For the most part my introduction of CFLs into my house has gone smoothly.  But at times installing those new energy-efficient bulbs in our home has had a “CFLs in Wonderland” feel to it, with things getting curiouser and curiouser.  Yes, there have been some “Aha!” moments of discovery, but there have also been developments that I don’t quite understand:

  • The previous owners of our home really had a thing for dimmer light fixtures and installed them all over the place – unfortunate since many of the new bulbs come with caveats against using them with same.  And despite my best efforts to move the right bulbs into the right places, there’s still a lot of buzzing when I turn on some switches, as well as some new bulbs that simply gave out.
  • A number of bulbs flicker enough to give some rooms a dazed, old black-and-white newsreel touch.  Funny how, amidst regularly rising in the middle of the night anyway to tend to our youngest, I didn’t really notice this at first.
  • Many do, but many of the efficient bulbs that we’d previously bought turn out to not have the “Energy Star” mark on them.  Home Depot carries some bulbs that do and some that don’t.  IKEA’s store brand is lacking.
  • Also when back at Home Depot a few days ago to buy some last CFLs to complete the job, I even took another plunge and bought an electric lawn mower.  We’ll see how this parallel experiment bears out, but the first indications are basically good.  OK, manipulating the cord will take some getting used to, but what a revelation while mowing to actually breathe in the sweet smell of cut grass rather than gas fumes, as well as hear everything around you and be able to converse with passersby!  And what a pleasant surprise to push something far lighter that can be turned on with the flick of a switch rather than a hernia-inducing yank!
  • We also were finally able to have high-speed installed at home a few days ago, which – depending on how you look at it – means our computer is either going to be on a bit more or a bit less.
  • Lastly, I never should have touched the light on our garage door opener.  The bulb there used to turn off automatically about two minutes after we’d either opened the door or closed it, but the CFL replacement mysteriously never turned off ever.  Feeling like the beleaguered Papa in those old Berenstain Bear books while futilely tinkering with the thing, I had to eventually confess over dinner to not having the foggiest idea why this was so, much less why a new bulb that never turns off would use less total juice than an old one that was barely ever turned on.  Early one morning I finally took that beloved (it could have been another adjective) CFL out and left the opener without a light altogether.  We’ll just have to manage without that unnecessary luxury.  (Now there’s a true environmental credo!)      

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