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Our enlightened age

Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2011, at 11:32 AM

I needed to replace a light fixture. The old fluorescent tube light, faithful for lo these many years, had broken. It had lighted my kitchen for over 25 years, faithfully.

My son suggested I look at some LED fixtures. After all, the LED bulbs are the latest on the market. At least last time I checked.

A store fixture man at Lowe's led me to the LED fixtures on display in his store.

I screamed when I saw the prices.

Then he showed me where the LED replacement bulbs were located.

One large bulb cost $15 on sale, originally $25.

I decided, quickly, that I would leave the LED fixture on the display wall.

I selected another cheaper fixture and bought four small corkscrew bulbs to light it since bulbs weren't included. The package of four cost $8.

Have you counted the light bulbs in your house?

I did this morning and was surprised to count 41 asundry bulbs.

Now that sounds like a lot, but it really isn't. If you go around your house, room by room, you will be surprised to see how many light bulbs you have. Those ceiling fan lights alone usually hold from three to five bulbs.

I counted all the bulbs in my house, including seven recessed lights in the kitchen and dining room. But not counting the nightlights, the curio cabinet light or refrigerator bulb.

Hold on a minute. I forgot the four fluorescent bulbs in the basement. That brings the total to 45.

That adds up to a lot of electricity when they are all burning. But at any given time, there are three or four burned out.

Last year I started buying those new corkscrew (curlycue) bulbs to replace some of the old general purpose incandescent bulbs.

The newer bulbs, much pricier, are replacing the old standard bulbs which I've heard won't be on the market much longer.

It is advertised that the corkscrew bulbs will last from nine to 12 years and are cost efficient.

So I bought some. One of the corkscrew bulbs burned out in three months. Another broke in my son's hand as he was replacing a burned out bulb for me.

My thinking is that those pricier bulbs should be more durable than that. Nevertheless I now have three of those bulbs in my living room lamps.

And I can verify right now that if you want to be able to see, buy the bright light not the warm light. There's a big difference.

While writing this column, my thoughts went back to my childhood days when I lived in the house with my mom and dad and two brothers and a sister.

After trying to get us to turn off the lights when we left a room, my dad tried another tactic.

He told me that every time I flipped a light switch it cost him ten cents.

After that I felt guilty anytime I switched on a light. And I tried to be more conservative with his money. I didn't want to be the one to send him to the poorhouse.

Our house in those days was lighted with incandescent bulbs. All these fancier bulbs had not been invented. Thomas Edison would have been surprised at how far his electric light invention has evolved since 1879.

We are an enlightened people.

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From these hills
By Peggy Johnson
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