…to change a light bulb?


The light went out in the kitchen. That doesn’t happen very often these days. Modern bulbs last a lot longer than the old ones, especially with the dodgy wiring here at Southfork.

I went to look for another bulb. Modern bulbs are more expensive than the old ones, so we don’t carry a very large supply in the disaster recovery cupboard. They also give less illumination, so I was careful to find one that came close to the magical 100 watt figure that I regard as the minimum for comfortable reading in these middle aged days (I often read the newspaper at the kitchen table).

I found a bulb which offered 1350 lm of a “warm white” light (no, no idea either…). The packaging told me it would last 8 years – which will see me well into ‘official’ middle age.

Then I read the small print (by holding the packet at arm’s length). Eight years is apparently 8000 hours of illumination. That is less than three hours a day. I estimate that the kitchen light is on for at least four hours a day on average across a whole year. So in fact it might only last six years, or even less if the days are as dull as today.

I continued reading and discovered the true limiting factor on the life of my bulb… It can be switched on and off 5,000 times. The kitchen light is switched on and off at least three times every day, often more. On this basis I will be lucky if it lasts as long as five years. It may struggle to make four years. It is hardly worth putting the stepladder back in the shed.

I have written the installation date on the base of the bulb, together with my estimated renewal date. I’ll let you know what happens.

8 Responses to “…to change a light bulb?”

  1. 1 Sarah

    I thought my other half was the only person that wrote installation dates on bulbs!

  2. 3 Simon

    Dont leave us hanging…
    Is it bright enough to be able to read the paper?

  3. I understand the need to reduce our energy consumption, but I don’t understand why brighter low-energy bulbs aren’t available, why no 150W equivalent?

  4. 7 Graham

    Alex, Drew
    You can get 150w low energy bulbs, but they cost over £60 and would probably why not many stores will keep them in stock.

    • yers, that does explain things a bit. Though it also introduces the whole supply-demand, chicken-and-egg question.

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