EU Will Do More Harm Than Good In Banning The Incandescent Bulb

from the backwards-thinking dept

The EU has now followed the US and Australia in coming up with plans to ban incandescent lightbulbs in favor of more efficient bulbs, such as compact fluorescent bulbs or LED-based lighting. I understand why these bans are being put in place. The incandescent bulbs are inefficient and wasteful, and the thinking is that forcing the move to CFLs or other types of bulbs will be good for the environment.

However, this doesn’t take into account the unintended consequences of this move. Already, there’s been a big push to move people to CFLs, and that’s created a situation where the makers of CFLs have worked hard to improve the quality of the bulbs (a big complaint) as well as add in features that used to not be found in CFLs, such as dimming. It’s also pushed the makers of CFLs to find efficiencies by which they can make the bulbs cheaper. They’re doing this because they know they need to compete with incandescent bulbs — and in many cases it’s working.

Yet, banning incandescents from the market place means that the makers of CFLs now have a lot less competition. They don’t have to work as hard to make the lights better. They don’t have to work as hard to make them more efficient and cheaper. They’ve basically been given a gift that means they can slow down the process of making those bulbs that much better for the environment. That seems like a mistake.

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Comments on “EU Will Do More Harm Than Good In Banning The Incandescent Bulb”

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hegemon13 says:

There will still be enough competition

I would agree…except that there are a lot of companies manufacturing CFLs that will still compete with each other. Also, many companies manufacture both CFLs and incandescent bulbs, so incandescents aren’t really competition so much as another product line. Right now, GE wins whether you buy a GE CFL or a GE incandescent, so what do they care?

Removing incandescent bulbs may even drive CFL prices down further. Most people still buy incandescent bulbs, and the CFL bulb is a premium product. Once it is the standard, the increased market, mass production, and decreased perceived value may cause the prices to drop.

I wish that the regulation wasn’t necessary, but it is. In the long run, modern CFL bulbs cost less, but a lot of people will never discover that because they’re cheap and/or skeptical. A lot of people have to be forced into change, even when it is better for them. A good example is my workplace, which is in the midst of a ‘green’ initiative. They pleaded for months with employees to start bringing reusable coffee mugs or water cups from home to decrease the waste from styrofoam cups. No result. Finally, they just took away the styrofoam cups. Guess what? Everybody now brings their own cups.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: There will still be enough competition

No. It’s because a “premium” product will go into mass production and become a base level commodity.

When CDs were new, they were a premium product and cost far more than cassettes. Once cassettes stopped being made and CDs became the standard, prices dropped. I remember my first CD was $24.99 for a single disc album. Try getting someone to pay that now! Yet, the demand for CDs is far higher than it was back then. Same with DVDs and VHS. Not only are DVDs cheaper than they were when the demand was small, they are cheaper than VHS tapes ever were because the home video market is now so much bigger.

A large enough demand for a product means that production is cheaper and smaller margins are acceptable due to higher volume.

andrew says:

Re: Re: Re: There will still be enough competition

Yes, but CDs and DVDs became standard without any need to ban VHS or cassette tapes. Suggesting that we should ban incandescents is just as ridiculous as suggesting we ban DVDs to encourage people to move to Blu-Ray.

The fact of the matter is that the “premium” product will win out in the end only if people believe the benefits outweigh the switching costs. For a lot of people, that hasn’t happened yet for CFLs or other alternatives to incandescent bulbs. If it does, then people will naturally switch over without any need for government intervention.

Anonymous Coward says:

True, but you can also look at the other side of the coin. As the market always dictates, supply and demand holds true. The innovation will be spurred by demand rather than apples/oranges competition. If company A can figure out a cheaper/faster way to make the bulbs than company B then they will be successful. This is still competition, advancements will still be made at a similar if not faster pace now because the companies can focus all of their R&D budgets to these instead of having funds and resources tied up in incandescent bulb legacy production.

Willton says:

What about new entrants and interbrand competition?

Yet, banning incandescents from the market place means that the makers of CFLs now have a lot less competition. They don’t have to work as hard to make the lights better. They don’t have to work as hard to make them more efficient and cheaper. They’ve basically been given a gift that means they can slow down the process of making those bulbs that much better for the environment. That seems like a mistake.

Doesn’t that assume that there will be no more entrants into the field of lightbulb manufacture, or that the current makers of incandescent bulbs will not change to CFLs or LEDs and just drop out of the market? I would find it hard to believe that the banning of incandescent bulbs would suddenly create a monopoly, especially when most manufacturers of incandescent bulbs also manufacture CFLs.

ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

They Suck

I use CF lightbulbs (I have a couple lights that go 24/7) but I hate them. They’re expensive, and they’ll blow at the slightest surge. I’m probably not saving money and I’m not quite clear on what they’re doing to wherever they end up when they’re disposed of.

But hey, as long as some politician has a talking point it’s all good.

Matt Bennett says:

All this misses the most important thing. I STILL hate the light given off by CFLs. Yes, it’s getting better, but it’s not good enough. May be it will be, someday, but it isn’t yet. This is the sort of thing that I’ll tolerate at work, but I really shouldn’t have to tolerate at home. It really does bother me.

This is nanny-stateism at it’s worst. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to make my own choice? If CO2 is causing global warming (bullshit) incandescent bulbs are a very small fraction of that, and almost meaningless percentage. (my gaming PC at home burns about 4-500 watts on it’s own) This is a law that is causing people aggravation for what is ultimately, merely a symbol, not even a very productive change.

There are people who claim that fluorescents give them migraines. I’m not one of them, but who am I to tell them what to use at home? Who am I to cause them pain for at best a theorectically marginal improvement?

Afriad of the wrath of ignorant people who are app says:

Re: Re:

“If CO2 is causing global warming (bullshit)”… Haha, you’re funny!…

wait… that was a joke right?

Every single scientist reviewed paper on Global Warming (3000+ I think?)says that it exists due to CO2 emissions, and there isn’t even one peer reviewed paper in the world that says otherwise. Not one.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Re:

“…and there isn’t even one peer reviewed paper in the world that says otherwise. Not one.”

Okay, that’s a flat lie. I agree with your main point, that we affect global warming by our actions. But you won’t further your cause by spouting blatant falsehoods. There are, in fact, several serious, legitimate scientists who refute man’s actions as a cause for global warming. There are even a few who refute global warming itself.

Not Hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Prove it!

I can’t vouch for the veracity of any of this, but a quick Google search gets about 109,000 for “scientist refutes global warming.” Not a huge number by web standards, but at least a few of those links mention peer reviewed publications as well as specific environmental scientists. I can’t dig too deep or too long here at work, but it’s a starting place and at least casts a shadow of doubt over your claim that “there isn’t even one peer reviewed paper in the world that says otherwise. Not one.”

Pat (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 problem with just using Google searchs....

Using your Google link turned up these results:

3 Top links: — pseudo-journalism right-wing website (not peer reviewed) — think tank funded by exxon — another right-wing pseudo-journalism site.

Next page includes things like:

“Refuting a Global Warming Denier (posting from Climate Science Watch)”

“YouTube – Sen. John McCain refutes a global warming denier”

Anonymous Coward says:

Why should I be forced to buy CFL? There’s nothing about the standard ones that pollute the environment. In fact, CFL has mercury or something in it that can not even be properly disposed of. So what is the problem with incandascent? What, that it uses a whole 60 watts or 75 watts? Who gives a fuck? As long as I’m willing to pay my electric bill, whose business is it what kindo f bulbs I buy?

nasch says:

Re: Re:

First, I agree incandescents should not be banned. Second, what pollutes the environment is (probably) your power plant. An incandescent bulb uses more power, thus burning more prehistoric plants, thus more pollution, and people are particularly concerned about the CO2. Third, a coal-burning power plant (if that is where you get your power) releases more mercury into the atmosphere to power a light bulb than is contained in a CFL.

Anonymous Coward says:

Inter-product competition will go down for sure; a decrease in substitutes, but any person with day two economics knows that is only a part of the economic equation.

The Intra-Product competition will continue to be dominant force in the market. Car companies don’t compete directly with train/plane/boat companies on who gets to move people around. Ford competes with Toyota and GM to see who can come up with the best car.

Anonymous Coward says:

“As long as I’m willing to pay my electric bill, whose business is it what kindo f bulbs I buy?”

Thats why we need to force YOU to change. We need to cut our waste of electricity. Your too priviledged to understand that. I already moved to CFL a few years ago. I hardly change bulbs anymore and I did see a drop in my electric bill. I’m not a big green person, but this does make sense even to me.

indeed says:

Re: Re:

“Thats why we need to force YOU to change. We need to cut our waste of electricity. Your too priviledged to understand that. “

Hope your being sarcastic there…”too priviledged?” what does that mean? He has the right to consume whatever he wants, and if that means he’s changing the bulbs every couple of months and paying a few bucks extra a month, that’s his business. When the gov’t “force” people to change their buying habits, that’s where things can go wrong. What if this guy has solar panels on his roof and uses his own electricity? Why should he have to use the newer bulbs? He’s not “wasting” anything.

Just because right now they say “whose business is it what kindo f bulbs i buy?” doesn’t mean their habits won’t change. Of course they will. When that person realizes it’s economical to change, then they will embrace it.

The only time I condone the gov’t stepping in on banning products, is when majority of consumes are injured or killed because of it.

Pat (user link) says:

Re: Re: Consumption is NOT a right

Since when is its someone’s right to be wasteful at the expense of humanity and others lives?

As the saying goes “your right to swing your fist ends at my nose”.

We are fighting a optional war because our oil was under their sand. I would say it is high time that we stopped rewarding gluttony and see it for what it is: wasteful consumption.

Lonnie E. Holder says:

Re: Re: Re: Consumption is NOT a right


But, you see, some people think they have many “natural rights.” They have a right to throw their trash in my yard. They have a right to drive without lights at night. They have a right not to use turn signals when they change lanes. Yes, I know these things are all illegal, but the same people do them over and over again. Oh, and we do not want to forget about those people who think they have a right to driving without a seatbelt, raising everyone’s insurance rates when they get hurt or killed in an accident.

You can lead a horse to water, but try making it pick up a $20 bill.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Consumption is NOT a right

“Since when is its someone’s right to be wasteful at the expense of humanity and others lives?”

In the United States you have always had this right, since its founding. The DMCA eats away at it a little, but in America, if its your property you can do as you please with it (with a few specific exceptions). Certainly in the last 8 years we have been encouraged to consume, gorge even, way beyond our ability to actually pay for it for example. I dont know where you live, but in America you not only have the right to wastefully consume, but under the Bush administration it has been considered your patriotic duty to do so. Frankly if you dont wastefully consume, AlQuida wins.

Lonnie E. Holder says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Consumption is NOT a right

Your inalienable right to be a pig, to the extent that you can get someone to loan you money to be one?

However, your gluttony interferes with my liberty because I have to take additional medications with all the additional pollutants in the air. Also, you interfere with many other people’s liberty because your incandescent light bulbs send us to new energy peaks, raising costs and rates even further. So your gluttony is financed even by those who strive to be “green.”

MAtt says:

Re: Re:

I have been a CF user for years. When you have more than one bulb in a fixture and one goes out, you’ll see the big downside to CFs: they dim over time. Noticeably. And even expensive ones suck on a dimmer. And you are not supposed to throw them out in regular garbage.
LED lights rock. I use them under my kitchen cabinets. When prices come down a little I’ll start to use them in more places.

Lonnie E. Holder says:

Re: Re: Re:


I got my first LED flashlight earlier this summer. Wow, what a difference. It still works after you drop it. The light is very intense. Yes, more expensive, by a lot, than a standard flashlight, but I expect it will last a lot longer too. I am looking forward to LED light bulbs. While LED’s do not last forever, they last an extremely long time, and no ballast!

Valkor says:

Re: Re:

Let’s try it this way:

“As long as I’m willing to pay my electric bill, whose business is it what kind of climate control I buy?”

Thats why we need to force YOU to change. We need to cut our waste of electricity. Your too priviledged to understand that. I already moved to no heat and no air conditioning a few years ago. I hardly feel comfortable anymore but I did see a drop in my electric bill. I’m not a big green person, but this does make sense even to me.

How about this: ban toasters. Who really needs toasted bread when regular bread is so much more energy efficient. Maybe we could ban electric stoves. Gas stoves have a lower energy cost. Why not ban plasma TVs? They suck electricity like nobody’s business. LED TVs only; they’re clearly more energy efficient. Heck, why not ban TVs over 36″, or some other arbitrary number.

This has a certain logical consistency in a socialist country, but America isn’t quite there yet. The slippery slope argument is logically fallacious, but it can also be true. We let the government control what spews out of factory smoke stacks (good thing), then in California they started telling you when you could and could not have a fire in your fireplace at home (questionable), and now the government wants to force you to save $10 a month on your electricity bill (WTF?).

Pat (user link) says:

Re: Re: Reality check

Fact: In California’s Central Valley, asthma rates are higher than in Los Angeles. This is because of particulates from diesel, farming operations and …. fires (in fireplaces or leaf burnings).

Fact: Energy consumption has remained constant per-capita in California because California has lead the way with laws and regulations forcing energy efficiency.

Today, as an energy consumer, California is more like thrifty Denmark than the rest of the energy-guzzling United States. While the average American burns 12,000 kilowatt-hours a year of electricity, the average Californian burns less than 7,000 — and that’s counting renewable energy sources.

California has managed to cut its contributions to global warming, too. Carbon dioxide emissions per capita in California have fallen by 30 percent since 1975, while U.S. per capita carbon dioxide emissions have remained essentially level.

Fact: California has done this and still manages to have the largest economy in the nation. … or maybe its because of this that our energy costs have been able to be reduced.

Porkster says:

Incandesant Lights are not banned!!!!

Over here on the other side of the would in Australia and New Zealand, incandescent lightbulbs have NOT been banned!! Inefficient bulbs, whether incandescent, CFL or any other type have been banned. There are still incandesant bulbs that are availible that meet the efficiency requirement (I suspect its the same in the EU, inefficient bulbs are banned not “incandescent”).

Therefore, it’s an incentive for bulb makers to increase efficiency (something they should have done years ago)

The same applies to TVs, fridges and several other appliances, they must meet a certain efficiency before they are allowed to be sold here.

And yet we can still buy gas guzzling cars, SUVs and boats..

Johnny Canada says:


The only time I condone the gov’t stepping in on banning products, is when majority of consumes are injured or killed because of it.

With the contued use of inefficient products like incandescent light bulbs you will be killing the planet with greenhouse gases.

BUT CFL is not the answer LED technology is where we have to look,

bjc (profile) says:

Great. Just for fun sometime, call your local environmental department and ask for their assistance in cleaning up the mercury spilled from a broken CFL. A woman in Maine did and the final cost was $2000. See

A single CFL contains enough mercury to contaminate 6000 Gallons of water.

How will the anti-incandescent laws affect people using projectors, optical instruments, flash lights, vehicles, halogen stoves, motion picture lighting , etc?

vidiot (profile) says:

Re: Lighting

Television and film lighting has been migrating to CFL — or just plain ol’ FL — for the last several years, and anything brighter than that is generally HMI; incandescent would barely be missed. The hot news is LED lighting for theatrical, film and TV… they’re getting brighter and more controllable all the time, long life, and no nasty mercury remediation like CFL.

Brent J. Craig (profile) says:

Re: Re: Lighting

Yes, we certainly use lots of Kino-flos (Florescent film lights) these days, but the mainstay is still good ol’ 2K’s, 5K’s and 10K’s. (These are incandescent lights using 2000 Watts, 5000 Watts and 10,000 Watts respectively)

HMI’s are more expensive and tend to only be used where a daylight balanced light source is required, such as when shooting day exteriors.

It would be interesting to hear from someone in the affected countries to see if the laws make exceptions for theatrical lighting.

Don’t worry, you can always come shoot in Canada with our cheap dollar and kick-ass crews.

John says:


I’m a buyer for an electrical wholesaler, last year the government came up with the weee charge this is for the disposal of the lamp, we have to pay 15p extra for every CFL we buy, of cause we have to pass that on,yet another money making tax. The cheapest CFL’s should last at least 2000hrs and they are getting smaller and better all the time, things like fast start ballasts making them come on as quick as a incandescent lamp, but the way to go is LED, last longer on average 30,000hrs use less energy and over the past 12 months the price of LED’s have come down by quite a lot

Dan says:

Maybe we should ban stupid and corrupt politicians, that would mostly eliminate them as a class. As in all generalizations even this would be a bad idea. there are many situations where CFLs are a poor substitute or just don’t work. Like DTV, it will work well for many it also leaves many others with poor or no service unless they make a sizable investment to replace a usable if imperfect service.

R. Paul Waddington says:

Number of pieces?

It is a source of curiosity of mine. A CFL lamp has a heap more, of more, energy expensive to produce components compared to an incandescents half dozen or so. So can somebody tell me why they can be made using less energy and does the greatly increased additional energy used in CFL manufacture offset what they save, if any, in the home. I suspect not.

I personally believe CFL lamps are seen and being used by manufacturers to increase their profits by making a more complicated and costly lamp and using a false ‘green’ argument and ill-informed politicians to protect their ruse!

Mrten says:

Incandescent bulb efficiency

Can someone quote the source for those reduction numbers? It seems they are all based on the generally values of “10% light, 90% heat”, regarding the 90% heat as a loss, while it seems to me that a light bulb in a house that needs heating anyway (early spring, fall, winter, anywhere where outside temperatures drop below 17C/62F) has an 100% *overall* efficiency.

Not to mention that incandescent bulbs live *much* longer when they are dimmed than generally assumed, I have dimmed halogens that have been used for hours daily, for over ten years now.

Lonnie E. Holder says:

Re: Incandescent bulb efficiency


You are quite correct regarding heating. Our last bathroom had 8, yes 8, 25 watt incandescent bulbs. With the door closed the temperature in the bathroom would go up dramatically, quickly. While this was quite nice during cold winter months, during the 7 months of the year when the air conditioner was on the bathroom was like an Easy Bake (R) oven. We switched to CFL’s and have been thrilled with the result. Indeed, almost all our bulbs are now CFL’s, and our electric bill has dropped about 20-25% in the summer with less electricity to power the bulbs and less electricity for the air conditioner.

Anonymous Coward says:

CFL’s are evil. Mercury is much worst to the environment than “wasteful energy” yet you do not see any warnings such as “DO NOT THROW IN THE FREAKIN GARBAGE CAN”. But heh, who cares about mercury poisoning really.

Go for the stupidity and down with intelligence. I see Idiocracy coming to a life near you.

Anonymous Coward says:

There are several problems with the ban. CFL’s don’t work everywhere. They tend to die VERY quickly in locations with extreme temperatures – like outdoors, oven, and refrigerator fixtures. I have closed light fixtures in my house and I can tell you from experience that CFL’s life are measured in weeks in them.

And second, they become impractical at high wattage values. And third, they make terrible outdoors flood lights.

A thought about global warming. Its the only theory I’ve ever heard of that has been elevated to a proven fact because of a majority vote. I thought theories required proof – repeatable and reproducable by multiple parties…

Bradley Stewart (profile) says:

Could I Wind Up On America's 10 Most Wanted List

Years ago Com-Ed a well known Energy Company had a subscription service. When you paid your bill for a small additional fee you could purchase four additional light bulbs a month. I normally burn out about two bulbs a year. Well Jeez. I have three whole kitchen cabinets filled the the dam things. I mean that I have enough light bulbs to take me almost clear through the third millinium. Now what do I do?

Brad (profile) says:

Ban By Technology

This is one of the biggest problems that governments around the world (and especially the US) is making with technology. Some technology is not CURRENTLY where they’d like it to be, and rather than requiring it to get BETTER in order to continue being sold, they ban it outright, often shifting to a technology that is not as good, and there’s a reason it isn’t as successful in the market.

Look at diesel engines, for example. They WERE dirtier than gasoline, but that age has long since passed. However, because the technology was banned, rather than setting an intelligent floor on efficiency, now the US does not have high efficiency, clean turbo diesel passenger cars, like the rest of the world.

Lighting should be regulated like this: Set an efficiency and a material waste restriction: can’t use dangerous amounts of toxic materials, must have an efficiency above 75% (or whatever), efficiency must reach 90% by 2015, etc. Don’t just kill off incandescent. You CAN make an incandescent bulb that’s 90% efficient, there’s just no motivation to now that CCFLs and LEDs are the only legal lighting standard.

Mycroft says:

What about lava lamps?

I’m all for CFL’s, I’ve been using them for years now, but I also have some lava-lamps from the 70’s that require 40 watt incandescent appliance bulbs. Outright banning incandescent bulbs means I can’t use these anymore.

The market will take care of switching to CFLs without the governments help.

Lonnie E. Holder says:

Re: What about lava lamps?


Yes, the market will eventually, maybe, take care of switching to CFL’s without the government’s help. Unfortunately, that will only happen after electricity is multiple factors higher in cost than it currently is.

One of the big drives to eliminate incandescents is that lighting takes up to 25% of generated electricity. Imagine the nuclear power plants that need not be built or the oil that need not be burned or the coal that need not be mined if we could reduce our electrical usage by 20%. Yes, the market will drive us to CFL’s, but by the time it happens, we will have lost the best reason for doing so.

Rekrul says:

I replaced all the bulbs in my home with CFLs a few months ago. The package claims that they’ll last much longer than regular bulbs. The other day I tried to turn on the light in the hallway, a light that gets used maybe 2 minutes a day and I discovered that the CFL bulb was burned out. Gee, it sure lasted a long time…

Lonnie E. Holder says:

Re: Re: Heard of statistics?

Pat & Rekrul:

I have noticed that cheap CFL’s, just like cheap incandescents, tend to die faster than better quality bulbs. Even then, I have had some early, unexpected failures.


Buy yourself a Sharpie (R) or equivalent, and write the date of the receipt on the ceramic base of each bulb. Keep your receipts. If the bulb dies within the warranty period, take it back. We have had enough early failures (of course, with nearly every bulb in our house a CFL, we have a lot of bulbs) to make it worth the trouble.

Twinrova says:

No "3 strikes and you're out" rule here

They’ve basically been given a gift that means they can slow down the process of making those bulbs that much better for the environment. That seems like a mistake.
Actually, the mistake will be made by those who “slow down” the process rather than innovate to make them better and help lower the cost.

We have a few CF bulbs in our house and they’re okay, but the LED light I have is much better. It’s brighter and doesn’t have a delay when I flip the switch to turn it on.

Regardless, this whole “going green” is yet another concept to which the stupid things in life are being focused on while the bigger things continue as normal, defeating the whole damn purpose of “going green”.

30 MPG. Seriously? When one looks at the “average” daily drive, this doesn’t really make much sense when nearly the same level of pollutants are still being exhausted into the atmosphere. Where are the electric cars? Hydrogen cars?

Oh, right. Still sitting on drawing boards because they’re much too expensive to push into production.

Somehow, the 1970s didn’t teach Americans a damn thing about oil prices, recessions, or pollution because, 30 years later, we’re right back at doing the same finger pointing, excuse making, and enacting the “quick fix” mentality (light bulbs???) which will all wane as soon as things get back to “normal”.

I find it (ironic?) comical that so much information is dispensed at changing out light bulbs but electronic devices continue to suck more power when they’re off than an incandescent bulb does when it’s on.

Don’t go green. Go red for having to deal with the incompetence delivered by those who survived the 70s but failed to do anything about it.

Gunnar Hansen says:

Quite the opposite

Dumbest article ever! Before the CFL developers only had to compete with the incandecent bulb makers, who they were vastly superior too in terms of electrical efficiency. Now they have to compete against each other, using CFLs rather than the electric-guzzling bulbs as the benchmark. Not to mention the spectre of the LEDs…

Lonnie E. Holder says:

Re: Quite the opposite

Good points. As long as the CFL manufacturers could point to incandescent bulbs, the competition was not between CFL manufacturers. With that sort of chaff out of the way, the CFL guys will be forced to actually compete and improve the technology faster than they otherwise would have with incandescent bulbs as the comparison standard. LED’s should also benefit. Look for an increased number of CFL producers.

Lonnie E. Holder says:

Re: Dimmers

Anonymous Coward:

Older dimmer switches, and I presume some cheap new dimmer switches, function exactly as you state. Increase resistance, make yourself a little heater, and dim the light. No energy efficiency there.

Modern (and more expensive?) dimmers use a triac to chop the voltage sent to the bulb, thus reducing energy consumption. The same chopping technique is also the reason that modern dimmers do not work well with CFL’s.

Older homes with a dimmer are probably using a rheostat (variable potentiometer or resistor) to control light output. Turn the lights on and dim them for a while. If the dimmer feels warmer after the lights have been on and dimmed for 10 or 15 minutes, chances are that your dimmer is a variable resistor versus a triac.

One question is whether you truly save any electricity even with a triac dimmer. Unless you are using the dimmed light as a night light (electroluminscent and LED are cheaper in the long run) or for mood lighting (which electroluminescent and LED can probably also do for you), you probably need the light you turned on.

Kris says:

An electricity tax would do 100 times more good

If we are consuming too much electricity, which releases carbon dioxide (and mercury if it comes from coal, and other various environmental harms) and eventually it’s going to harm some of us causing medical costs and environmental problems that someone has to pay for… then the much more logical thing is to add more tax to every kilowatt of electricity we buy! Then, people who don’t want to pay will try to stop using incandescents on their own, as well as a lot of other energy-wasting electronics. In turn, the money taken in by the tax can be used to clean up the environment, or invest in even more energy-saving technologies.
The politicians have found it safer to just ban one token product rather than take a real stand – shame on us for voting in people who support this kind of useless legislation.

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