We now know that Russians have been getting involved in our elections to sow confusion, division, frustration, and anger. So tell me, WHAT does a handyman have to do in this town to get Bob Mueller to investigate the OTHER AREA where Russians may have been practicing this – the light bulb aisle?
If you’ve shopped for light bulbs lately, you know EXACTLY what I mean. The answer to “how many homeowners does it take to change a light bulb?” has become “TWO, the homeowner plus an illumination engineer.” Am I crazy to suggest this has the fingerprints of former KGB agent Vladimir Putin all over it? So, let me explain what has happened to light bulbs, and how to survive the newest front in the Cold War (aka the DARK War).
You are now paying 10x as much for light bulbs that allegedly last 10x as long and use 1/5 as much energy because the federal government says so. Now, it’s hard for this simple handyman to figure out exactly why if not for Soviet infiltration they would mandate this, but possibly our government just decided they’re smarter than inventor Thomas Edison, and at least one person sent out a Tweet claiming incandescent bulbs are sexist and racist.
First Generation Bulbs (CFL) – Soon to be Gone
The first bulbs released after the new law were called “CFL”, which either stands for Compact Fluorescent Light or Commie Fluorescent Light, depending on your choice of conspiracy theory. Think of them as fluorescent tubes re-shaped to fit into bulb sockets, so the quality of their light is as lousy as you would expect, which actually might be considered quite GOOD if you were unfortunate enough to live in the former Soviet Union. They look like a Dairy Queen vanilla ice cream cone, although if you were tempted to EAT them you might die of mercury poisoning. For these reasons and others, it will soon be lights out for these bulbs. Don’t let the lampshade hit you on your way out.
Current Generation Bulbs (LED)
Thankfully, American ingenuity rescued us from the above Soviet-style bulbs by introducing LED bulbs, which either stands for Light Emitting Diode or Lenin Extinguishing Device, depending on your choice of conspiracy. As it turns out, wire’s not the only thing that glows when you run electricity through it, good old American semiconductors do, too, and for whatever reason that’s just fine with our betters in Washington. At least for now.
While these bulbs started out looking strange, being hugely expensive, and had packages labeled in ways so no one could understand how bright they were compared to 60 and 100 watt bulbs, all of these problems are being addressed, as discussed below.
What You Need to Know and What You Need to Ignore
Meanwhile, as you navigate your way through the LED bulb aisle, stay focused on the 3 things that you also would have thought about in your incandescent bulb past: brightness, dim-ability, and color.
- If you want the equivalent brightness of an old 100 watt bulb, look for packages that read 100 Watt REPLACEMENT.
- If you want to be able to dim your bulbs, look for packages that mention this feature. Also, make sure your dimmer switches at home are compatible with LED bulbs. Fix St Louis can swap out your light switches if you need to.
- If you prefer the yellowish light of old incandescent bulbs, the harsh white used in police interrogations, the look of old soft white bulbs, or light that simulates daylight, look for WORDS on the packages that say this. And, unless you’re a geek, try to ignore the “K” ratings that are actually temperature measurements based on the Kelvin scale, which apparently provide some indication of color.
But be aware that a walk down the light bulb aisle is still like flipping through the pages of the former Soviet Union’s propaganda newspaper, Pravda. The packages are full of lies.
There are packages marked “incandescent” that are actually halogen lights made to look like the old bulbs. (BTW, you’ll also see some REAL incandescent bulbs that somehow escaped the government’s grasp by their low wattage or special design).
And while I praised the use of phrases on packages like “100 Watt Replacement” above, if you hold-up 2 different brands labeled that way, don’t be surprised if there’s as much as a 30% difference in brightness as measured in “lumens.” (Don’t waste your time learning the lumen system — it’s unlikely to catch on here among us proud metric-system-refusing Americans.)
So nice try, comrade Vladimir. When it comes to lighting our houses, guess we Americans are brighter than you think.