Let’s talk about light bulbs a little. For the last several years I’ve been surreptitiously replacing our incandescent bulbs with the most cost-effective compact fluorescents I could find, somewhat to my wife’s dismay, I think. Now our nightlights are LEDs and our basement bulbs are mostly CFLs. So far, so good. I haven’t had any problems with any of them.
The first compact fluorescent I ever saw was more than 30 years ago, in the home of the parents of an old friend of mine. We had gone to Philadelphia for a wedding (I had flown out, he had driven) and we all drove back together, stopping overnight in Cleveland to visit his parents.
His dad was an engineer who designed lightbulbs for GE and their entire house was lit with compact fluorescents. The light they produced was beautiful and warm. Their Christmas tree was covered with figural bulbs from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. I think he repaired them himself.
There was one observation of his that I thought I’d share with you. There’s no reason that a lightbulb, particularly a compact fluorescent lightbulb, can’t last for thirty years. It all depends on how they’re made. The issue is production.
One more point. I know that the explanation for the reason that CFLs are nearly all made in China is lower labor costs. I have yet to see that quantified and, frankly, I’m skeptical. I think that environmental and compliance costs are far more likely explanations.