Posted by: Timothy Ellis (The Tim)

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

34 responses to “Poll: Most of the lights in my house are…”

  1. Peter Witting

    Full spectrum incandescent for the win!

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  2. whatsmyname

    LED; but that will change at the end of the holidays.

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  3. redmondjp

    I’ve tried dipping my toe into the LED pool – I have only two bulbs in the entire house that are now LED, with the balance being CFL and incandescent (dependent upon application). Based upon the blatant lies printed on CFL packages regarding their life, the lifetimes of LED bulbs strain credulity even more. The LED die itself might last that many hours, but I can garandamtee you that the electronics that drive the LED will not. If you believe otherwise, try keeping your current phone for the next ten years and see how that works out for you.

    For reading and table lamps, I still have a hard time with anything other than incandescent.

    And you can’t even buy 100W incandescents any longer – I’m using three of them in clamp lights as we speak to keep my water line from freezing.

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  4. Astro Kermit

    LEDs are the way of the future, incandescents are on their way out. Lighting quality and costs will only improve with LEDs. BTW if you plan to use a dimmer with LED bulbs make sure you get switches that support them.

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  5. Jillayne Schlicke

    …are left on by my teenager. Can someone please invent a lightbulb that turns itself off after the teenager leaves a room? Please and thank you.

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  6. Kary L. Krismer

    I’ve converted most of my can lights to LED with these, and am using a few others that are surface mounted to a box. Very good light color and spread, and they are dimmable (which they really need to be, but you need dimmers designed for LED). Also, on the dimmers you need to account for the surge of the LED. Most dimmers cannot handle more than maybe 4 or 5 of those lights.

    http://www.amazon.com/Lighting-Science-Glimpse-Retrofit-White/dp/B005ZV9HOO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386605226&sr=8-1&keywords=glimpse+led

    For outside, this lights up the golf course, which is pretty incredible for only 24 watts.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004C523VS/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I have a variety of LEDs in the lamps I actually use, some good, some bad. None are as good as the Glimpse units above.

    I have some fluorescent or CFL left, but the only incandescent are two can lights in the master closet, which are on a motion detector, so not on that much. Not worth $100 to change them out to the Glimpse units.

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  7. Kary L. Krismer

    By Jillayne Schlicke @ 5:

    …are left on by my teenager. Can someone please invent a lightbulb that turns itself off after the teenager leaves a room? Please and thank you.

    We have the walk-in closet on a motion detector. That might not work too well in a bedroom depending on whether the device would pick up someone turning over in a bed.

    That detector will sometimes pick up my fattest cat if she goes into the closet with enough speed.

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  8. mmmarvel

    In Texas there still doesn’t seem to be a problem obtaining and using the incandescent, and I just flat love the spectrum of light compared to the CFL. I like the life span of the CFL, just not crazy about the light spectrum. LED are still too expensive for me to even think about.

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  9. Christian

    I’m introducing LED’s to my house in phases. I’ve got a couple light fixtures very high up in a stairway and when one light went out I replaced them all with LED’s so I don’t have to get up on the tall ladder again.

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  10. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: The Tim @ 10 – I’m not sure whether or not that site is a joke. Check this out:

    http://www.heatball.de/en/thesen.php

    I do seem to remember that there is a choice between efficient light and efficient heat with electrical resistence, but I don’t know how much of a difference that is.

    For the use of Redmondjp though, wouldn’t heat tape be more efficient, particularly if it were inside insulation (assuming that the manufacturer allows that)?

    http://www.frostking.com/automatic-electric-heat-cable-kits/

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  11. ARDELL

    RE: redmondjp @ 3

    “And you can’t even buy 100W incandescents any longer…”

    I have been hoarding high wattage incandescents for listing homes. Most people have the CFLs and they don’t work well for selling houses, especially in the master bedroom closet. How long is someone going to stand there waiting for the bulb to get bright enough to see the inside of the closet? I change them out before listing the home. I may have to buy up all of the old incandescents everyone is taking out and throwing away.

    Pretty soon we’ll be seeing 100w incandescents on ebay and real estate agents will be the ones buying them up.

    I had to take an in store lighting “course” from one of the salesmen at home depot to avoid the 3 bulbs in one light fixture in a bathroom being three different shades of color. I have one now where the glass fixture is a warm amber but the center one now looks blue! …and those CFLs (I call them squirrely bulbs) sticking out and being visible can ruin the look of a beautiful light fixture.

    Easy enough to buy 3 bulbs that are the same “hue”, but when you are replacing 1 of 3 in someone else’s house…not so easy to know the exact “hue” of the two that did not burn out. I have a whole section in my staging stock devoted purely to light bulbs…most of which are discontinued items.

    Hey Kary…got a batch of incandescents you pulled out that you want to sell? Anything over 60 watt…I’m willing to pay a premium price for.

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  12. Astro Kermit

    LOL hoarding incandescents?

    The research coming from Philips is mind blowing (recently visited Amsterdam). Consumers already has an early glimpse with their Hue as well as the lighting on board the Dreamliner.

    The term “full-spectrum” is really inappropriate in the context of light bulbs. It’s a marketing term. But the point is natural light and LEDs will outdo incandescents and cost reduce dramatically within 2 years.

    Naysayers said the same thing with tube tvs and their brightness vs flat screens and hoarded them while the rest of the world is enjoying flat screen displays. Now they are cheap and everywhere.

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  13. Ira Sacharoff

    “Hey Kary…got a batch of incandescents you pulled out that you want to sell? Anything over 60 watt…I’m willing to pay a premium price for. ”
    It’s like heroin. When you got to have your fix of incandescents, you’re willing to buy them from just about anybody, even real estate agents.

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  14. redmondjp

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 11 – Yes, Kary, I have two never-used sections of heat tape hanging over my water line (and they have a very thick coat of dust on them from hanging there for years). I’ve been lazy about that item – I just leave the clamp lights in place and run an extension cord to them for the week or two each winter of sub-freezing weather. The aluminum reflectors on the clamp lights focus the heat but also keep the bulb far enough away from the wood studs to cause any risk of fire.

    One of the prior owners wrapped some kind of thick, tar-based insulation on portions of the pipes and I need to completely strip that off in order to properly install the heat tape. My incandescents are pointing at uninsulated sections of the pipe.

    I talked to my friend in The Dalles last night – he neglected to get the auxiliary electric heating working on his heat pump (until working on it over this past weekend) so his house is only in the 50s inside, and he discovered that a cold water line run along an exterior wall had frozen and was leaking late last night. No shutoff on that portion of the system, so his entire house is w/o water at the moment. His renter actually went and stayed at a hotel last night!

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  15. redmondjp

    RE: ARDELL @ 12 – I’ve done exactly what you have when helping to sell a friend’s house about ten years ago. I replaced just about every bulb in the entire house with ones that were 20-30W brighter, including the candelabra-type bulbs in the entryway and dining room fixtures (25W to 40W, 40W to 60W, etc). The difference is significant and IMHO overlooked by many. And if you are listing a home during the dreary fall – spring time period, it’s even more important.

    The long warmup time for CFL bulbs is one of their major drawbacks. I’ve actually gone from CFL back to incandescent in some places in my own house just to avoid this (mainly in fixtures that only get turned on for a few minutes such as the hallway). The LED lights of course do not have this issue.

    And I can neither confirm nor deny any rumors of hoarding bulbs ;)

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  16. ARDELL

    The problem with LED lights is the light is “focused” and I just sold a place that had LED lights everywhere…but still…with 8 to 12 of the small ones in a room…it still wasn’t as bright IN the room as one 100W incandescent because the light is focused straight down vs up and out.

    So here’s my question…if you need a dozen LED lights to not even get as bright as one incandescent…where’s the savings if you need 4 to 10 x the number of bulbs to get the same amount of light? It’s not a one bulb for one bulb trade out in my experience.

    And appearance does matter. Who wants to see a squirrely shaped bulb sticking out of the top of a $240 light fixture? Even if it isn’t sticking out of the top, often you can see it through the fixture and it is just plain old ugly.

    Does no one care about aesthetics? In my biz…brighter and aesthetics can create a $10,000 increase in the offer. What’s the break even on the energy savings of a $10,000 price difference? Plus I’ve been selling the houses in 4 to 7 days so how much more energy am I using for a week to 30 days. I do usually leave them in for the appraiser.

    I do wonder about the ethics of switching them back out before the house closes. Technically everything should stay the same as when the buyer made the offer. If I didn’t have to hoard the incandescents for my next listing I would not be switching them back out.

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  17. Erik

    RE: ARDELL @ 17
    I didn’t know that brighter was better at that time. I just got tired of replacing my light bulbs, so i got LEDs. I didn’t want to have one go out when a buyer came, so I took care of the situation with LEDs.

    To me, brighter looks cheaper and not cozy. Like when I go to Walmart… there are lots of bright bulbs and everything is cheap. Bright bulbs make me NOT want to hunker down and hibernate. Bright bulbs make me want to find a log I can dig a den under so that I can rest. A nice room with medium light that can be dimmed is somewhere i’d like to rest my head.

    I will get nasty incandescent bulbs that I can dim next time until i sell.

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  18. Erik

    RE: ARDELL @ 17
    You are really good at selling though, so I have to believe you are onto something here. 4 to 7 days to sell is crazy in my opinion. It supports that you really know what you are doing and you know how to attract offers. Bright houses selling for more is just not intuitive to me.

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  19. ARDELL

    RE: Erik @ 19

    They don’t call them “man caves” for nothing. Men’s view of lighting is quite different than women’s…and a woman bought it. :)

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  20. Erik

    RE: ARDELL @ 20
    Hahaha. You are right. Good point.

    I put the stuff I liked in it. I expected my fellow males to like it. Turned out primarily women bid on it. Maybe my feminine side comes out in my design and fashion? I am currently wearing v-neck…

    SWE- You will like LEDs when you finally see one.

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  21. softwarengineer

    Incadescents to Read By

    Flourescents flicker and can cause eye strain. Use them in non-reading/studying areas only.

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  22. Kary L. Krismer

    By ARDELL @ 17:

    The problem with LED lights is the light is “focused” and I just sold a place that had LED lights everywhere…but still…with 8 to 12 of the small ones in a room…it still wasn’t as bright IN the room as one 100W incandescent because the light is focused straight down vs up and out.

    That’s why I like those Glimpse LED units. They spread the light out very well–better than the original can unit in many cases and they are very bright. I have to keep them dimmed.

    If you just put an LED light in a can it will be too “spot” and not enough “flood.”

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  23. Peter Witting

    RE: Astro Kermit @ 13 – Call me old school, but along with incandescent lighting, I prefer tube audio gear. Something things just cannot be improved upon.

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  24. mike

    By Christian @ 9:

    I’m introducing LED’s to my house in phases. I’ve got a couple light fixtures very high up in a stairway and when one light went out I replaced them all with LED’s so I don’t have to get up on the tall ladder again.

    This is the path I’m going down as well. I still have a ton of CFL’s laying around, but I’m not buying any new ones and I’m making a point of buying different types of LED’s to see what works best for the location.

    LED’s require a bit more planning in their use. I’ve swapped a few bulbs in and realized the fixture wasn’t right for the bulb. The good part of this trial and error is I’ll be buying new fixtures that work better with LED’s going forward.

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  25. redmondjp

    RE: ARDELL @ 17 – Your ‘LED bulbs are focused’ comment is exactly the reason that I returned most of my LED bulbs to the store – the fixtures I have them in now are recessed type where it’s OK that most of the light comes out the end of the bulb. I tried them in my bathroom mirror fixtures (which use spherical globe type bulbs) and I had these bright white spots on the back wall of the bathroom, and hardly any light going down onto the counter/sinks. It was not at all pleasant!

    I stayed in a hotel last week down in CA and every bulb in the room was LED – it was a type of bulb that I have never seen before that more closely mimics the light distribution of a standard incandescent bulb – there were three curved sections containing LEDs. They weren’t bad as far as light goes (they were all inside shades as is typical in a hotel room), but I wouldn’t know where to buy them (and they are probably relatively expensive as well).

    And here in Seattle where our furnaces run 9 months out of the year, the ‘waste’ heat from incandescent bulbs is appreciated so it is NOT inefficient to use them! If you replace them with CFL or LED bulbs, that lost heat will have to be made up for from another source in your house – just like these newfangled ‘heat pump’ water heaters that the utility is pushing now – if you install one of those inside a heated space in your house – congratulations, you have just installed an indoor air cooler or reverse refrigerator!

    One final light-related tip for those affected with SAD: use full-spectrum fluorescent or incandescent bulbs wherever possible inside your hose (most CFLs and LEDs are NOT full-spectrum, like incandescent lights and the sun are). They are getting harder to find in the store, but read the fine print on the fluorescent tube carton – you want a CRI (color rendering index) of at least 90 (100 is perfect – incandescent or actual sunshine). Most of these tubes will have names like “sunshine” or “chroma 50″ or something like that.

    And you don’t have to pay boku bucks for a light therapy box either (and those LED ones on the informercials are junk) – just use a fluorescent fixture available at a home improvement store with the full-spectrum tubes in it and you have accomplished the same thing for far less money. I’ve been wanting to install 3-4 single-tube fixtures in my bedroom and have them sequenced on timers so they come on one after the other, about 5-10 minutes apart, to simulate the sunshine. It sucks getting up in the dark, and then coming home after work in the dark. I have the house loaded up with Christmas lights just to brighten my day a bit when I get home!

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  26. Azucar

    I answered CFL, but I prefer LED… LED are the future – they are getting better and cheaper all the time.

    It is true that incandescents do add heat that and, when you need heat, reduce the amount of heat that needs to come from elsewhere (a furnace or heater or whatever)… however, even though they are on less in the summer time (because days are longer) you have to consider that they are also adding heat when you don’t want it and where you don’t want it (in the ceiling mostly, much of which just goes up into the attic) even at the times you do want it. I’d rather be able to control the lights and the heat independently/separately.

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  27. UrbanDweller

    RE: redmondjp @ 26 – I enjoyed this post. Thank you!

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  28. David B.

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 23 – I was going to recommend motion detector switches, too. Good point about bedrooms, though. But in a house full of forgetful teenagers such switches might be a good idea in the common areas.

    So far as lights goes, I use mostly CFs. You can sometimes find them at subsidized prices for 99 cents each. I replaced all the incandescents in the apartment I live in with 99¢ CFs when I moved in. Saved the incandescents for move-out time (I’m not giving the landlord a free gift).

    Landlord then surprised me by announcing a wholesale replacement of incandescents with CFs, so I now have a dozen or two lightly-used CFs which will probably hold me for the next decade or more.

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  29. David B.

    RE: ARDELL @ 20 – Hah! When I was a kid my mom was always annoying me by turning on more lights, saying “it’s too dark in here for you to be reading”. She got me a special lamp that could not take bulbs smaller than 150 watts. It made my eyes hurt and gave me headaches. I modified it so it could take standard 60 watt bulbs.

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  30. Jonness

    By Peter Witting @ 24:

    RE: Astro Kermit @ 13 – Call me old school, but along with incandescent lighting, I prefer tube audio gear. Something things just cannot be improved upon.

    Right on. :)

    Here’s an easy project for you if you haven’t already spent the big bucks. I slapped one of these together in a weekend. I’m still waiting on the capsule though. They are extremely slow to ship.

    http://groupdiy.com/index.php?topic=51377.0

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  31. ARDELL

    Met with a stager this morning and she too is hoarding incandescents. Dont throw your incandescents away when converting to CFL or LED. Apparently there is a growing “black market” for them. :)

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  32. Charlie Rogers

    By Jillayne Schlicke @ 5:

    …are left on by my teenager. Can someone please invent a lightbulb that turns itself off after the teenager leaves a room? Please and thank you.

    It’s already been invented. It’s called a vacancy sensor. Unlike an occupancy sensor (the most common kind of motion sensor most people are familiar with), which turns on when it senses motion and turns off when it no longer senses motion, a vacancy sensor only turns on when you hit the switch and then it turns off when it no longer senses motion. So if you sneak into your kid’s room to check on him/her or if he/she turns over in bed it doesn’t trigger the lights on. More info from Lutron, a high quality sensor manufacturer:

    http://www.lutron.com/en-US/Products/Pages/Sensors/Occupancy-Vacancy/MaestroOccVacSensors/overview.aspx

    As with any product, there is a wide range of quality and performance. LEDs are no different. Can you imagine someone buying a cheaply made car that crapped out on them and then that person writing off all car technology? You get what you pay for. Don’t go to the big box discount stores and buy a box of 32 LEDs for cheap expecting them to work well. CREE is an excellent brand and can go toe-to-toe with incandescent bulbs. The only way they fall short is with dimming. Even if you install a LED compatible dimmer, the LED will not get “warmer” in color as the light level lowers. Instead, they get greenish blue. So they’ll work great for most applications but probably not for where you want ambiance lighting.

    Seattle City Light subsidizes some CREE and other quality brand LED’s at retail locations and brings the cost down to $25 to $10 for high quality bulbs. For example:

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/EcoSmart-6-in-9-5-Watt-65W-Soft-White-2700K-Dimmable-LED-Downlight-ECO-575L/202240932#

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Cree-65W-Equivalent-Soft-White-2700K-BR30-Dimmable-LED-Flood-Light-Bulb-BBR30-06527FLF-12DE26-1U100/204366182#

    Philips is also doing a good job:

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Philips-60W-Equivalent-Soft-White-2700K-A19-Dimmable-LED-Light-Bulb-E-424382/203553310#

    And for all you incandescent hoarders out there I say: hogwash! Here is my comment posted at another web-site on this issue:

    “The [federal] legislation cited does not actually ban the incandescent light as the author states in their first couple sentences. This is a common misunderstanding, and this myth has been widely perpetuated by right wing commentators to fan the flames of anti-government sentiment.

    In Subtitle B, Section 321 (a) (cc) of the Energy and Security Independence Act of 2007 instead creates new energy efficiency standards for incandescent bulbs. The 100 watt bulb has to produce the same amount of light but use only 72 watts by 2012; 75 watt produce only 53 watts by 2013; 60 watt produce only 43 watts by 2014.”

    For example:

    https://www.sylvania.com/en-us/products/featured-products/Pages/halogen-supersaver.aspx

    The industry refers to these internally as halogen infrared light bulbs, but there is no common language used to market to consumers. You’ll know it when you see it because on the packaging it will say something like: “60 watt equivalent but only uses 42 watts”.

    The way they work is really clever. Inside the glass bulb there is an even smaller glass bulb that fits around the filament. That smaller glass bulb has a thin metallic coating that reflects infrared heat given off by the filament back at the filament so that it requires less electricity to burn hot and bright. That’s how they make them 30% more efficient.

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  33. ChrisM

    RE: David B. @ 29 – ” I now have a dozen or two lightly-used CFs which will probably hold me for the next decade or more.”

    I can exchange up to 6 CFLs per year for free from my electric company, and I find that the lifetime is between 1-2 years. These are bulbs that stay mostly on (to avoid on/off shock) but get turned off when we sleep.

    The life expectancy advertised for CFLs are nothing more than lies.

    This killed my interest in LEDs since the payout time requires that the lights function for several years.

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