November 19, 2010

The (possible) return of incandescent light bulbs.

Politico reports:
... Rep. Fred Upton is promising to reexamine a controversial ban on incandescent light bulbs if he becomes chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Michigan Republican told POLITICO on Thursday that he's not afraid to go back after an issue he once supported but that has come under withering assault on the conservative airwaves, including on Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck's talk shows.
It's not just a right-wing thing. It has to do with beauty, freedom, and the psychological well-being of individuals who are sensitive to the quality of light. I've been stockpiling incandescent light bulbs, because I don't want to live with the ugliness of fluorescents. I've been disgusted that politicians who think such things don't matter. They lack perception of some aspects of life and yet they think it's acceptable to make decision about these things. Apparently, we're not supposed to have any feeling about the things they lack feeling about.

66 comments:

TerriW said...

I've been stockpiling them, too. Not just because they give off better light and don't cause headaches, but I also have small children who do things like knock over lamps and break the bulbs.

(And what percent of these mercury-containing bulbs do you think end up in the garbage can instead of ... well, whatever you're supposed to do with them. I suspect it's about the same as the percent of batteries that end up in the trash can: dang near all of them.)

Big Mike said...

Nor did they think about light fixtures where the (incandescent) bulbs are part of the decorative design.

bagoh20 said...

Woman, you better watch that tone. You want a good screening? I have friends in the TSA, and they will fix that attitude for you. Now get down to the recyclin' center with my beer cans, and get me my can cash, dammit.

Harry said...

+1 on the stockpiling. I'm an artist and require GE Reveal 100-watt bulbs--two of them--to work by.

The CF bulbs were oversold. For example, we were told that though they're much more expensive, they last many times longer. Yet I've had several of them burn out and I don't believe they have a significantly longer life. And then there's the fact that you're not supposed to throw burned-out ones in the trash, as they contain mercury or some such toxic substance. What kind of environmentalism is that?

Back to the stockpiling.I have to admit I'm stockpiling everything from canned food, to fuel, to camping gear. I have a bad feeling about the near future in this country.

TerriW said...

Oh, did I mention how awesome the fluorescent bulbs work outside when it's 20 degrees below zero?

jamboree said...

I'm with you. A physics prof would whine about ppl who were anti-compact fluorescents - that they thought they didn't look as healthy with the red tones gone; it was SO much more efficient blah blah.

Errr...no. The *suicide rate* will go up if you force the world to use those things in their homes as well as the office.

I did a corporate internship at 15-yrs-old at a fortune 500. I was all gung-ho and then I was hit with the REALITY of fluorescent exposure.

This precipitated an early change in career direction. Those things make every single vein on your or anyone else's face stand out. They make you look blue-green - this includes non-white ppl. They look green and ashy.

Birthrate will go down because no one is going to want to have sex in that environment - no female anyway. They'll have to stock up on those female sexbots from Japan.

That's called the Long Range Version of Inefficient.

I'm not even being dramatic here. I mean it. Why even live if you have to do it under fluorescent light?

yashu said...

Oh, thank god. Seriously, the fact that this was ever passed flabbergasts me almost as much as the passage of Obamacare. Maybe more.

jamboree said...

And they're COLD. That's why they are efficient because they got rid of the glow from heat and use pure light They suck. They are the lightbulb form of the Dementors in Harry Potter. The coldness sucks your soul out and leaves you begging for death.

lucid said...

Liberals have become moralistic and totalitarians control freaks..

Like all totalitarians, their assumption of the right to control us actually serves mainly to enhance their own power and opportunities.

Ambrose said...

God bless you Fred, bring back our lightbulbs. The whole cfl fad was just a scam to enrich GE.

TerriW said...

Jamboree said: And they're COLD.

You remember all those folks who are getting backyard chickens these days? Yeah, don't try keeping them from freezing to death this winter with a single compact fluorescent hanging down.

(Egads, sorry, people. But this is one subject that *really* rubs me the wrong way.)

LilyBart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
T J Sawyer said...

I have not been stockpiling incadescents! I knew that when the ban became effective, Americans would reject either the ban or the bozos that passed it.

Remember when the United States went metric? If I recall, the conversion to Celsius temperature readings was the straw that broke that camel's back.

I spent some time last winter with a liberal engineer who did electrical work. He didn't know that the incandescent was being phased out by government edict. That's how little known this action was outside of right wing circles. The left really does live in their own world.

chuck b. said...

I hate the incandescent light bulb ban as much as anyone, but I have to say I have really come to prefer the crisp, white light from my CFs. Incandescent bulbs feel dingy and yellow and I can't stand them. They're depressing and feel old.

Maguro said...

Did Fred Upton really tell POLITICO that "he's not afraid to go back after an issue he once supported but that has come under withering assault on the conservative airwaves, including on Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck's talk shows"?

Or did he just say the first part and POLITICO pasted an obligatory Beck/Limbaugh reference on the end of the sentence?

chuck b. said...

I mean the light the make feels old and depressing. Old light. Weird.

Daniel said...

Your feelings?

How do you feel about climate change?

You haven't become one of those now too, have you?

Irene said...

When I was growing up in the Chicago area, Commonwealth Edison gave out free lightbulbs to its customers. The program operated like the Green Stamps redemption plan. For each amount charged to a customer bill, Comm Ed provided a certain number of bulbs.

Over the years, my parents accumulated boxes and boxes of the bulbs in varying wattages.

Those boxes are sitting in our basement now, ready to provide comforting light for the time when new ones no longer will be available.

Penny said...

Lightbulbs are a good thing.

If not for lightbulbs, we'd all be sitting around in the dark with a bunch of people feeling their way around.

bagoh20 said...

FREEEEEEEDOM!!!!!

edutcher said...

I hate those damn things with a passion. The Blonde bought a couple just before the ban and I'm working under it now.

Gah!

Irene said...

When I was growing up in the Chicago area, Commonwealth Edison gave out free lightbulbs to its customers. The program operated like the Green Stamps redemption plan. For each amount charged to a customer bill, Comm Ed provided a certain number of bulbs.

Over the years, my parents accumulated boxes and boxes of the bulbs in varying wattages.

Those boxes are sitting in our basement now, ready to provide comforting light for the time when new ones no longer will be available.


And you couldn't believe how square and out of it Mom and Dad were to do such a thing.

(Go on, admit it. I won't tell)

chuck b. said...

I mean the light the make feels old and depressing. Old light. Weird

I know what you mean.

Penny said...

Lightbulbs are a good thing.

If not for lightbulbs, we'd all be sitting around in the dark with a bunch of people feeling their way around.


You mean life would be one unending TSA pat-down?

Does that make us Sisyphus or Prometheus?

Bob said...

Bravo! I am glad you wrote this post, and more power to the Michigan congressman!

bagoh20 said...

Just think about who these people are in congress. People like Pelosi, Reid, Rangel, Waters, etc. Now think about these respectable, quality people telling you and your family what kind of light bulbs you can use in your home. Now think that you are an American and imagine how much change we need in this land of liberty.

Matthew said...

It's only because someone probably suggested we burn Senators for light.

Skyler said...

It has to do with only one thing: Freedom.

I kind of like the lower heat of the new bulbs, I just wish they were cheaper and lived as long as advertised. I just hate being told I can't buy anything else.

Cedarford said...

A recent editorial tracked the decline of liberalism to a movement away from classical liberalism concerned with using government to promote the general welfare by building the TVA and state universities, advancing the welfare of workers, to a more intrusive role.
As in, liberals are the ones who want to take away your Happy Meals in San Fransciso, ban incandescent lightbulbs....And perpetually lecture you on how enlighted they are and how you, the ordinary citizen "need" to be taught you need new rail transport, to use less toilet paper, "need" ACORN and more unionized government workers, accept that government experts are best to regulate how much salt and soda you should be allowed, to have a more caring attitude about terrorist rights. And stop your bitter end clinging to religion and guns and outmoded traditional values and simply embrace Climate change controls and the blessings of diversity that "only will strengthen us all in America".

It is a liberalism not centered in helping the American worker anymore, but at controlling them. And the only people that believe in this are the media, Hollywood,Soros and Bloomberg types among the Progressive Jews, the academics, Manhattanite/SF-ites, and those in government employ.

That is actually a very small part of the US electorate and liberalism continues to lose influence as regular Americans that would flock to a modern day version of FDR just don't see anything from the Obamites but frowning down their noses at other Americans.

PatCA said...

Yay, Mr. Upton!

Let's start rolling back all these awful intrusive rules.

Next, I want the phosphates back in my dishwasher detergent.

garage mahal said...

That is actually a very small part of the US electorate and liberalism continues to lose influence as regular Americans that would flock to a modern day version of FDR just don't see anything from the Obamites but frowning down their noses at other Americans.

Awww..... We need empathy. I have feelings dammit!

But:
Beck called him "all socialist" for cosponsoring legislation phasing out incandescent light bulbs that made it into a 2007 energy law signed by President George W. Bush.

what the??

Palladian said...

Wonderful! Althouse has always understood this as primarily an aesthetic issue, something that most people, especially politicians, don't give a flying fuck about.

Here's my paean to incandescent bulbs. I'm partial to Chromalux incandescent bulbs.

chuckR said...

I approve of repealing the ban. The incandescent lights are sort of OK and may be made much more efficient after their near death experience.
Drawbacks to CFs- price, reliability,Chinese made,variable and usually poor light quality, breakage requires a HAZMAT team response according to the same stupid liberal handwringers who pushed them in the first place
I have about 72 feet of indirect wall washer valances that use warm white 3000K standard 4ft fluorescents. They look fine, they are cheap, they are reliable and they are long lived. Too bad none of that applies to CFs.

chuckR said...

Chromalux are very nice, but my poor old eyes really like microSun metal halide for reading - no good for frequent on and off, but nice color quality and intense light - efficient too - 90W including ballast load equals 350W incandescent light output.

Palladian said...

And aside from the aesthetics, as an autism-spectrum individual and migraineur, fluorescent bulbs are very difficult to tolerate.

Let's hope that we can continue as we are, where people who want fluorescents can buy them and people who want incandescents can buy the bulbs they want too.

former law student said...

One we have in the living room takes five solid minutes to warm up. Everywhere we have a dual fixture I mix one incandescent and one CFL so we have some kind of light right when I flip the switch.

Panasonic made the best CFLs I ever had, in globe and bullet capsules, so no fear of breaking those idiot thin twisties. They did last for years. Of course Panasonic got out of the business.

garage mahal said...

Let's hope that we can continue as we are, where people who want fluorescents can buy them and people who want incandescents can buy the bulbs they want too.

You're right. And Althouse is right, she made a real good case.

It would be ironic though if pot were legalized and incandescents were made "illegal". Bet she would be singing a different tune about pot.

Chip Ahoy said...

Did you know that Thomas Edison was not first to invent the incandescent lightbulb?

FACT!

Joseph Swan beat him to it, and then Thomas Edison paid him off to STFU which, of course, he did not do.

Fen said...

They lack perception of some aspects of life

Congress-critters are like the Politburo. They use all the incandescent bulbs they want. Fluorescents are for the proles.

You might check with your local Party Leader, Ann. As a professor at a university, you should be tagged as an Elite that rates all the incandescents you could want.

Maybe something happened to your paperwork.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

It would be ironic though if pot were legalized and incandescents were made "illegal". Bet she would be singing a different tune about pot.

That's because she thinks the oncologists are pulling a fast one on her. She's a fan of psychedelics and resents anyone finding a medical use for them.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

I've gone with these in the past, but appreciate the Chromalux link. Similar idea.

Fen said...

Hey, I'll trade you an Obamacare waiver for
a gross of incandescents,
30 days worth of McDonald's Happy Meals
and a freezer full of Steak.

Deal?

Oh, the Obamacare waiver is only good for 2 years.

jr565 said...

Then there's the newer bulbs that seem to have some of the benefits of the CFL's (long lasting) and have warm lights, and don't contanin mercury.

http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/research-innovations/stories/new-energy-efficient-lighting-technology-contains-no-mercury

Not sure if there are drawbacks to the lightbuls, and govt shouldn't force companies or individuals to use them out of some need to save the environment. But these might ultimately the better lightbuld to kill of incandescents. Or they could be all hype.

Fen said...

... I'll throw in a Congressional Staffer Badge that lets you bypass airport security...

Ralph L said...

that made it into a 2007 energy law signed by President George W. Bush.

what the??
He rightly figured the Democratic Congress would get the blame. Same with the higher CAFE standards.

Rose said...

Don't forget to stockpile those rainshower shower heads, they're banning those too.

About those stupid twisty lightbulbs - we had a series of real short brownouts last summer and every time the brownout fried the twisties. I don't like the quality of light they give off either, so I use them only in the high up hard to reach and hard to change areas, so, having to change them three times kinda negated the purpose. And it was already iffy because while they start off bright, as they get older they turn kind of brown.

Just my 2 cents.

Skyler said...

Garage, if you haven't noticed, George Bush was disliked largely because he is like his dad, a big government hard core socialist.

Fred4Pres said...

incandescent bulbs are better.

traditionalguy said...

The simple AlGorean postulate is that The Earth needs protection from every activity of men. From that religion of sacrificing men to the Goddess Earth stems all that ends in imprisoning men and eliminating new men from life on the earth. Ergo: totalitarian Rule over men must be instituted so that these hard choices can be made. Gaia save the earth from men! That is what we get for denying the true God that loves the men that He designed to have dominion over the beautiful earth that He created for our inheritance and His pleasure at rest in this work of art that we now inhabit and into which we bring our beloved children .

The Crack Emcee said...

One of my two liberal roommates wanted to have me thrown in jail for forcefully telling him I didn't want a twisty bulb in my room.

These people are insane.

Jason (the commenter) said...

The incandescent light bulb ban, like the TSA, was a product of the Bush Presidency.

One of the worst Presidents ever (another way Obama is like Bush).

Donna B. said...

I've been wondering when people would figure out that Homeland Security and its TSA would be the things that tarnished Bush's legacy much more than Iraq and Afghanistan.

Anyway... I like the twisty bulbs and was using them before I heard any talk of banning the incandescents.

That doesn't mean I liked the ban - I thought it was incredibly stupid and understood completely those who objected on grounds of aesthetics.

But mainly I objected on the grounds of what gave Congress the right to do such a thing? Sure... on this issue there was no problem, but I like salt, bacon fat, my current health insurance, and numerous other wonders and conveniences that someone might think I don't "need" or that they simply don't like.

jayne_cobb said...

They're getting around this in Germany by selling incandescent bulbs as miniature heaters.

DaveW said...

I had another one go out this week, one of the big round ones over the mirror in the second bath. Those particular ones are really bad and have a shorter life than the incandescent bulbs easily. In the 2-3 years I've been using them there I've been through 6 or 8 replacements in a 4-light strip.

Fen said...

" was a product of the Bush Presidency."

In addition to raising auto fuel efficiency standards 40 percent, an energy bill passed by Congress yesterday bans the incandescent light bulb by 2014.

President Bush signed the 822-page measure into law today after it was sent up Pennsylvania Avenue in a Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle. The House passed the bill by a 314-100 vote after approval by the Senate last week.

Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the legislation will boost the energy efficiency of "almost every significant product and tool and appliance that we use, from light bulbs to light trucks."

jr565 said...

Hey on some levels using these new bulbs makes sense. They last a lot longer, so if you're talking about efficiency alone you could see their charms. But too many people complain about the glaring light of the CF's. And the most ludicrious argument was that somehow you'd be saving the environment with them. Considering if they break you have to consult poison control just to sweep up the debris.
I could see govt maybe saying that govt buildings shoud have incandescents out of some need to save money, but they shuldn't ban incandescents outright. In this case, if these bulbs are that much better, then people will buy them because they're superior just as people no longer buy 8 track tapes and instead buy CD's (and actually who buys cd's?)

Parker Smith said...

Can we also get the federal limit on the amount of water your toilet can use rolled back?

Suggested slogan:
"Get the government out of my toilet!"

lemondog said...

I don't have a problem with the quality of light emitted by CFLs, HOWEVER, I do have a big problem with the use of toxic mercury in CFL's and why congressional dipwads did not fully explore and explain the health and environmental ramifications of forcing the use of a common household product containing such material.

Jim said...

Fred Upton, along with Jane Harman, set the ban on incandescent light bulbs in motion. Now he's flipflopped because he's come under fire from conservatives.

http://harman.house.gov/2007/06/June-27.shtml

He and Harman defended their amendment in a 2009 letter in the Washington Post.

traditionalguy said...

But what will this do to my wharehouse full of 60s and 100s that I am holding until scarcity drives the price of my hoard sky high. Damn, foiled again.

traditionalguy said...

This is good news in one way. We won't have to fight smuggling by the Mexican Bulb Cartels of counterfeit GE bulbs made in India.

traditionalguy said...

Lesson in Government Finance: find a small cost item used everyday and make it scarce by creating a legal monopoly in exchange for taxing it. That was once salt, and then tea, and then liquor, and then telephones, and now maybe light bulbs ...something has to replace the fee for breathing called Cap and Trade.

jimbino said...

Incandescent bulbs are almost 100% efficient when used to heat a closed space. Indeed, I use an infrared bulb to heat a loft in my home in Colorado, but I could almost as efficiently heat it with a common bulb. The only difference is that some tiny bit of energy is lost by the common bulb, as would be by a CFL, in the form of light that passes out through a window.

Since incandescent bulbs are cheaper and more environment friendly than CFLs, it makes perfect sense to use incandescents in cold mountain climates and in places like Canada and North Dakota in the winter, where homes can be heated perfectly well by the "waste" heat given off by an "inefficient" incandescent. Indeed, using incandescents instead of electric baseboard or in-floor heating is way better. Have you ever tried to read by a baseboard heater?

The pain of the phase-out of incandescents is exactly what our Amerikan electorate deserves, having for more than a century elected national representatives and leaders almost universally ignorant of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Fitgers said...

Matthew said, "It's only because someone probably suggested we burn Senators for light."

No, that wouldn't work either. Senators do not give off light, only heat.

chuckR said...

Have you ever tried to read by a baseboard heater?

Why,no. No, I haven't. Somehow the very possibility eluded me.

AllenS said...

Unfortunately, since all of the incandescent bulb manufactured are out of business in this country, new bulbs will come from foreign countries. It's just too hard to start up a new business in this country. We used to make these things here before Big Government and Big Al Gore decided to tell us that they knew best.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
former law student said...

Time for a roundup of boring light bulb related facts:

When I was a sprout, Commonwealth Edison bulbs were not "free." "Light bulb service" cost extra. You were limited to, as I recall, four bulbs a month.

Detroit Edison offered a similar deal until they were sued by the Cunningham Drug chain, which argued that this policy cut into their light bulb sales. As divine retribution, Cunningham Drugs with its green tile-fronted stores went out of business.

Americans are taught oversimplified, misleading stories about inventors and inventions. The idea for the incandescent lamp did not spring from the strained brain of either Swan or Edison. Edison's patent is clearly identified as an improved incandescent lamp. Inventors build upon the work of other inventors, as did Swan and did Edison. Putting a carbon filament in a bulb was well known, and putting a filament in a vacuum bulb was well known. Both Edison and Swan put these two ideas together, but Swan used a low resistance filament while Edison used a high resistance filament.

The closest thing to a pure invention is probably Edison's phonograph by the way. People had recorded sound vibration before, but Edison was the first to make playback possible.

That said, the closest thing to an incandescent lamp inventor is probably Frederick de Moleyns in the 1840s.

Yes, GE's Meadeland plant was the last to make incandescent bulbs in this country. Unless some Euro purveyor still makes them, you're looking to China for enlightenment.

former law student said...

It's just too hard to start up a new business in this country.

It's hard to start up as a high volume manufacturer of a fully matured product. But if you're making, say, LED lamps like Cree and Lumileds do, it's not that difficult.

High tech startups, si.
Low tech startups, no.