I came across yet another one of my problems with our society, tonight. We’re no longer really people, not in the minds of the big-bad corporation. We’ve become consumers. Once upon a time, or so I assume as I wasn’t there in the good ol’ days, there was a system where people needed things so people made things to satisfy that need. There has been a shift to: we have made something, we need to find a way for people to need it, or think that they need it. Replacing the snake oil salesman come ad agencies, they use a wide array of tactics to convince us that we need what they’ve been hired to sell. One of these tactics is by convincing us of how much better the thing they have is compared to the thing we have, which is a great reason to buy something, especially a consumable. Consider someone is selling something that costs 3 to 10 times the price, but lasts much much longer, 8 to 15 times longer they claim, but uses one-fourth of the energy to operate. And then they go on to play the ‘green’ card, implying that not using these will help kill the planet. We’re talking about light bulbs folks!
Sorry to say it, but these are all half truths way down to flat-out lies. While regular incandescent light bulbs are very resilient, their life pretty much being their life, the only thing really effecting this is how many times it’s turned on or off. An incandescent bulb will run pretty much forever if it’s left on constantly.
CFL Lifespan – Half Truth:
Compact fluorescent bulbs are very dissimilar. All their ratings are based on ideal conditions. They hate heat, cold, humidity, and dimmers. When they’re used under these conditions, the shorter their life. The more extreme they get that much shorter. Sometimes not lasting as long as incandescent bulbs.
CFL Cost – Half Truth:
The only reason we pay 3 to 10 times more for a product is we believe that the advantages justify the cost. While they always highlight the good points of the product, we’re never properly warned about it’s limitations. From reading the package is it clear that you shouldn’t use it in humid areas, or even especially hot or cold areas? As long as they can get away with this kind of advertising without suffering significant penalties, they’ll continue to do so.
CFL Energy Savings – The Lie:
This is something I just learned about tonight. It’s called Power Factor. Apparent Power versus Real Power.
Compact Fluorescent bulbs designed to replace 75 Watt incandescent bulbs are usually rated by the manufacturer for an impressively low “18 Watts” (an AC Real Power figure). The universally-repeated misinformation is that these bulbs use “only about 25%” of the power the old-style bulbs do: This is not precisely the truth. In actuality because CFL’s sold here in the U.S. have significant inductive Reactance and thus an AC phase difference between Voltage and Current, the Power Factor of the CFL is around “.55” … And since we are being charged by the utility in Apparent Power, the draw on our billing meter is actually about 33 Volt-Amperes of power…. Nearly double the figure in Watts. And thus is revealed a chronic and institutionalized over-paying by Consumers of our electric utility bills: Only because a small low-cost part was left out when our CFL’s and appliances were manufactured. Deliberately left out? That is a question which deserved further investigation.
Because they’re not built the way they should be, they can, supposedly legally, claim that their product uses almost half the power that it actually uses.
If these corporations were obligated to be completely truthful about what they’re selling, the benefits and drawbacks in equal light, something tells me that they would be providing much better products. I believe very heavily that we need to stand up and demand truth in advertising. We need to stop letting ourselves be thought of as mindless consumers that buy whatever they want us to buy, by spinning their lies and half truths.
When a company is able to make any claim they like with no consequences, they’re going to. And they’ll get very rich doing so. I’m not sure this will ever change as long as they’re bank-rolling the campaigns of our elected officials, but that’s a story for another day. For today, let’s get mad as hell and say that we’re not going to take it anymore, see where that gets us.