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One of the selling points about Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) is that they will save the consumer money over the long term through their significantly lower energy consumption compared with incandescent bulbs.  Having experienced many burned-out CFLs over the past few years, I have found that they are NOT the money saver that they are purported to be,  Even though they often come with a guarantee, who keeps the receipts and a means of matching the receipts to the defective CFLs?

Having done a bit of research on compact fluorescents, I see that I am not the only one who has a problem with CFLs.  Howard Brandson, a leading lighting expert, also wants to stop the war on the incandescent bulb.  His believes that the governments introduced the incandescent ban to make it appear that they were doing something about saving energy.  He suggests that the governments looked to NEMA (and therefore member CFL manufacturers) for advice and NEMA was quite happy to provide advice for legislation to eliminate the low-margin competition to slow-selling CFLs, namely incandescent bulbs.

CBC - Howard Brandson Interview (14:30 minutes long)

NY Times - A Defense of the Incandescent Light Bulb

Federal Government's CFL Sound Bite Politics - 12/13/2013

Brandson makes the argument that incandescents provide much better indoor residential light than CFLs, especially when used with dimmers.  CFLs do not last as long with residential use because of household lighting's constant on-off operation .  [That might explain why my CFLs burn out so fast.]  He also estimates that the money saved by CFLs compared with incandescents is also miniscule compared with the cost of running a house ($1.44 CFL savings vs $4000 household budget per month).  For commercial operation where CFLs are left on for the majority of the day, the savings are more realistic.

Besides not saving money for consumers, Compact Fluorescent Lamps also are toxic and the US EPA has a procedure for disposing of broken CFLs because of the danger of MERCURY POISONING.  The EPA recommends that you open windows & shut off the HVAC system during cleaning, avoid using a vacuum cleaner, and then THROW OUT anything (clothing included) contaminated with CFL breakage in a sealed container.  The EPA also recommends that the breakage be kept out of the landfill.  I do not believe that I am the only one who has accidentally broken a CFL and I know that it is often difficult to get a burned-out CFL to a recycling centre unbroken.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps have their place when used correctly but should not be forced upon us.  I will work towards removing the ban on incandescent bulbs.