Friday, August 29, 2008

Systematically Replacing Light Bulbs with CFLs - Monthly Goals

Lately I have been writing about compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and systematically going through my home and replacing my old incandescent bulbs with CFLs. I have decided to make it a goal to replace a few bulbs each month and track how it effects my electric bill. The bulbs are a little pricey - especially since almost all my fixtures have some sort of wacky bulb (candelabra, flood, etc.) so this isn't the kind of thing I can tackle all at once, but my goal is going to be to do a few each month and track its effectiveness.

So this month I went out and purchased several CFLs at Home Depot. Not realizing at the time how few "standard" light bulbs I had, I just bought a 4 pack. While I have managed to find homes for them all, it hasn't been easy. I replaced bulbs in two fixtures in my "library", one in my living room and one in the kitchen. These are all lights that use a regular incandescent bulb. For the time being I am collecting all my incandescents (rather than making craft projects out of them) and I am looking for opportunities to donate them. My friend Kate suggested that I see if the Home Improvement Services (the nonprofit where I take classes on home repair) could use them. I'm going to look into it!

So, yesterday I got my electric bill and guess what? There was a difference!

...but to be honest, I don't think it had anything to do with the CFLs.

July's bill was $47.22, August's bill was $42.81

However, I think it is just a fluke. For one thing, the lamps that I replaced bulbs in are not used that frequently, certainly not enough to make a difference. For another, I replaced the bulbs in the middle of the month, again, not really enough time to make a $4.41 difference. I suspect the decrease in usage was from more mundane things - spending time up north instead of at home, for example.

Still, I think it is going to be really fun tracking this. Each month I will try to give an update as to where I am with bulbs - and with bills.

One article I found fascinating on this subject was written by Financial Ramblings: Should I Replace My Light Bulbs with Compact Florescent Light (CFL) Bulbs Today, or Wait Until They Burn Out? The author of Passive Family Income and I had a similar discussion about this very same thing in the comments of one of my posts. It's tricky because it goes against my fugal nature to throw out perfectly good light bulbs - even if the savings make sense. That's why I am hoping I can find a place to donate them!

A Little Light Reading:

Comparing CFL Light Bulbs to Incadescent Light Bulbs

The Problem with Installing CFLs in My Home Fixtures

Renting Out the Garage - and More on CFLs

How to Spot a Psychopath has this monster CFL - Further Freudian Illumination

EDIT: Here's how my bill is doing after 4 months of slowly switching to CFLs: Electric Bills Even Lower, Thanks to CFLs

Post photo and Lightbulb Greenhouse from Instructables - Light Bulb "Green" House


Sean said...

You are a go-getter replacing the wacky bulbs. I'm leaving them alone for now. Same for regular bulbs that are hardly ever used. Hopefully the "80/20 rule" bulbs will hold off inflation for a few more years and save some coal.

biggest benefit = less time on ladders! :-)

Dawn said...

I would love to do that - unfortunately ALL the most used bulbs are wacky. The former owners of this house were fond of track lighting and can flood lighting, oh and dimmers - everything is on a dimmer.

Budgets are Sexy. said...

i just wanted to say that i think it's absolutely awesome you're blogging about all of this! just came across your site through a comment you left on "give me back my five dollars", and read through your profile.

Keep it up!! you can do it :)

Dawn said...

BAS - Thanks so much! I appreciate you stopping by and saying hello!