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Old September 1st, 2013 #1
Anders Hoveland
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Anders Hoveland
Default "Green energy-efficient" light bulb BURNS DOWN house!

Energy Efficient Bulb Burns Down Home, Family Loses Everything
Cumberland Times, April 30, 2008, by Kevin Spradlin

When Rick Jenkins began replacing the common, incandescent bulbs around his house with compact fluorescent lamps about 12 months ago, he didn't give much thought about saving the environment.

Instead, the Bel Air resident and Pitt-Ohio Express truck driver just wanted to stop buying light bulbs so often. Any environmental benefit, he figured, was a side effect.

That was then. A week has passed since a fire destroyed his split-level home on View Crest Drive. Rick Jenkins, wife Angie and 6-year-old daughter, Haley, lost everything but their family pooch, a 2-year-old goldendoodle. Fire investigators determined the fire was caused by a CFL connected to a dimmer switch. Packaging on many types of CFLs includes a warning not to connect them to dimmer switches.

Now, just the notion of twisting in the curlycue bulbs is a real-life nightmare.

"I wouldn't recommend them to anyone," Jenkins said Monday afternoon, bearing a strong odor of smoke after meeting with contractors at the site of the fire. "They aren't worth the cost."

Damage to the Jenkins home is estimated at $165,000. While friends and loved ones are aiding the family, Jenkins is a bit in awe about how the fire started in the first place.

"I don't read light bulbs," Jenkins said. "I wouldn't think I'd ever have to."

Jenkins said many packages containing CFLs promote in large letters they can replace a "standard" light bulb. The fine print, however, includes some of the conditions in which they must be operated. [Only buried in the fine print] does the packaging warn that outdoor lights must be enclosed - Jenkins did have a globe over his outdoor CFL, where the fire originated - and not to use them with "emergency exit fixtures or lights, electronic timers, photocells or dimmers." Philips brand CFLs also include warnings on the outside of the package while GE prints a warning on the bulb itself. On much of GE's packaging, the bulb can be seen without having to be opened.

Despite a very difficult week, Jenkins doesn't blame the light bulb for the fire. He said he's "not the type" to file a lawsuit over the issue but that people should be careful - and read the warning label - when buying anything that gets plugged in.

"Bulb explodes without warning," reported, May 21, 2010.
"Tom and Nancy Heim were watching TV recently, when Tom decided to turn on the floor lamp next to his recliner chair. 'I heard this loud pop...I saw what I thought was smoke, coming out of the top of the floor lamp,' says Tom. Nancy suddenly found glass in her lap. She says, 'I did not see it. I just heard it, and I noticed I had glass on me.'"

On February 23, 2011, TV NewsChannel 5 in Tennessee covered "a newly-released investigators' report that blames a February 12 fatal fire in Gallatin on one of those CFL bulbs." Ben Rose, an attorney for the rehabilitative facility in which Douglas Johnson, 45, perished, said, "This result is consistent with our own private investigation. ...We have heard reports of similar fires being initiated by CFLs across the country."

On February 15, 2010 a TV station reported a fire in Hinsdale, Illinois from a CFL plugged into a dimmer. Channel 2 CBS reporter Anne State said the producer of the news program tried to find a CFL that could be used with dimmers but discovered they were "very hard to find and cost more."

Many people have had bad experiences with the "energy saving" CFL spiral bulbs:

"Below is a picture of a CFL light bulb from my bathroom. I turned it on the other day and then smelled smoke after a few minutes. Four inch flames were spewing out of the side of the ballast like a blow torch! I immediately turned off the lights. But I'm sure it would have caused a fire if I was not right there. Imagine if the kids had left the lights on as usual when they were not in the room.

I took the bulb to the Fire Department to report the incident. The Fireman wasn't at all surprised and said that it was not an uncommon occurrence. Apparently, sometimes when the bulb burns out there is a chance that the ballast can start a fire. He told me that the Fire Marshall had issued reports about the dangers of these bulbs.

Upon doing some Internet research, it seems that bulbs made by Globe in China seem to have the lions share of problems. Lots of fires have been blamed on misuse of CFL bulbs, like using them in recessed lighting, pot lights, dimmers or in track lighting. Mine was installed in a normal light socket.

I bought these at Wal-Mart. I will be removing all the Globe bulbs from my house."

"i really want to do my part for the environment but we just had a "bright effects" 3-way bulb pop, burn out and start smoking. when we removed the bulb the base was really hot btw!!!! then my husband was looking it over and it leaked a brown fluid on him!!! he washed it off immediately, but what was the brown fluid??? we had it in a regular lamp next to our chairs in the living room. the light is on for at least 7-8 hours/night. we bought it on january 14th and it is febuary 16th!!!! i'm not going with this particular type of "green" light bulb and i'm getting rid of the few we were trying out. i'll have to check into the led's i guess"

- tara February 16, 2011

"After about 2 years in service -- we thought we had an electrical fire in our bedroom -- perhaps in the walls? We were about ready to call the fire department (no joke) -- had cel phone in-hand! Fortunately, after about an hour after the nasty smell started to clear and we could stay in the room, we found the culprit -- a "Bright Effects" 13W CFL, LBP13T5, UL #E170906, which was installed in a ceiling fan (no dimmer). The map had discolored at the base and at one of the tubes which leave the base to form the spiral. Now, a week later, the bulb still smells nasty!
What if we had not been home? How bad would the fire have been?
- Rick January 30, 2011

A video where a man shows and tells how a CFL bulb caught fire in his bathroom and did serious fire damage:

CFL's can explode and cause fires:

So what is the real cost of all this environmental foolishness and totalitarian regulations that have reached into people's own homes?
Under current law, we will all soon be forced to buy crappy "energy-efficient" lighting. I think we can expect to see a lot more house fires in the near future.
Old September 1st, 2013 #2
Leonard Rouse
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Every other city lot would have charred wreckage if these bulbs were a clear & present danger to life and property, so commonly used are they now. Your first quoted article is from 5 years ago.

It does seem like that guy had a suit, though. I'd never read or heard that they shouldn't be attached to dimmer switches.
Old September 1st, 2013 #3
Leonard Rouse
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The 'living white' part of these bulbs is how much money they save you over time. 13W vs 60W adds up to a lot of cheddar.
Old September 1st, 2013 #4
Anders Hoveland
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Anders Hoveland

Originally Posted by Leonard Rouse View Post
I'd never read or heard that they shouldn't be attached to dimmer switches.
They are not supposed to be used in enclosed or recessed fixtures either, since they can overheat, especially the higher wattage ones. The electronics inside the base can get pretty hot, and once the plastic starts smoldering you have a problem. They also burn out very quickly if used in conjunction with ceiling fans, either because of the constant vibration or the power fluctuations caused by the motor. Most of them are not dimmable, this can cause them to flicker and not last long. They do make dimmable versions that are more expensive, but these do not dim perfectly either.

Another thing few people are aware of, it is not recommended to use regular bare spiral CFLs under lampshades right next to where people will be sitting, since CFLs leak out fairly high levels of UV radiation. They recommend you buy a double enveloped CFL, with the inside spiral tube covered by an outer plastic bulb to help absorb the UV. Using a CFL behind a glass cover also greatly helps cut down on the UV radiation. Individuals with lighter colored skin tend to be more sensitive.
Old September 14th, 2013 #5
Anders Hoveland
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The USA government has already made law that is diabolically designed to be gradually phased into effect years after it was already passed. It was a little efficiency provision burried deep within the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which few politicians seemed to notice.

Big business interests have manipulated the environmentalists into supporting their scheme. Now, regular incandescent light bulbs are already becoming illegal in countries throughout the world: the USA, Canada, Australia, the European Union, the UK, Chile, and likely soon to be Mexico and China now.

By banning regular incandescent bulbs, the light bulb companies are forcing everyone to buy their more expensive alternatives.

The legislation was actually drafted by the big corporate lighting manufactures themselves, no doubt to increase profits under the guise of "environmental efficiency". They lobbied governments around the world to ban the regular light bulb.

• In 2007, Phillips Holding USA Inc. Spent At Least $418,446 Lobbying The Department Of Energy On H.R. 6.
(Senate Office Of Public Records, Lobbying Disclosure Form, 8/01/07; Senate Office Of Public Records, Lobbying Disclosure Form, 2/14/08 )
• Philips Spent An Additional $160,000 Lobbying Congress On H.R. 6 Through Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP.
(Senate Office Of Public Records, Lobbying Disclosure Form, 8/8/07)
• In 2007, General Electric spent more money lobbying Congress than it paid in taxes that year

The use of efficiency mandates to snuff out the standard light bulb was an exercise of unadulterated crony capitalism. It came about after big bulb manufacturers, frustrated by their customers’ refusal to switch from cheap throwaway incandescents to the far more profitable compact fluorescents touted by greens, decided to play hardball.

“So some years ago,’’ The New York Times Magazine noted last month, “Philips [Electronics] formed a coalition with environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, to push for higher standards. ‘We felt that we needed to . . . show that the best-known lighting technology, the incandescent light bulb, is at the end of its lifetime,’ says Harry Verhaar, the company’s head of strategic sustainability initiatives.’’

Other corporations joined the plot, lobbying Congress to croak a product Americans overwhelmingly like and compel them to buy the more expensive substitute the industry was eager to sell them. The entire scheme, a lobbyist for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association testified candidly in 2007, was “at the industry’s initiative.’’ Unable to convince consumers to voluntarily abandon Edison’s light bulb, Big Business got the government to force the issue.

The Unholy Alliance between Philips and the Greens

An unholy alliance (discovered by Elsevier journalist Syp Wynia) between a large multinational company and a multinational environmental organization succeeded in their lobby to phase out, and ultimately by 2012 forbid, the sale of incandescent bulbs – not only in the Netherlands but in the whole of the European Union. The multinational company wanted to develop a new market for products with a high profit margin, and the environmental multinational wanted to impress the citizens of Europe with the imminent catastrophe caused by anthropogenic climate change. That would also be of benefit to its battered public image.

Philips started lobbying to phase out the very product on which its original success is based. They started this campaign ten years ago. Their line of thought is clear: banning incandescent bulbs creates an interesting market for new kinds of home lighting, such as “energy savers” (CFL’s, compact fluorescent lamps) and LED’s (light emitting diodes). The mark-up on these new products is substantially higher than that on old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. (A 70-Watt equivalent LED bulb, for example, costs 55 dollars each, while a 60-Watt equivalent costs 25 dollars. Of course, many other companies are selling cheaper LED products, claiming a "60 Watt equivalents", when in reality their bulbs put out much less light.)

Energy savers (CFL’s) were introduced on the market in 1980, but they never succeeded in gaining wide acceptance from consumers. Despite their reduced power consumption, most consumers found their light too "harsh" and unnatural to light their homes. On top of that they were slow starters, annoyingly taking a few seconds just to come on while flickering, and then taking several minutes to reach full brightness.

Multiple government campaigns, aimed at promoting the idea that energy savers contribute to the well-intentioned goal of reducing the energy consumption of households, failed to convince citizens.

The spectre of catastrophic climate change offered a new opportunity for the strategists and marketing specialists at Philips headquarters. They changed their marketing concept and jumped on the Global Warming band wagon. From that moment on, energy-saving bulbs could be put on the market as icons of responsibility toward climate change. This would give Philips a head start in the CFL end LED business. The competition would be left far behind by aggressive use of European patent law.

In 2006, Dutch legislators caved in under the combined lobbying pressure by Philips and Greenpeace. A parliamentary majority in The Hague embraced the idea of banning incandescent bulbs and ordered the Dutch Environment Minister, Jacqueline Cramer, to lobby for an extension of the ban to all states in the European Union.

As I am sure many of you are well aware, the state of California is in a hopeless fiscal death spiral. Most blame fat pensions for state workers and runaway entitlements for illegal aliens, but wait there's more!
According to the Wall Street Journal, California is also burning money they don't have on Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs:

"No state has done more to promote compact fluorescent lamps than California. On Jan. 1, the state began phasing out sales of incandescent bulbs, one year ahead of the rest of the nation. A federal law that takes effect in January 2012 requires a 28% improvement in lighting efficiency for conventional bulbs in standard wattages. Compact fluorescent lamps are the logical substitute for traditional incandescent light bulbs, which won't be available in stores after 2014."

Despite the fact they are swimming in red ink, left wing legislators in Sacramento still managed to find money to subsidize the forced adoption of these ugly light bulbs. The California Public Utilities Commission has handed hundreds of millions of dollars in state funds over to the electric company to drive down the real cost of Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs:

"...the commission last month gave the utilities $68 million of rewards, on top of $143.7 million of incentive pay previously awarded. PG&E pocketed $104 million total."

And back to Obama's Chinese dinner, guess who benefits from the government's force feeding of Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs?

"California utilities have used ratepayer funds to subsidize sales of more than 100 million of the bulbs since 2006, most of them made in China. It is part of a comprehensive state effort to use energy-efficiency techniques as a substitute for power production. Subsidized bulbs cost an average of $1.30 in California versus $4 for bulbs not carrying utility subsidies."

So there you have it, hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money wasted to force us to use a product we hate.

those CFL bulbs may actually be more expensive than you think. In many places the utility companies are subsidizing them, having gotten permission from state regulators to raise electric rates to fund their subsidy program. So if you see a spiral bulb in the store for $1, it may actually cost $4. You are still paying for it through higher electric rates from your utility company, you just don't realize it. It costs them another $0.50 for each bulb for the recycling program, since CFLs contain a small amount of mercury and are supposed to be properly recycled and processed to prevent that mercury from ending up in a landfill.


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