Saturday, March 29, 2008

Light bulbs

I'm a little cranky.

I have a friend who calls himself "Grumpy" and who has a little Elf doll that looks like "Grumpy" in Sleeping Beauty strapped to the back of his motorcycle to prove it. But the fact is that I am much more deserving of the title than he is. Here is an example....

A few years back.. say three years, I bought some of these high dollar fluorescent light bulbs to replace some standard incandescent light bulbs in my house. Now I didn't just buy a few, I bought about 20 of 'em. And you gotta know that these bulbs are not cheap. You can get a 4 pack of standard Soft-white incandescent bulbs for about $2 and these fluorescent things cost me around $10 each. So here it is, a couple of years later and some of these high dollar bulbs have burned out. Now keep in mind that I have been in Bangkok for a full 12 months of this time so don't be thinking that I should be happy with three years out of a bulb. I have had regular bulbs last for YEARS and they don't cost $10.

So I start looking around for info on the true cost of light bulbs.... and you, because you chose to read my BLOG have to put up with this resulting rant.

Here's the deal.

Standard Incandescent 60 Watt bulb - cost $1.50 for a pack of 4
LONG SUPER LONG LIFE fluorescent GE 60 watt equivalent - cost $14 (that's right - $14 per light bulb - see why I am grumpy!!!)

Now, A standard bulb is supposed to last about 1000 hours. You can verify that from any number of sources with a simple web search. One of these super duper long life fluorescent bulbs is supposed to last 10 times longer... HA!!!!! In your dreams. Maybe some of them do, but not the ones I got... so I went to figuring how much I overpaid for my crappy fluorescent bulbs. Here is the result.

Paying $1.50 for 4 standard bulbs means I pay about 37 cents per bulb. That bulb is supposed to last 1000 hours, but alot of mine seem to last longer... maybe 2000 hours right.... am I right???? You know I am! And I am supposed to be happy spending $14 for a stupid fluorescent bulb... I don't think so.

Anyway, the $14 "long life" bulb is supposed to last 10,000 hours. HA! Even if it does last ten times longer, I am paying $1.40 for the same amount of time that the cheap bulb is supposed to last. Man am I getting grumpy.

So this standard bulb is a 60 watt bulb. I pay about 15 cents per Kilowatt hour for electricity, so to operate my bulb for 1 hour costs me about 1 cent. A little less. But that high dollar bulb only uses 15 watts, so it costs alot less. But so what. A lot less than a cent still ain't much. Actually it is about 0.2 cents. Too little to count.

Lemme figure this out a second. A standard bulb costs $0.37 plus $0.01 per hour to run and it lasts 1000 hours. That's a total of $10.37 over the life of that bulb. Wait a second. The whole bulb and the energy it takes to run it is cheaper than just the bulb when you buy that expensive one! MAN am I getting grumpy!

OK, just for the exercise, I'll look at the fluorescent bulb. It cost $14 (crap!) and it uses 15 watts per hour so that costs hmmmmm.. 0.2 cents per hour. OK, that's pretty cheap to run. The standard bulb cost 1 penny - 5 times as much. But still, we are talking pennies here.

OK this fancy bulb is supposed to last 10,000 hours. HA!!!! so over the "supposed" life of the fancy bulb it would cost me $22.50 in electricity costs PLUS the $14 that the original bulb cost, that's a total of $36.50. That's TOO MUCH to run a light bulb.

Hmmmmm, what would the standard bulb cost I wonder. Let's see. 37 cents per bulb and the bulb lasts 1000 hours. That's $3.70 for enough bulbs to last 10,000 hours. And each bulb takes 60 watts per hour at 14 cents per KWH so that's $90 in electricity... WAIT JUST A SECOND HERE!!!! $90 to run a light bulb.. That's TOO MUCH! Lemme check that again

60 watts X 10,000 hours = 600,000 watt hours = 600 KWH
$0.15 per KWH X 600 KWH = $90.... hmmmmmm

Ok, lemme think. The high dollar bulb cost $14+$22.50 for electricity. That's $37. And the cheap bulb cost 37 cents plus 1 cent per hour, but for 10,000 hours that adds up to $90. CRAP!!!!!

Yea, but wait a second. The thing that ticked me off was that some of the bulbs I bought didn't last very long. I don't know how long, but it didn't seem very long. So what if the fancy bulb only lasts half as long as it says it will? Yea, what if it only lasts 5000 hours and then I have all that money tied up in an expensive bulb that crapped out. Let's see.... $14 for the bulb, and 0.2 cents per hour for 5000 hours is $14+$10 so that's $24. The same deal for the regular bulbs would be 5 bulbs (1000 hours per bulb) at 37 cents per bulb... that's a buck 85, plus 1 cent per hour to run them that's 5000 cents or ... .wait a second.... 5000 cents is $50! So even if the fancy bulb only lasts half as long as it is supposed to, it is still twice as cheap overall as the cheap bulb. Hmmmm

Hey, but what happens if my cheap bulbs last twice as long as they say they should? OK, at 37 cents per bulb, and it lasts twice as long.... Oh crap so I save 37 cents.. so what, I am spending $50 to keep the stupid thing running.

I think I am less grumpy than I was a little while ago.

Here is the chart. The green line is the cost of the "fancy bulb" as it lasts longer and longer. It dips below 1 cent per hour at a life of 2000 hours. At 10,000 hours, it costs 1/3 as much. There is a similar red line that shows that the cost of the "cheap" bulb is basically 1 cent per hour, no matter how long it lasts. This chart stops at a bulb life of 3000 hours. Imagine how it would look at 10,000 hours.


No comments: