Archive for the ‘Save Electricity’ Category

The 10 Year Light Bulb Conspiracy?

iqbulbAbout 12 years ago I noticed some light bulbs on clearance at a Menards home store. As I recall, they sold for about 50 cents each and were called IQ light bulbs, made by Philips.  They were advertised as a bulb that would shut off automatically after 30 minutes. Furthermore, you could override this feature by turning the light on and off quickly. So I bought some. Wow, they really worked! No longer could my kids leave lights on in out of the way places.

Boy did they work. I still have two bulbs from over 10 years ago that work!  The photo on the left is one such bulb in a utility closet. I also have a working IQ bulb in a basement bathroom.

So why did they discontinue this bulb? When I tried to get more bulbs at the Menards they told me that the bulbs they sold were no longer manufactured. They told me they got a whole train car at a discount price and then sold them at dirt cheap prices – the fellow at the store said they normally would have sold for about $5. In fact they were even giving them to store card owners as a promotion I was told.

So it appears Philips wanted to unload this item they discontinued. And fairly quickly. Why? If you try to find information on this product at the current Philips website, you won’t. And if you try searching Google for this information on this product, you won’t find but one old forum page! It is as if the product never existed!

A light bulb that lasts 10 years and saves me gobs of money on electricity is certainly not a bad product to me the consumer. So it is very tempting to conclude that this bulb was just too good. I suppose it is possible that the original price was so high that people were not buying it, but I would think in today’s climate of incandescent = bad, bad, bad that people would be willing to pay $10 or even $20 for such a bulb that lasts and lasts. I know I would.

The one result I did find on this product was from a 2004 Philips forum. I found an official response of

The Philips IQ Lighting was discontinued and there is no replacement. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Then, several more people exclaimed

I love mine and have been looking all over. Bought it 13 years ago and it’s going strong.

The auto off bulbs are great. I have some on my front porch, utility room and bathroom that must be nearly 8-10 years old.

And then, another post by the Philips person:

The IQ lighting Auto OFF were discontinued and there is no replacement. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Sound like corporate talking points to you?  The additional sad news about all this is that you can not find a similar product made by another company – I have looked high and low! Apparently, the patent rights prevent a similar product from hitting the market.

And just in case they delete this forum or the posts, I made a few screen shots below.

iqbulb1

iqbulb2

If anyone from Philips wishes to clarify what happened here, please do.

Stimulus Plan Equals Energy Rebates

Save 30% on Energy ImprovementsAccording to this Washington Post Article, homeowners who add energy-efficient appliances like heating systems, AC systems, or windows can get a tax credit for 30 percent of the costs, up to a total of $1,500.

Are LED Bulbs The Greatest Lighting?

LED FlashlightLED bulbs are the latest energy saving innovation in lighting. My most recently acquired LED lighting device was an LED flashlight (shown left) containing 14 mini bulbs from a Menards home store. On my birthday, Menards sent me a card with a certificate for a free LED flashlight, so I thought I would take them up on their offer. I was pleasantly surprised in that this tiny flashlight provides an incredible amount of illumination with its 14 bulbs – I almost could strap two of these to the front of my car if my headlights ever gave out! I liked this flashlight so much I bought 3 more for Christmas gifts at about $6 each. (I guess that was their plan!)

LED bulbs also make great decorative lighting, consuming far less electricity than conventional lighting. At the Energy Savings Blog, they document that LED Christmas tree lights use $0.56 in electricity compared to $6.03 in electricity with mini incandescent lights, and a whopping $25.13 for Grandma’s 4 watt old-fashioned lights! And the brilliant bright light of an LED might make it a very attractive choice for holiday lighting.

With respect to room lighting, LED’s may still be in development since they tend to emit a very intense blinding direct light. Still, they have many uses in specific lighting situations. For example, softer versions, as seen at crane.com, may work well for bedside lamps or hallway lights. Also, some of the larger LED bulbs in a frosted design, as seen at x-tremegeek.com, would work well in a floor lamp or desk lamp application. The prices can be a bit high, but often they are rated to last 10+ years.

Review of First Alert Motion Sensing Light Socket

This energy saving light socket, made by First Alert, will turn off your light automatically after 4 minutes if no motion is sensed. Also, it will turn on your light when motion is detected and keep it on as long as motion is detected. Installation is simple: Unscrew your current bulb, screw in this socket, and then screw in your bulb into this socket! We use this in our basement by our freezer where I had a light that would go on at the same time as my office light. The alternative to going this route would have been to wire in a new switch, but we had 3 switches already and I did not want a 4th, nor did I want more wiring. This device works great, but the price is a bit steep – $23! Another drawback is that it will not work with low-wattage bulbs such as a 14-watt florescent bulb but requires at least 25 watts. For the time being, I have to use a 60-watt bulb until I obtain a 25 watt florescent. Note that if you use a 14-watt, the light will flicker. From some reviews I have read of the First Alert Motion Sensing Light Socket at Amazon.com, this socket will flicker with any compact florescent bulb. (That would not be good!) I will test this out myself and provide an update.

First Alert Motion Sensing Light Socket The energy saved is calculated as follows: With my old 14 watt florescent bulb, 140 watt-hours per day were used, assuming 10 hours of "on" time. Now, about 10 watt-hours are used for a (future) 25 watt bulb that will go on about 5 or 6 times for 4 minutes. So about 130 watt-hours are saved per day, or 0.130 kw-hrs per day. Using a rate of about $0.10 per kw-hr, this amounts to $0.013 per day, or about $5 per year in electricity alone. Add the savings of perhaps $2 per year in bulb replacement costs, and the annual savings in my application is $7/year, resulting in a payback period of about 4 years. Not the big savings I hoped for, but a step in the right direction!