent bulbs at our old house. Part of me debated replacing them all with CFLs or LEDs before we moved, so that I'd have an even bigger stash to take with me ;)  -- but I abandoned that idea when I saw the prices...!

I haven't opened up all the light fixtures in our new condo to inspect the bulbs, but I can tell just from the quality of the light they give that they do not use incandescents (not to mention that the condo was completed right around the time the ban came into place). I thought these newer bulbs were supposed to last longer than incandescents -- decades, even -- but recently, not just one but BOTH bulbs in our en suite bathroom fixture burned out, one after the other. (Our building is less than two years old; I'm assuming the bulbs were installed when the lighting fixtures were.)  When we opened up the fixture, we saw that it used those twisty-style compact fluorescent bulbs -- which contain mercury and require special disposal at a hazardous waste depot (!). (Not to mention that you're supposed to turn off your heating/ventilating system, open a window -- which we don't have in this bathroom -- and vacate the premises for several hours if you break one. Yikes!!)  We couldn't even figure out how to remove them -- they would only unscrew so far, and we were afraid of forcing and breaking them, for the reasons listed above. Thankfully, handyman BIL came to the rescue with two new LED bulbs (which cost a whopping $42!!!)(taxes included, but still...!!). He showed us how to unscrew the bulb a half-turn and then pop it out. Apparently some of these newer fixtures and bulbs do not screw in like the old incandescents -- they have little plug-like knobs on the bottom. Who knew??

I am saving and using the last of my dwindling stash of incandescents in the table lamps in our bedroom, office and living room. I've been hoping that, in the meantime, the engineers would come up with a better LED or CFL, one that more closely matches the lighting properties of the incandescent bulb. I'm told that the newer bulbs do, but I'm not impressed with what I've seen so far. 

(Halogen is another lighting option -- but I bought a halogen desk lamp for my office once -- and almost immediately started having headaches and problems with my vision. I mentioned this to my optometrist and asked if there was a connection. "Get rid of it," was his sharp & immediate response. He told me halogen lighting is the worst for your eyes.) 

I know I sound like a crochety old lady. :p  Once my stash is gone, I suppose I will have to make the switch. I know it's more energy efficient, better for the planet, and cheaper for our power bills. But I will mourn the last of my incandescent bulbs when they finally burn out. :( 


  1. Dear Loribeth, I miss those "old light bulbs", too. It's been a few years since they were banned in our parts of Europe.
    Wishing you a good weekend!

  2. Growing up I’d never seen a screw in bulb – in our house they were all bayonet (plug-like knobs at the bottom).

    Once we started buying or replacing the lighting fixtures for our house we had to decide on screw-in or bayonet bulbs...we didn’t want to have to keep a stash of both, especially at the prices (although it turned out if you really like the lamp you’ll buy it regardless of the fitting)!

    Our phase-out started back in 2009 so maybe it was just a matter of giving it a few years of having no choice and getting used to them . ; )
    There’s still the matter of disposal. I’m big on recycling too, so I usually throw them in a box and wait for the local council ‘special waste’ drop-off collection day.

    I agree they certainly don’t last as long as they portray but I do like the clean white light they give (provided you buy the clean white light bulb option and a good wattage ; ) – especially when I’m reading or sewing in the evening... older eyes and dodgy night sight!

  3. You sound like my husband! Whereas I switched all the lights at my mothers from incandescent to LED (we had to get new fittings), and was really impressed at the brighter quality of light, for a much cheaper (long term) price.

  4. I'm incandescent all the way. I cannot STAND the light the LEDs put out. And, like you, I've noticed that they burn out at a surprising rate (misleading advertising, at best). Crazy expensive, too. It irritates me that they ban things like this. If the LED companies made a superior product, people would buy it! Markets speak. I'll be stocking up. As many as I can get my hands on. I believe they're on their way out around these parts, too.

  5. I like incandescent lights but we switched to LED now completely. When we get a house we always take the incandescent bulbs down and store them until there comes the time to sell the house again (Inc. light does make rooms look prettier).

    We have lights on almost all the time so it's important for us to use something energy efficient. We get LED soft white, something like It's not so expensive. We also get dimmable bulbs, and some of them come with transparent glass.