Red Echo

January 21, 2007

I felt like working on a project today, but couldn’t get into sewing, so I decided to replace the light fixtures in my kitchen and bedroom. The kitchen light, especially, has been annoying me since I moved in; it’s just a bare 100-watt bulb mounted in a scabby old painted-over base. It’s too bright when you’re sitting at the table, but not bright enough when you’re trying to cook.

Home Depot had a nice simple fixture with a couple of swivelling sockets, so I bought a pair. I also picked up a half-dozen compact fluorescent bulbs. I’ve been complaining about compact fluorescents for years, but while I was in Morocco, where they’re just about the only kind of light anyone uses, started to feel like it was time to stop griping about the future and just get used to it. I’m happy to report that the technology has improved significantly over the last five years, and there’s not much of an adjustment to make: these bulbs come on instantly and produce a nice clean white light, with none of the unpleasant greenish tint the older type had.

It’s not a huge energy savings, but it’s something. The 100-watt incandescent bulb in the kitchen is now a pair of 19-watt fluorescents, which actually put out more light than the old bulb did, and the swivel fixture means I can point most of the light toward the work area and away from the table. In my closet/bedroom, another pair of 19-watt bulbs have replaced the old 60-watt bulb, and again they’re pointed where the light will be useful. For good measure, I also swapped out the 60-watt hallway light with another 19-watt fluorescent. I don’t have a good way to measure overall power usage, but none of my lights consume more than 25 watts now.