I have an annual (bi-annual) ritual. The Changing Of The Bulbs. Near the equinoxes I swap light bulb type in some lights. It is also a good time to shake the stray bug body out of the glass globes and to wipe / wash off any accumulate dust and grime that would dim the light. A significant amount of light can be lost to a dirty fixture or bulb.
It is also a time when I look for “marginal bulbs” in hard to reach places. So a CFL with dark ends to the glass gets placed in easy to reach fixtures as it is “on the way out”. Sometimes I also “play with the lighting” in the process. Using that 4 to 5 minute CFL warm up to full brightness to effect in some places (where I do NOT want a blinding flash of light at switch on) and using incandescent instant-on in others (like security lights and the fridge). The Green Fascists have tried to prevent such fine tuning of energy vs benefit via a ban on incandescent bulbs. That resulted in my having a ‘lifetime supply’ of cheap incandescent bulbs in a corner of my office… One does not wish to have a mercury source in the fridge where a stray ketchup bottle can set free the mercury, and you buy a new fridge… One does wish security lights to be ‘instant on’ and not “Please wait, dear crook, for just 3 or 4 minutes more while my dim bulb warms up”.
All my incandescents are on dimmers. Both for the wonderfully liquid soft lighting options, and as that extends the bulb life greatly. Depending on degree of dimming, it can be decades. (If run about 1/2 brightness and fairly yellow, but also inefficient.)
For me, the Kitchen has always been… problematic. Some many years (decade+?) years back the Green Fascists got a building code into California (and likely more) places to demand fluorescent lighting in the kitchen. In the process mandating that “green eggs and ham” be the reality for all rather than just a kids book; as the CRI Color Rendering Index of the typical tube fluorescent fixture used is, um, ‘not good’… Lucky for me, I have an old house with an old glass bowl and bulb in the ceiling.
Over the years, that fixture has had many kinds of bulb in it. I tried a ‘circle line conversion’ adapter. A screw in thing that has a round / flat fat cylindrical shade on it. It was OK, but a bit on the dim side and while sometimes the “slow start” was a feature (in the early mornings for me, getting ready for work), often it was not. Typically it got a 100 W IC bulb most of the time. As the years have passed, that’s moved up to a 150 W bulb. The added brightness tightens the pupil and the eyes focus better with the pin-hole camera ;-)
Trying CFLs has been a bit dismal and all the LEDs shout at you not to put them in an enclosed fixture. As I like my spherical glass bowl, they are a non-starter. Especially after 10 minutes of use in it… CFLs have been a similar challenge. They, too, are placarded “not for enclosed fixtures” (which is all of my built in ones…) Anything small enough to cool is too dim, especially in the first 5 minutes. Anything bright enough has a very short life. After several years of looking, I’ve finally found a CFL that is bright enough, yet does not overheat. I also put on a newer, larger, glass bowl so there is more surface area to radiate. Not enough more for prior bulbs, but this one is doing OK (so far).
The Sylvania I tried died inside hours. This one has been going for about 1/2 year now, and doesn’t show overheat signs (dark plastic, hot to the touch, smell when running for a while, etc.) I’m generally pleased with it. It is a 2050 lumen class bulb, so even has enough to be ‘bright enough’ on early morning or late night runs to the kitchen during the first minutes of dim… Earthmate “superbright” 30 Watt bulb from Lowe’s. Says it replaces a 125 W bulb, but I think a 150 is more like it. Good CRI too. It is now the “standard kitchen bulb”.
OK, now it’s winter. I’m pondering bulbs. In winter, the “waste heat” of an IC bulb just warms the house up. Being in California, this isn’t a big deal. Heck, we usually have a couple of windows open an inch or two all the time unless it is darned hot or darned cold outside, just for the gentle ‘turn over’ of the household air. Still, it is noticeable. Our heater is a gas fired unit with a blower that circulates to the whole house. It isn’t as quiet as I’d like. But it works. Flame bar about 2 feet wide and 2.5 fee long. LOTS of fire. LOTS of CO2. LOTS of heat. So when it comes on, we get noise, and a flush of heat, then it circulates just a bit and shuts off. This tends to mix the floor layer of cold air in with the heat, but not as much as I’d like. There is a significant stratification from floor to ceiling.
So my feet are cold.
Having fewer “whooshes” and some hot spots at table lamp level makes it a bit quieter and better mixed.
In winter, as most times, I only put on shoes and socks when I go outside (and not always then, even in winter). It’s not like I can’t put up with cold feet. I’ve gone barefoot in the snow and not had much of an issue with it. Heck, my Celtic ancestors ran around Europe buck naked. Clothes are an interesting invention, but clothes and shoes are much over rated.
Still, my feet are cold.
So last night I decided (after much pondering while doing dishes and other mindless tasks) that I would go ahead and have the “Changing Of The Bulbs”. That I had enough ICs in storage that I could afford that luxury. That while I had matched many bulbs to their places well enough that they need not participate in The Ceremony, there were still one or two.
The general “bulb plan” is to have a background CFL or LED bulb in every room. That way “standby” and “background” light levels are the most efficient and least costly. A lamp at the end of the hallway, for example, has a CFL bulb (finally found one!) with the ‘regular bulb shape’. The shade “clips onto” the bulb, so it was get a bulb shape or no lamp… That one does not change. It gets turned on, and left on, for most of the day. Warm up lag is not relevant.
The “entry light” to the bedroom is on a dimmer. This is so that I can sneak in at night without waking the spouse (who sleeps early) and she can sneak out without waking me (who sleeps late) and we both can come and go in the middle of the night with only dim lighting. (First put in when infant children required frequent mid-night tending, now used for, um, other potty breaks…) Yet it can be turned on “full bright” for times like cleaning the room, or trying to find that dark sock on a dark carpet under the dark bed. Or just for reading “mice type” sized print. That bulb is a “dimmable Halogen” at the moment. Sometimes it has been a regular IC bulb. I’ve tried various “dimmable” CFLs. Not one of them is adequate. The LED, we saw, worked, as long as we didn’t mind being awake all the time…
So the LED bulb has gone where all things disappointing go. The Garage. I have 5 light fixtures (not counting the 2 workbench lights of long tube fluorescents over the two workbenches I’ve not seen in coons-years due to the “stuff” now “stored” there. One is my loading bench. Still working off inventory “put up” 15 years back. Though reaching an end. I don’t shoot much now, it seems.) So the others get the Unsatisfying Bulbs. Also the “Yard Light String”. I have 5 more screw in fixtures around the back of the house over the yard. So 10 total “whatever” places to put disappointments. Things that make Franken-Eggs Slime Green and Orange Ham. Things that flicker on startup (not seen since my early days with CFLs. I was using them before they were trendy. Back when you had to build your own with PL screw in converters and magnetic ballasts. I’m NOT anti-CFL, I am pro-choice and pro-optimizing.) Between those 10 fixtures and my “propensity to investigate”, I’ve not bought a bulb FOR the garage or yard in decades. The rejects just go there to live out their lives in solitude…
In the house, there are, now, 3 bulbs on dimmers that are IC bulbs and one that is an LED (most of the time). Bed, Bath, Entry hall, and Office. I figure that in the office I can use all the “Stay Awake!” blue 540 nm light I can get! ;-) The bath is a similar small glass bowl that cooks CFLs, though that didn’t stop me trying. As it needs less total brightness, I could just barely get some that didn’t cook and were bright enough. The spouse and daughter were never satisfied with the CRI as they do make-up. I was never satisfied with the “5 minutes of dim then too bright”. Not dim enough for dead of night “visits”, and too bright by far if the “visit” was not over quick. Not bright enough for “emergency surgery” (on injured pets, or sometimes on me to remove various plant parts from plants wishing to express their displeasure at my “help”… cactus in particular is very unappreciative.) And no CFL on a dimmer works worth a damn.
First, it requires a ‘special’ dimmer. There goes $20. (I have 3 now…) Second, they never go Really Really dim. If you do that, the CFL overheats and burns up. (I have 2 or 3 of them, now, in my “toxic waste disposal needed” bin). There is NO guideline for where the right minimum set point is located. You learn it by trial and error and error and error and Damn-it-just-put-it-bright. Then, when you turn it on dim, it slowly brightens over then next 5 to 10 minutes. (Ever try to leave the ‘pot’ to adjust the light while not leaving the ‘pot’?…) Then, when they are stable and not-quite-dim-enough, they hum. When sitting quietly in the dusky light contemplating things, having a bumble bee humming next to you is, er, distracting.
So the “dimmable CFL” is a “polite lie”. Something that can be done, but only inside so many caveats as to be useless. Thus my stash of IC and Halogen bulbs.
I’d thought LED bulbs would get me past that, but they don’t. Far less hum. Full dimming range. But the color does a reset on your “awake time” clock, so not the thing you want in the dead of night on a potty run… Nor in the evening when sliding off to bed.
That means those bulbs no longer are part of The Bulb Changing Ceremony. In fact, between the places where I have a CFL that works, and where I’ve just decided it MUST be an IC until really non-blue LEDs come out, I’m really down to just 3 or 4 bulbs total. A lamp in the living room was one of the last ones. I’ve put ICs on a dimmer in it, though, so not this year. The kitchen was now a pretty darned good CFL, so I was pondering not doing it. Maybe just leaving things “as they are” this year.
But I had bought an inventory of the very nice high power Halogen bulb that I’d thought was the only thing that would work in the kitchen (prior to finding that CFL), and I’m not sure what lifespan I’ll get from the CFL… So the optimal decision is to swap. Extend the life of the CFL, do a “use over my lifetime” of the 150 W halogen in the funny narrow bulb shape. (BT like a cylinder with a bulge in the middle).
Last night I did the swap.
It’s brighter than the CFL. ALMOST too bright on late night trips to the kitchen. I’d taken out the dimmer when the CFLs were going in, so it no longer has the “soft start” feature. But it is great CRI and lets me see clearly when cooking and cleaning. Important points in a kitchen. I’m still not sure it’s the best choice without the dimmer, but wanted to find out if “Halogen sans dimmer” is better, or not, than the “CFL that’s about right”. Besides, it was Bulb Changing Season and old habits die hard.
This morning was The Test. Would a morning run to make coffee be Just To Damn Bright? Turns out it wasn’t. A tiny bit bright, but OK I guess. ( I’d rather have a 125 watt to 150 W IC bulb at 2000 lumens, but don’t have many and can’t get more. This more efficient halogen bulb is 2450 lumens, so about 400 lumens more than optimal. Good enough, though. )
So there I was in the kitchen, under my 150 W bright and hot Halogen bulb, making coffee in my bare feet. I reached up and could feel the heat from the glass globe. It’s a nice little heater. The warm air spreading out over the kitchen ceiling. No doubt radiating IR into the rest of the room. As I sipped my hot coffee, feeling all warm and comfy from the knees up. I wondered:
Why are my feet cold?
Here I am, inside a box that’s 8 FEET tall. Less than 3 meters. I’ve got a hot IR source over head. Not 20,000+ feet up at the tropopause. Just Right UP THERE! It’s nice and hot, I’ve put my hand up there. I can feel the IR hitting my hand. (One side warmer than the other). There’s plenty of CO2 in the place. It’s winter, so the windows tend to closed. We’ve got 4 people in a small place (about 1000 sq. ft.) making CO2. Sometimes I even use my kerosene lantern or cook over an alcohol stove. CO2 inside is usually far higher than CO2 outside. IFF CO2 is such a great absorber and re-emmitter of IR, so good that even just a 2 W difference between 20,000 feet up and the ground can “warm the ground”, then what about that 150 W difference between just above my head and 8 feet lower?
Why are my feet cold?
The warmer air spreads out over the entire ceiling. There’s an entire layer of warmer CO2 all over the house. When the heater kicks on, it sucks air from the floor level, heats it, and spreads it back through the house. One of the ‘defects’ IMHO is that it does this from ceiling registers. That puts the ‘hot layer’ up near the top. Now it runs long enough to circulate the whole house volume, so it’s OK for a little while. Then things stratify again. There is a cold layer that’s about a foot deep down on my feet. It can be 10 F colder than the middle of the room (depending on heater status. Sometimes we leave it off). Top of the room can be even warmer (by feel – I don’t have a thermometer up there). What is very clear is that there is strong stratification due to convection.
In short, my feet are cold because CO2, even at very enhanced levels, even with 100 W scale differential inputs, is unable to move heat from ceiling to floor. Convection kills it.
If my feet are cold, how can CO2 warm the planet surface via IR?