A Pamphlet from Don Stuart, Preserve Our Nation, LLC
Pamphlet #17 - 5/2/2009

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Who Turned Off the Lights?

Edison's incandescent light bulb has been outlawed by Congress!

Only a few small companies are currently still making incandescent light bulbs. Congress has designated the CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) as the replacement light bulb for incandescent bulbs.

The CFLs are made mostly in China. China is making them for the U.S. market, but is not using them for themselves. China is installing LED (Light Emitting Diodes). So why is the US behind?

Some education is required.

Incandescent Bulbs
  • 65 watt bulb = 650 lumens amount of light
  • voltage = 120 VAC
  • Power Factor = approximately 1.0 pf
  • Life = 1,000 to 3,000 hours (then fails)

Compact Fluorescent Lamps
  • 15 watt bulb = 650 lumens amount of light
  • Voltage = 120 VAC
  • Power Factor = approximately 0.45 to 0.65 pf
  • Uses 75% less power than incandescent bulb
  • Life = 4,000 to 6,000 hours (then fails)

Light Emitting Diodes
  • LED diodes = 650 lumens amount of light
  • Voltage = 24 VDC (24 VDC power supply from 120 VAC)
  • Power Factor > 0.95 pf
  • Uses 95% less power than incandescent bulb
  • Life = 50,000 hours (then efficient drops to 70%)

The electric industry deals with something called the power factor (pf). The ultimate pf is 1.0. This is the most efficient transfer of electricity. But the device you hook into the electric grid (wall plug) determines the power factor. The lower the power factor of the device, the more power it takes to run the device at designed levels.

If a low power factor device is used, will you see a rise in your electric bill? Not directly.

As more people use CFLs over the next two years, the electric company should have to produce less power. But because of the CFL's power factor (pf=.5), the electric company will have to double the amount of power for each CFL, thus making the real efficiency approximately 38% instead of 75%. The grid will have to carry more current to make up for the small power factor and cables may have to be increased in size. This is the cost that will be passed onto your electric bill. Since the CFL is using less power this may not be too bad for the consumer. It's an offset in some cases, but in some systems, power delivery may have to be increased.

Large manufacturing plants typically have a low power factor. The electric company will charge higher rates when these plants power factor falls below 0.95. Most plants add expensive equipment to keep the power factor at 1.0. As consumers move to CFLs, cities may see their overall power factor falling below 0.95. The electric company may penalize the cities with higher rates or the cities may have to add equipment to keep the overall power factor at 1.0. The cost will be passed on to the consumer.

China is going to LEDs, not CFLs. This means fewer power plants have to be built in China and larger current carrying cables will not be needed.

I have recently replaced the recessed lights in my home with LEDs (all 74 of them). The cost was a little expensive, but I'm using 95% less power at a power factor of 1.0 and the life of the LEDs is 50,000 hours. They will be working long after I'm gone. On average they should last 30 plus years.

Our Government at Work!

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