Like most people in the US, I’ve transitioned nearly all of the lighting in my apartment from incandescent to CFL over the last few years. I’ve never been really happy with the CFL bulbs though. The ceiling fixtures in my living room, dining room, and bedroom are all on dimmer switches, and of course the CFLs don’t dim. And, while I haven’t really tracked this, I’m pretty sure I’m not getting as much life out of these bulbs as they advertise. Here’s an article that seems to back up that observation. And here’s one from IEEE with some interesting data.
Last week, the fixture in my bedroom started buzzing. (There’s always a little buzzing with CFLs, but this was noticeable and distracting.) So last night, I messed around with it a bit, trying different bulbs, checking to see if everything was screwed in right, and there weren’t any loose wires or anything. No luck. I couldn’t get rid of the buzzing. I thought about calling the landlord on Monday, and having them look at the fixture and/or switch, but I haven’t really had much luck with the landlord fixing stuff that isn’t completely broken. They tend to just make things worse. (I could probably write a few funny blog posts about my landlord’s maintenance guys, but I’ll resist the temptation for now.)
So instead, I decided to go out to Home Depot today and buy a couple of LED bulbs. I picked up two Cree bulbs for $10 each. That’s pretty expensive for a light bulb, but if they really last for ten years, then I don’t mind the price. There’s a good bit of stuff on Treehugger about LED bulbs. I haven’t read it all, but in general, it sounds like the current generation of LEDs should be at least a little better than CFLs, and the next generation of LED bulbs could be a lot better.
The ones I bought did indeed solve the buzzing problem. They work fine, and don’t buzz at all when on full. And they do work with the dimmer, unlike the CFLs, though they buzz a little when dimmed.
I’m writing this post partly as a marker, so if the LED bulbs in my bedroom die, then I can refer back to this post to see when I bought them. If the marketing claims on the box hold up, then I shouldn’t have to change them until 2024. By which time, hopefully, I won’t still be in this apartment!