Turns out CFL stands for Compact Fluorescent Lamp and not Light (which doesn’t make sense to me since a light bulb isn’t exactly a lamp by itself).
Anyway, my mom alerted me a week or 2 ago that SCE (Southern California Edison Company) was subsidizing CLFs at Costco with instant discount/rebate. I recall seeing something similar, but PSE (Puget Sound Energy) is the one subsidizing them up here in Washington. The reason she called was not because that they were subsidizing the CFLs, but because Costco now carried bulb shaped CFLs (instead of the typical twirly tube ones). She suggested that I replace the bathroom bulbs with these, which made sense since each of my bathroom has 6 to 8 regular light bulbs above the mirror, which obviously wastes a lot of electricity when turned on.
So while I was at Costco today getting my tires rotated, I decided to take a look. Indeed they now carried bulb shaped (or as the box called it: globe shaped) G25 CFLs. A 4-pack of them was $10.39 – $6 (instant rebate) coming out to $4.39 or $1.10 per bulb. They even featured a picture on the box showing the fashion light bulbs above a mirror. At 40W, these light bulbs were a bit weak, but oh well. There wasn’t a limit, so I picked up 6 boxes of these since I had to replace 22 of these bulbs.
Next to them they also had the 65W R30 Reflector CFLs. My house has a bunch of these and these were also being subsidized: 6 pack for $17.89 – $12 (instant rebate) coming out to $5.89 or $0.98/CFL. This was the only type in the bunch that had a limit of 6 per membership. I picked up 2.
When I got home, I started replacing all the bulbs and things went pretty smooth. It got a bit tricky to unscrew bulbs in little to no light (one thing about light bulbs is that you can’t unscrew them when they’re on or you’ll burn off your hand), however I survived.
When testing these bulb, I noticed they were still the twirly tube fluorescent bulbs inside, but they just had a globe/bulb shell to make them look nicer. One thing I notice pretty much immediately about these CFLs was that there was a warm-up period. They start off dim, but reach pretty much full brightness in about 30 seconds. I’m not sure if it has to do with the shell, or maybe it’s this particular manufacturer (Feit Electric Conserv-Energy), but I’ve never had a problem like this with my existing CFLs (Philips Marathon – also purchased at Costco). A bit annoying at first, but maybe I’ll get use to it. Worse case, I’ll return them to Costco.
I hit into a bit of snag with my kitchen lights as it was on one of those adjustable/dimmer controls and even on max, it started flickering like crazy after a few minutes. If I sat there and held the knob at max, the flickering would stop, but once I let go, the flickering came back quickly. I unmounted the light switch and tried holding the 2 wires together and the flickering went away. Obviously it’s the dimmer causing the problem here. Luckily Lowe’s closed at 10pm on Saturdays and I went to electrical department armed with a $10 off $25 coupon.
I found the regular light switches and apparently there are regular, 3-way, and 4-way light switches. I understand a 3-way light switch allows you to control a set of lights at 2 opposite ends (typically top/bottom of the stairs), but what the heck is a 4-way light switch?
As a tangent, I had a problem awhile back where I discussed with Xyon because I had 2 flight of stairs, the bottom being the garage, the middle being the front door, and the top being the living room, and I would like to be able to control all the lights along the way with 1 switch located at each of those points. Currently it’s split as 2 separate 3-way switch circuits, each controlling lighting for one flight of stairs. Doing some searching on what a 4-way light switch after I got back, it appears to fit my scenario exactly! I’m not going to go too much into details now, but with 4 way switches, you can have as many switches to control the same set of lights as you want! To find out more about it, see: Wiring a 4-Way Switch and 3 Way Switch & 4 Way Switch.
Now back to the original story. I picked up a standard light switch and was about to head out to the checkout counters, when I noticed the decorator switches (the big rectangular ones). I thought neat! These were cheaper and I prefer them as light switches over the regular flip ones. So I went with the decorator light switch instead. As I was about to enter the freeway, I thought wait… the current switch panel has 2 small holes, big enough to fit only the regular light switches. Sigh… I needed a new switch panel. I turn around and head back to Lowe’s and purchased a switch panel that had one small hole and one big hole. Total still came out cheaper purchasing the decorator switch + new switch panel.
Once I got home, I installed the new switch and panel and things worked! Yay! Unfortunately I didn’t take a better look at the color of the original set of knobs/panel before I left and since my walls were egg shell colored (light yellowish), I went with the light beige decorator light switch and the light beige switch panel. Now there’s this white knob that stands out in front of it. If you’re wondering why there’s still a knob, that’s because there’s 2 switches on this panel, one for the kitchen lights, the other for the dining room which still uses light bulbs.
Why light bulbs for the dining room? There are still 3 places in the house which still uses regular incandescent light bulbs:
- The chandelier above the dining table (which is the reason why I left the dimmer for that switch)
- The ceiling lamp in my living room which is like 2 stories high (I thought about attempting to use my telescoping ladder, but decided against it)
- The ceiling lamp in my storage room/basement which uses these very tiny light bulbs
All in all, I’m happy with CFL upgrade for my entire house. Now I have a bunch of spare incandescent bulbs.