Need to buy a snowblower, light bulbs, and some paint? You might figure, “Oh, I’ll just head to Home Depot (or Lowe’s, or Sears) and get it all done in the same trip.” But just because these stores all offer one-stop shopping for most home goods, price and quality of store-brand and private label products can vary greatly depending on the retailer. [More]
Our scientific sisters over at Consumer Reports have set out to answer the question that’s on everyone’s minds lately: Is an LED lightbulb really a viable replacement for the controversial-and-soon-to-be-phased-out inefficient incandescent?
After 3,000 hours of testing, the best LEDs were still as bright as the incandescents they replaced. But only about half were as bright as promised. All the LEDs reached full brightness instantly, even at frigid temperatures, providing warm white light that was unaffected by frequently turning them on and off. Energy use matched or exceeded claims, and LEDs don’t contain mercury (CFLs do in small amounts). Some LEDs dimmed as low as incandescents. But not all LEDs are good at shining light where you need it.
If all of the new lightbulbs — CFLs, LEDs and more — have left you wondering whether switching technologies is a bright idea, the government is here to help. Sort of. Starting next year, the Federal Trade Commission plans to mandate new labels for all lightbulbs, modeled after the nutrition labels on most packaged foods. There’s just one problem: If you don’t know what a lumen is, or how it relates to a watt, the labels may not shed much light on the subject.
It took an Executive Email Carpet Bomb to convince Best Buy to replace Bryan’s Panasonic LiFi LCD Projection TV after it ate through four lamps. Bryan had purchased Best Buy’s extended warranty, which contains a no lemon clause that promises a replacement after three failed repairs. Best Buy conveniently insisted that replacing the broken lamp did not count as a “qualified repair.” Bryan first escalated his complaint through normal channels; when he had no other choice, he launched the mighty EECB.
Jim spotted this confusing sign at a Fry’s store in Campbell, Calif. On a display of compact fluorescent light bulbs, the store helpfully notes that some assembly is required. “Is it safe to assemble your own fluorescent light bulbs?” he wrote. “I mean with the dangerous mercury vapor and all?”
SJ replaced his Volkswagen’s bulbs with Sylvania Silverstar lights that were twice as expensive, only to watch them fail after three months of use. Disappointed, since the standard bulbs lasted for three years, SJ wrote to Sylvania telling them that he expected, at a minimum, a voucher for new bulbs. Sylvania’s response managed to brighten his day…
Blogging Away Debt made this graph to show how much their family reduced energy consumption by installing compact fluorescent light bulbs and unplugging a freezer in the basement. The chart shows a decrease of around 2-3 average kilowatts hours per day, resulting in electrical bills that were about a half as much as before.
If you’re interested in switching to “green light,” check out this comprehensive but digestible CFL buying and use guide. [Danny Lipford]
There’s been much talk of CFLs replacing traditional incandescent bulbs, but it may be LED lightbulbs that take the spotlight.