I went to Ikea and got a mess of their compact fluorescents. I think I’m finally happy with a compact fluorescent installation! At our front door, I replaced a set of 6 40 watt candelabra bulbs and 3 60 watt normal base bulbs with 3 7 watt candelabra bulbs, 3 40 watt incandescent candelabra bulbs, and 3 11 watt normal base bulbs. In this installation, you can only barely tell the new bulbs are any different and it’s not a bad different. I left 3 incandescents so the fixture would turn on instantly and also because 3 sockets sit so that the slightly larger fluorescent bulbs can be seen from below (bad).
old: 420 watts new: 174 watts savings: 246 watts
at 8hrs/day of usage and $0.10/kilowatt/hr, that’s about $0.20/day.
with a 10,000 lifespan, that’s 1,250 days or $250 savings over 3.4 years
The CF bulbs cost $3 apiece…. $3/10,000 hrs $0.0003/hr
incandescents cost $0.75 apiece…. $0.75/1,000 hrs $0.00075/hr
considering their lifespan, CF bulbs are cheaper to purchase than incandescents
I put them into another fixture as well. 6 40 watt bulbs replaced by 5 7 watt bulbs and 1 40 watt incandescent… 75 instead of 240 watts… 165 watts saved… savings of $0.13/day.
These bulbs don’t work well in many locations. They don’t look good where a single bulb is being used because the light is still a tiny bit pale and “sickly fluorescent”, even though you wouldn’t think that when you see them in Ikea. Maybe it takes several bulbs to cover up their subtle flicker. They don’t work with dimmers (I have to go buy a 3 way non-dimmed switch today). They flicker-on and take a minute to warm up so they aren’t good as the only bulbs where you need instant-on like in a rarely used stairwell. In bare-bulb applications, they don’t look nearly as stylish as incandescents. They are a tiny bit longer than their incandescent counterparts so they might not fit in a fixture; though the Ikea bulbs are a LOT smaller than many other bulbs I’ve seen.
After all my failed experiments, I’m glad that I’m finally happy with a compact fluorescent installation.