Monday, September 13, 2010

Government Ceiling Fan Light Kit Regulation Has Opposite Effect as Intended

Big surprise in the title, huh? The regulation, explained here, was designed to limit the wattage that lights could draw on a ceiling fan light kit. They put an upper bound of 190W on the entire kit. There's some stuff that doesn't make sense, like how it's not a "fan" if it doesn't have a downrod. WTF?

Anyway, the 190W limit is enforced by a device that acts as a dimmer. Somehow, as if that dimmer weren't enough to limit wattage, they decided it would be a good idea to make the bulbs candelabra base too. Why does that matter if the wattage limiting device does its job?

Here are my personal complaints: 1. a light in Jen's room started smoking! I called the company and they said that the wattage limiting device acts as a dimmer (something that isn't mentioned in the installation paperwork or anything included with the fan when you buy it). Most candelabra base CFLs aren't compatible with a dimmer and that's what caused it to almost catch fire (actually, this site says that they won't actually combust).
2. I had to buy new effing light bulbs for the new fan light kits. What of the other spare medium base bulbs I had lying around the house? Or the lights from the old fan. Making me buy new stuff is not energy efficient.
3. Since dimmable, candelabra base CFLs cost about $10 each at Lowe's (compared to about $10 for a 4-pack of medium base, non-dimmable CFLs), I ended up INCREASING THE WATTAGE that the light kit uses! I used to use 52W and now I'm running 4 x 40W incandescents (which also generate heat that I'll have to cool with the A/C)...I have MORE THAN TRIPLED THE WATTAGE CONSUMED BY MY LIGHT KIT DUE TO THE NEW "ENERGY SAVING" REGULATION!
4. It shouldn't have been a surprise that when I was facing the decision of whether to purchase $10 special light bulbs or buy regular incandescent bulbs at 1/8 the cost, I picked the incandescents. And I consider myself to be more pro-energy saving than the average bear.
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