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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-28-2006, 07:33 PM   #41
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

My wife is ten times more frugal than I am, and she can't stand the compact fluorescents, mainly because they don't go to full brightness instantly. But this thread has me thinking that maybe I'll give them another shot.
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-28-2006, 07:55 PM   #42
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

thanks wahoo, I may give that a shot .. considering that the lamp is the one that gets the most use.

I had read that the florescent's delay in coming on, and its "warm-up" to full brightness is one of the reasons it saves energy -- that the "instant on" of regular bulbs requires a big shot of energy. True?

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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-28-2006, 08:31 PM   #43
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

Quote:
Originally Posted by VoyT
I had read that the florescent's delay in coming on, and its "warm-up" to full brightness is one of the reasons it saves energy -- that the "instant on" of regular bulbs requires a big shot of energy. True?
I don't think so, but I'm no engine-near. According to this website, it's becasue incandescent lighting has to heat a filament hot enough to glow brightly (requiring lots of 'juice' to do so) while a fluorescent bulb passes electrons through a gas, getting the stuff coating the inside of the bulb all excited and causing it to glow (requiring only about 25% as much 'juice' to produce the equivalent amount of light).

Personally, I think it's done by combining swamp gas, mirrors and fairy dust.

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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-28-2006, 08:32 PM   #44
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

Quote:
Originally Posted by bpp
My wife is ten times more frugal than I am, and she can't stand the compact fluorescents, mainly because they don't go to full brightness instantly. But this thread has me thinking that maybe I'll give them another shot.
Some of the cheaper ones still brighten slowly, but they come on to a reasonable brightness instantly unlike the older ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VoyT
I had read that the florescent's delay in coming on, and its "warm-up" to full brightness is one of the reasons it saves energy -- that the "instant on" of regular bulbs requires a big shot of energy. True?
I doubt it. I expect the heat output of an incandescent is where all the extra energy goes.
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-28-2006, 09:12 PM   #45
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

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Originally Posted by BigMoneyJim
VoyT:
Quote:
I had read that the florescent's delay in coming on, and its "warm-up" to full brightness is one of the reasons it saves energy -- that the "instant on" of regular bulbs requires a big shot of energy. True?
I doubt it. I expect the heat output of an incandescent is where all the extra energy goes.
I think you're both right. Incandescents put out a broad spectrum of radiation, lots of which is outside the visible range and doesn't contribute to brightness. Fluorescents put all their energy into a few spectral lines, which are in the visible range by design. (Ultraviolet light generated in the gas excites phosphors coating the glass, which generate light at certain visible lines, dependent on the type of bulb.) So fluorescents are more efficient than incandescents.

The slow ramp up is because the bulb has to reach some optimal temperature for maximum efficiency. I think that traditional fluorescents compensate for this, using more energy in the first minute of operation to excite the gas than later. Compact fluorescents don't don't seem to bother with this, which saves energy (compared to traditional fluorescents), but leads to a slowly rising brightness. So the lack of instant-full-brightness makes compact fluorescents more energy-saving than traditional fluorescents.

Or something like that. Corrections welcome.

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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-28-2006, 09:29 PM   #46
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

Well, we just made a trip to Home Depot for various supplies. I decided to pick up some fluorescents and give them a try. All they stocked were bulbs labeled "soft white". The light from them seems to be about the same as the incandescents. These come on instantly when I flip the switch. The package of 6 (60 watt light output) cost $10. Not bad.
I also checked into the heat reflective screens. They have the frame material and rolls of screen to cut and DIY for about $20 per window (screen included)...... or the frame kits (easier to put together) for about $10. You still have to buy the screen material separately and install it. No kits in the size I needed though. I may try do this project before the heat sets in.

This has been an interesting discussion. I've enjoyed it.

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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-28-2006, 10:42 PM   #47
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

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This has been an interesting discussion. I've enjoyed it.
Profitable, too!

Just send a small share to Dory's server fund via PayPal...
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-28-2006, 11:25 PM   #48
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

It's my understanding that the reason incandescents are so inefficient is that they are actually heaters that put off light as a by-product (no, that's not a joke). And the light output drops quickly with reduced voltage, before much heat does. What this means is that when you dim the bulbs, they don't save nearly the energy percent as the drop in light. So you're probably using 80% of the electricity to get half the light.
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-29-2006, 02:01 AM   #49
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

Yep, incandescents are inefficient simply because they convert most of their energy to heat.* There's no big spike of power usage upon turning them on.* That rumor probably got started because the old fashioned long tube flourescent lights used ballasts that did use a lot of power for a little while to start them up.* *Newer flourescent systems are very energy efficient even upon startup, so there's no need to be concerned about power waste upon turnon.* The only concern is that the startup process stresses them a bit and lowers the bulb lifetime, but not enough that it's anything to be worried about.*

Note that when it's cold out and you have the heater on, you are using the incandescent heat so it's not a total loss.* *Heating with gas is cheaper in most places, but heating with incandescent lights is probably just as efficient as heating with an electric space heater.

I love the idea of compact flourescents but I detest the quality of light they put out.* As others have mentioned the output is only in a few frequencies (colors) of light, whereas incandescents have a smooth output at all frequencies in the visible spectrum.* This means that colors look different, not as natural, with flourescents.* *Also flourescents pulse the light on and off like a movie projector, but incandescents are steady.* Most of the time this strobing effect isn't a problem since the rate is fast enough that the human vision system integrates it.* *But sometimes the strobing is noticeable, especially when I'm tired or looking at a flourescent light out of my peripheral vision which is more sensitive to movement and pulsing.*

I just don't feel like I'm at "home" with flourescents, so most lights in my place are halogen (incandescent).* *They are improving in both the color rendition and strobing, so maybe in a decade they will be good enough that I'll be comfortable with them.* I suppose I should do a formal calculation to see how much I'm paying for my visual comfort.


On another note, this thread reminded me I needed to check for long distance deals.* For about 5 years I've been paying 4 cents a minute with Covista, but after googling 'long distance' today I found a place that does 2.5 cents a minute, so I'm switching.* These rates are with no monthly fees.* *Long distance seems to be one of the few areas in life where there's no quality penalty to saving money.* The supercheap companies are just as reliable and clear as the big names, in my experience.* Everything is digital between the local switches now, and the little companies just lease their bandwidth from the big players, so you don't have to worry much about getting a bad line.
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-29-2006, 02:05 AM   #50
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

Another way to save money on high speed internet is to share it. I share a wifi connection with my neighbor in the condo next to me, and we split the bill. I pay $23/mo which is about the same as if I switched every year to whoever had the best deal, but I don't have to hassle with switching.
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-29-2006, 02:24 AM   #51
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

If you can live with the drawbacks, use VOIP for phone. Even better, if the person(s) you talk to regularly have PCs and broadband, use Skype. It's free and I've found the voice quality to be substantially better than a landline, even when talking around the world.
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-29-2006, 04:32 AM   #52
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

actually the incandescent dimmers today are better at saving electricity...the dimmers of yesterday were simply variable resisters which dissapated most of the electricity saved into heat...for the last decade or so dimmers are actually pulse output..they chop the electricity up by switching on and off very quickly ...the longer the off cycle the dimmer the light gets..very little heat loss and since no electricity is consumed by the bulb in the off pulse they do tend to be more efficiant...well as efficiant as incandescent can get anyway
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-29-2006, 04:40 AM   #53
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Yep, incandescents are inefficient simply because they convert most of their energy to heat. There's no big spike of power usage upon turning them on" quote
actually yes there is a very large spike with incandescent lamps...while a motor may draw 5 or 6 times its running amperage upon start up an incandecent lamp can draw over 10x its running current....the difference is the motor draws it over a longer starting period while a lamp is very very quick to drop down. ....
if you notice switches and contactors carry a resistive rating (lamps and heating) and an inductive rating (motors and ballast driven lamps) ...the better grade contactors actually have different models for lighting with different springs and contact points to better deal with the higher inrush of lighting..........

and yes im in the lighting business now 30 years,,,cant wait to er......
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-29-2006, 12:27 PM   #54
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

I have most of the bulbs changed in my house but there are 3 lamps I can't change because they have the kind of shade that clips on the bulb, anyone seen a florescent that will handle that ?
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-29-2006, 12:43 PM   #55
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

I like the slow ramp up of fluorescents. When you turn a light on in a dark room or hallway at night, you dont get blasted with hundreds of watts of light output right away. Gives your eyes a little time to adjust.

Another big saver for us, living in a warmer climate that features a long hot summer with cool nights: a whole house fan. I installed ours in the attic door opening, connected the wiring to an extension cord and plugged it in at the outlet for the attic mounted furnace. Took about 15 minutes. I used an X-10 remote power controller so I can turn it on and off remotely.

In the evening, when it cools down, I can flip it on and run it most of the night. This cools the house down into the upper 60's for most of the summer. In the morning, I shut it off and close all the doors and windows. The interior temps dont go over 78 until about 5-6pm, when we're just an hour or two away from turning the fan back on. Excepting weeks when we're over 100 degrees and it doesnt cool down until midnight, we dont run the a/c very much.

Nice way to 'air out' the house in 5-10 minutes too.
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-29-2006, 03:33 PM   #56
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outtahere
I have most of the bulbs changed in my house but there are 3 lamps I can't change because they have the kind of shade that clips on the bulb, anyone seen a florescent that will handle that ?
check out www.tcpi.com...go to prroduct catalogs and click on lamps and fixture
go to decorative lamps....it maybe one of those.....
if you dont see it i need to know what lamp we are talking about and ill try to point you in the right direction
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-29-2006, 05:10 PM   #57
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

Thanks mathjack, I guess I need to try a couple of the lighting stores around me instead of Home Cheapo or Walmart. I would imagine I'd save plenty even if the bulb costs me a little more.
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-29-2006, 05:29 PM   #58
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

a big moneysaver, besides these great tips is to drive less. The cost of driving a car is similar to what businesses allow, depending on your car with depreciation, insurance etc. it can be up to 50 cents a mile. If you are still working and cannot carpool at least do your errands on the way and back if at all possible.

Stay out of stores, don't recreationally shop or browse e-bay or watch QVC. Too much temptation. If you need something, research online and go directly to the area of the store to buy it. Better yet, see if you can borrow or buy something secondhand.

Learn to cook. It is fun to occasionally go to restaurants, especially with friends, but the amount you spend on one meal you could eat quite well for a week.

Cut the financial ties to your grown children. Help with education if you can, but after undergrad let them learn how to live independent of you. It will be the biggest favor you can do them and you.
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-29-2006, 06:57 PM   #59
 
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"
Old 04-29-2006, 08:02 PM   #60
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Re: Alternative, Reduced Expense "Investments"

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Downsizing home to one of these,

http://www.inhabitat.com/prefabhousing.php

with solar power, a wind turbine, and a well.
That sounds very cool, but the link didn't make it clear which one you're getting. Do you have specifics?
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