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Save the environment by making your bathroom look like the toilets in Doom 3

It should have been easy. Bulb burns out in the bathroom. Decide to do the right thing and put an energy saver in there instead of a cheap incandescent job. Buy energy saver. Put energy saver in bathroom. Earn the undying gratitude of polar bears. Easy!

Not easy. I bought a soft glow bulb labelled “60W equivalent” in Tesco for about a million jillion pounds,  I slapped it into the light fitting, and I switched it on. It made my bathroom look like something you’d expect dead bodies to be sawed up in. Bright doesn’t begin to describe it – it’s a vicious, bluey light that makes any room look like a pathology lab, or the toilets in Doom 3. Have you seen the film Sunshine? Remember the bit where the bloke opens up the blinds to let all the light in, and it all goes burny and scary and horrible? Or have you seen any film showing what happens when they drop an atom bomb on your shed? Turning on my bathroom light was pretty much like that. I’m scared to look in the mirror in case I’ve lost all my skin.

Maybe there are a few digits missing from the packaging and I’ve installed a 6000W bulb by mistake, or maybe it’s that energy saving bulbs are unnecessarily complicated and confusing. My money’s on the latter.

To be fair, energy saving bulbs are labelled so you know what you’re getting. Just compare the milliwatt figures and the number of lumens. If, like me, you neither know what millwatts and lumens mean in this context and can’t be arsed finding out, the labelling might as well tell you the bulb’s favourite pasta or the name of the manufacturer’s mother-in-law.

For what it’s worth, Philips Softone energy savers seem to do the job; everything else turns your house into a scene from Doom 3. It may be something to do with milliwatts and lumens, or it may be that Philips’ employees have superior taste in pasta.

11 replies on “Save the environment by making your bathroom look like the toilets in Doom 3”

Hmmm. Light fitting in bathroom takes those little round bulbs that burn out in 10 seconds. Replaced them with energy savers from Ikea, the only place I’ve seen energy savers in that configuration. Seem to do a reasonable job of impersonating the warm glow of a hot filament. Maybe Philips make the bulbs for Ikea too?

I’ve got a CFL in my bedroom that is so bright when you turn it on that you can see precisely bugger all. It switches on with less brightness than a birthday candle. It takes about 10 minutes to warm up.

I’m with David – most energy savers I’ve experienced leave rooms looking well murky, although that might be my high ceilings’ fault. I’ve stopped buying the 12W “60W replacements” and starting using the 20W bulbs for everything.

I’m off down Tescos for some pathologist specials.

Did you ever see the episode of Still Game when Jack and Victor were fixing the light outside their flat? This post has reminded me of that.

I nearly wet myself laughing at that.

Decent low-energy bulbs are currently 69p at Robert Dyas (and presumably other stores). They start out at about 75% capacity and ‘warm up’ to full brightness in about ten seconds. Get a 40w one and it’ll have a nice ambient glow. I use one in my bedside lamp.

By which I mean: shop around.

I like them, The only room in my house that doesn’t use them is the living room, The other half had to buy some over the top light fitting that was a pain in the arse to install. Anyway, you can sometimes get them for free by contacting your energy supplier and ask about how to reduce your electricity consumption, I’ve had about 5 sets of bulbs from Scottish Power over the years. You can also get Halogen Bulb replacements form B&Q, they are a bit pricey but do save cash in the long term.

My bedroom CFL is the most expensive one in the house. It starts at about 10% and warms up in about 5 minutes. It was a Philips one, if I remember correctly. All the other CFLs are fine and most are very cheap IKEA ones. Mind you, I’ve got a little IKEA spotlighty one that occasionally makes a buzzing noise, which is annoying.

I broke one the other day. Not nice.

@stephen:
Maybe Philips make the bulbs for Ikea too?

Maybe, yeah.

I’ve definitely found big differences in the colour cast by different energy saving bulbs. Best way I can describe it is by comparing it to the white point setting on a monitor – the ones with a warm, yellowish light are great, but the bog standard ones I’ve bought in the past tend to have the bluer, starker light. Which sucks.

@clmac:
You can also get Halogen Bulb replacements form B&Q, they are a bit pricey but do save cash in the long term.

Do you still need to replace the transformer to use them, or are they straight replacements? I looked into it last year and the only ones I could see (Led ones) required a new transformer, which cost silly money.

“Do you still need to replace the transformer to use them, or are they straight replacements? I looked into it last year and the only ones I could see (Led ones) required a new transformer, which cost silly money”

Direct Replacement for GU10 fittings, from MEAGMAN @ B&Q, they do take a while to warm up, about 5 min, and are expensive £6.95 each when I bougth them 6 months ago, but the have payed for themselves allready. you can also get a dimmable version but they are pricey.

URL : http://www.megaman.cc/global/products/esl.php?s=4

It’s not the power, it’s the color. Only go for yellow ones and it’ll be ok. Its actually gotten to the point where the color is better then the incandescent bulbs, but you still have to read the package. Don’t worry, we all learned the same way.

The general rule is you get what you pay for, buy a cheap energy saver and the light will not be as good and will take a while to get to its brightest output, but spend a bit of money and the new CFL’s are instant on with a full range of colour and brightness

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