Will You Miss Those Squiggly CFL Bulbs? I Won’t!
General Electric says it’s phasing out those annoying CFL bulbs within a year.
I never did like them. Compact fluorescent lamps, better known as CFLs, are those twisted little bulbs that heat gas instead of filament to provide light.
I’m certainly not alone. The Consumerist reported customer complaints ranged from providing lighting that was “too harsh” to a lack of compatibility with dimmer switches to the delay in warming up.
Seriously, the “warm-up” issue was the deal breaker for me: when the four little vanity-mirror style CFL bulbs in my bathroom began dying, they were replaced with LEDs.
The appeal of the CFL was that it gave off the same amount of visible light as the old incandescent bulbs for as little as one-fifth the electricity. Then there was the claim — I never found it to be true — that they could last up to fifteen times longer than those familiar bulbs everyone grew up with. The CFLs seemed about fifteen times more expensive than the old incandescent bulbs, too, however, so I certainly didn’t see much savings there.
The company announced it plans to stop producing CFLs this year. The biggest surprise to me was that the bulbs were introduced in the mid-1980s. That still qualifies as making them “millennials,” of course, but I thought they were much younger. GE does point out that Oprah made them take off when she advocated their use back in 2007.
I didn’t watch Oprah, but 2007 seemed much closer to the year I would have guessed they were introduced.
GE says it will focus on LED lighting, which has taken off by comparison, particularly in light (see what I did there?) of a drop in prices:
Today, a 60-watt-equivalent LED bulb sells at Sam’s Club for $3.33 — a price point that helped LED sales grow 250 percent last year.
That’s still a lot higher than what an incandescent bulb sold for, but much less than the typical CFL would cost. And don’t even get me started on the mercury issue: I had a collection of burned-out CFLs individually wrapped in Ziploc baggies waiting for a trip to the landfill so that they could be placed not in the landfill itself but in a special disposal center that would safely destroy the bulbs without causing a Hazmat situation.
Sorry, little CFLs. It was a nice try. But I won’t miss you one bit.