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A Bright Idea

On a recent trip to Costco, we picked up a 6-pack of CFL light bulbs. A great idea, I thought, since I want to live a little greener. And a bulb recently burned out in our foyer.

As you may or may not know, I spent a lot of time designing our foyer. I knew I wanted an orangey paint color, and after much deliberation, Danny and I settled on one called "pumpkin butter". I did most of the painting and then campaigned for the console table I wanted until Danny gave in and agreed to get it. I even painted a picture for the walls. Yes, yes, you get the point - I like my foyer.

Well, since one bulb had burnt out, Danny replaced both bulbs with the "daylight" cfl's. And, with a flick of a switch, my beautiful foyer transformed into someone's musty basement where illegal plants are grown or a creepy mad scientist's laboratory. The walls were puce.

After I threw up a bit in my mouth, I started to complain (I'm a complainer. I admit it.) The light was completely blue. And, blue + orange = puce. Danny, who is allergic to my complaining, instantly took offense, though he had to admit the walls were indeed puce. I was told to deal with it or not turn on the lights (I chose the latter.)

So, I stopped complaining and decided to do some research to see if there were CFL's that had a warm light similar to an incandescent bulb. I came across this great article in Popular Mechanics that compared a number of CFL's and tested their brightness and color temperature (coolness/warmth). I learned that color temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin. The higher the number, the cooler (bluer) the light. I didn't see our brand, but since it was called a "daylight" bulb, I guessed it would be 4000°K. The warm white light that I want is around 2700°K.

This morning, while getting a paper lunch bag out of the closet, I remembered to read the box to find out the color temperature of the bulbs. 5800°K! No wonder the light is so horribly blue! I need to make a trip to the hardware store for some new bulbs. The "daylight" bulbs will have to go in rooms where the walls are not painted a warm color.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 5th, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC)
Many few years ago, my hippieinhiding dad had me change EVERY single bulb in his house to CFL (think 200+)... It was GROSSSSS to the point where it kept me from doing it at home...

Then sometime this year he had someone change them out to something warmer, that I noticed for the first time at xmas... The difference is AMAZING... If you didn't know any better, and didn't notice the slight dimming lag when you turn them on, you would think they were regular bulbs...

It's on the list for our house, the only place I haven't found a decent replacement for is the bathroom vanity lamps... I would REALLY like those to be true color :)
Mar. 5th, 2008 05:51 pm (UTC)
Shit woman, you should've asked me!!!! All freaking light bulbs give you different results depending on their rating-cool or warm or anything in between- You might want to try using the light bulbs that are uhmm "reveal" or "revealed" they totally "change" how you see things/colors inside your house only because they are the "Truest" form of light that mimics natural light (sunlight and shit). Even sunlight will yield different colors depending on the time of the day and the amount of cloud coverage. If you use your camera on manual mode, without any corrective color adjustment from the camera, and you take a picture of the same thing, with the same settings, at different times of the day outside, and even different days with very distinct cloud coverage you will see how the color changes. Grass can look yellow, even though you might have a beautiful green lawn, around noonish because of how the sunlight hits the madafucking subject of your picture. People no longer see that much anymore, with the rise of digital cameras and their auto-adjustment buuuullshit nobody is wiser. In the past, film manufacturers, yes film as in the little tin canister with light sensitive material, made great attempts to compensate for this subtle, and sometimes not so subtle differences, by creating films like Kodak Portra VC (vivid color) and Kodak Portra NC (neutral color) if shooting outside in daylight Portra NC is my favorite, if I am shooting inside or something really colorful I love what Portra VC can yield. Yeah that was my useless information on light and shiiiit. Did you know that fluorescent light is actually green?? take a picture of something illuminated by fluorescent light with flash, and you will see exactly what your eyes see, take the same picture without flash and you will see the green tint uhmm oh yeah they also flicker a lot which is why you never see that type of lighting when people are using a set up that utilizes strobes as slaves and shiiiit. Uhmm I think mercury bulbs give a bluish green tone to pictures if I am not mistaken. Warm tone bulbs tend to approximate the closest to what you will see when something is illuminated by candlelight, although I think it aint close enough.... Yeah, all the useless information I know eh?
Mar. 5th, 2008 07:46 pm (UTC)
... 5800°K represent the approximate upper range of the sunlight around noon. The best light for the eyes(healthiest) and against winter depression. It's the colour of light desks(those who didn't give you a headache when you have to stare the whole day into it).
But, a warmer and "colder" light with a color temperature of only around 3000°K is expierenced by the most people as more cosy. :)
Mar. 5th, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)
The same thing happened to me last week! I finally went to get some CFL bulbs, and also picked the daylight ones (also 5800 degrees kelvin) cause they sounded like a good idea. They looked horrid, and I exchanged them for the regular CFLs. The color is acceptable, but I think my reveal regular bulbs look better.

I am paranoid that CFLs emit UVA rays, which cause wrinkles. I have not been able to find any information on this, so everytime I turn on my light, I get paranoid. But at least I'm saving energy.
Mar. 6th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
You shouldn't worry too much...
... it is true that CFLs like all neon lights emit a little bit UV light. But before you would get wrinkles you would get a tan from using them.
Replacing all regular lightbulbs with CFL lights will cut your electricity bill alot and the good quality CFLs live multiple times longer as regular lightbulbs. The white light is also better for your eyes, even when this kind of light is experienced as too cold. But after awhile you get trained to it.
The only important thing is, that in opposit to regular lightbulbs, CFLs go(like old batteries or outdated medication) into the toxic waste. :)
Mar. 5th, 2008 11:28 pm (UTC)
Are you sure that's not backward? When I open an image in bridge, the higher I push the kelvin, the warmer the picture gets. Weirdness.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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