Jan. 03, 2013

I May Have Found My Bulb!

by Ira Flatow

Click to enlarge images
Years ago, I wrote one of my first blogs about how badly most compact fluorescent light bulbs are made. They burn out in about a year, literally, with dark brown burn spots visible on the base. I asked folks to comment on their efforts to find the best CFL, perhaps one that was made in America. Perhaps ones that lasted longer. Not a whole lot of luck.
Fast forward. I'm still searching for the best bulb, and I may have found it. Philips has been manufacturing a new LED bulb that won the LPrize for greatest efficiency, awarded $10 million by the US Department of Energy. 
It's a bit pricey, and may actually be cheaper to buy in stores, with local discounts, rather than online. And guess what? According to the Department of Energy, they are made in the USA.
Having just installed my first off-the-shelf LED, I'm still a newbie at LEDs. For example, I was pleasantly surprised how much blinding light just 15 watts produces. I was also unpleasantly surprised to see how hot the bases of these bulbs get, so hot that they are designed with finned heat sinks for cooling. (Is this a phantom waste of energy?)  
But you can be sure that I'll be testing out this new Philips LPrize bulb, and more as they come along, and keep you in the loop.
Fingers crossed...


About Ira Flatow

Ira is the host and executive producer of Science Friday.

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