Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Put a CFL Bulb in Your Refrigerator: DUH!

Don't get me started on the planned obsolescence of appliances! The only upside of this intentionally wasteful design/production system is that the newer appliances are more efficient. Our pathetic refrigerator stopped freezing again, so NewRefridgeTime had arrived. A quick survey of EnergyStar refrigerators which fit the space yielded one choice. It arrived yesterday.
To my amazement, there were 3 incandescent bulbs inside it! Incandescents take about 4 times the energy as CFL's, and also last about 1/7 as long. I don't often burn out refrigerator bulbs, but still, why waste all that electricity, if you've gone to the trouble of buying Energy Star? And why would ES allow incandescent bulbs to begin with, especially given that incandescents throw off more HEAT and the point of a refridge is cooling? The new CFL I installed has a teensy delay, but it's quite tolerable.
Then there were the two rear bulbs, illuminating the produce bins. Why the hell are they even there? When I opened the refridge it looked eerily like a UFO, all lit up, about to take off. My conclusion about those: pointless. I just took them out.
Net gain, switching 3 incandescent energy-guzzlers for one CFL miser will surely be very energy negative, planet positive.


Traciatim said...

Keep in mind that CFLs don't work well in the cold, they emit less light. Also, in places with high on-off cycles, and especially repeated ones, they will not last anywhere near the advertised life span. Also, since they contain mercury if your light doesn't work in an enclosure in the fridge what happens when you bump something up against it and snap it, you would have to throw out all your food. Oh right, you shouldn't put CFLs in enclosures because it will reduce their life as well.

LED lighting would be a much better solution for a fridge.

Anonymous said...

I gave this a try and the bulb burned out in less than a month. While it could be the bulb was bad from the start (Bright Effects 7W), it would get quite expensive to keep testing the hypothesis if the results continue.

Anonymous said...

Wondered in from the intranets. Also, with CFL's in the fridge, the electronics will acquire condensation causing the bulb to fail way prematurely. I'm a big fan of CFL's heck! since the early 1980's! but I have to say, the way to go with a fridge is an old fashioned bulb, as ancient as that technology is.

You don't keep the bulb on for 12 or more minutes? so why worry about heat.

Rick121x said...

I put 13 watt CFL bulbs in my refrig and freezer Frigidaire by Side by Side. The light level was fine, and I was pretty happy. Then the "frig" side light stopped working - it was the switch that failed.

The CFL bulbs put a heavier load when switching on and off, and burned out the switch.

Soooooo, the electricity cost savings for the first couple of years are used up already. But I will continue to use them, instead of the rediculously priced refrig bulbs. I just like the idea... but a lower watt rating may be better.