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GE Bright Stik LED

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It probably doesn’t matter whether you prefer the light cast by traditional incandescent bulbs, as most governments have outlawed this iconic element of luminescent technology… or are preparing to. Governments love greenwash.

At least where we live, our far-left silly party government has also successfully mismanaged the local electricity grid to the point where power is too expensive to keep using incandescent bulbs.

For a long while, the only viable alternative to incandescent lighting was compact florescent bulbs, which while more efficient than their glowing ancestors, are really quite nasty. Every one of those little monsters comes with its own supply of highly toxic mercury, just waiting to mess with your central nervous system if you manage to drop it. While possessed of theoretically long lives, most of these things are made cheap in China, and their actual working lives are rarely much better than the incandescent lights they replace – despite their costing ten times more.

Finally, compact florescent lights exhibit a significant reduction in light output as they age. It’s subtle enough to be difficult to notice, but your digs will get significantly gloomier with time.

LED lighting devices are the lightbulbs of the new millennium… admittedly, a decade and a half into the new millennium. They’re way more efficient than both incandescent bulbs and compact florescent lights. They should last for decades in most applications – this said, none of them have been lit up long enough to determine the validity of this claim empirically. They can be manufactured to produce light of a color temperature that simulates the glow of a traditional incandescent bulb. Their light output never varies.

They’re even available in versions that get along with light dimmers, although in many applications, this will involve replacing your dimmer hardware with a device that’s LED-compatible. I hasten to add that the GE Bright Stik LED bulbs being discussed in this post are not dimmable.

Should it not be apparent, an LED lightbulb uses the same technology as the LEDs that are blinking from the front of your modem as you read this, the LEDs that power flashlights and the LEDs that indicate that your television set is in standby mode. They just use a lot more of them, and typically, they use a calculated mixture of white and yellow LEDs to achieve a suitable degree of warmth in the light they emit.

While LED lightbulbs were prohibitively expensive for several years after they began appearing, their prices have plummeted of late. Given the appearance of a reasonable sale, these devices can usually be had for about the same price as compact fluorescents.

Stick Power

We decided to replace all the compact florescent lights in our house, prompted to some degree by several really irresistible sales on LED lights at the local Home Depot. While there are a number of really inexpensive LED bulbs available – made by manufacturers no one has hitherto heard of, or is likely to again – one of the attractions of LED lighting devices is the prospect of winding them in once and never changing them again. LEDs made by actual lightbulb manufacturers seem way more likely to fulfill this undertaking.

Promising 15,000 hours of service – well over a decade for most of the lights we use – we don’t expect to have to climb any more ladders for a while.

The vagaries of the sales through which we bought our phalanx of LED bulbs saw us with GE Bright Stix for the most part. The lesser contingent were Philips LEDs. Both have proven to be ideal replacement for older lighting technologies. After having lived with both for several months however, we’ve come to favor the GE bulbs.

It’s worth noting that compared numerically, the GE Bright Stik devices don’t appear quite as leading edge as the bulbs from Philips. The Bright Stik devices consume ten watts, compared to eight and a half for the Philips bulbs. They also produce slightly less light while they’re doing so – 760 lumens as opposed to 800 lumens for the Philips devices. In the real world, we came to appreciate that the differences involved are little more than rounding errors.

The GE bulbs have a superior warranty of five years – Philips warrants theirs for three. As of this writing, both warranties are effectively worthless, as they require that defective bulbs be returned to their respective manufacturers to claim on them. Costing between three and four dollars per bulb, the mailing costs to return them would exceed the value of the replacement bulbs thus obtained. Allowing that the duration of the warranties is indicative of the expected lives of the devices in question, however, the GE Bright Stiks arguably make better economic sense.

The first thing that most users of GE Bright Stiks are likely to notice after the initial spelling error in their name is the fact that these lightbulbs aren’t bulbs. The traditional shape of a lightbulb finds its origin way back in the mists of time, when it was prudent to keep the glass of the lamp a reasonable distance from the extremely hot tungsten filament that produced light. LED devices don’t get hot, and as such, they can be any shape their designers like the look of. GE Bright Stiks are cylindrical.

The shape of these things endeared them to us pretty much immediately, as quite a few of them were deployed in pot lights. Being way narrower than traditional lightbulbs and LED devices crafted to resemble them, the Bright Stiks proved to be effortless to install in tight quarters.

Lighting devices that set about to emit ostensibly white light typically get involved with the issue of color temperature – how warm or cold the light appears to be. Without getting too scientific and employing a lot of multi-syllable words, color temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin, the Kelvin scale working very much like temperature measurements in centigrade, save that zero degrees Kelvin is absolute zero, rather than the freezing point of water. Light color is measured in degrees Kelvin by heating a theoretical black object – properly called a “black-body radiator” – to a specific temperature until it glows.

Warm white light, similar to that produced by a traditional incandescent lightbulb, usually falls somewhere below 3000 degrees Kelvin. Cold white light – the slightly blue light generated by white LEDs – hovers around 5000 degrees Kelvin. Most LED lighting devices – including the GE Bright Stiks – are available in both flavors.

The Philips LED bulbs we used in some areas of our house produce warm white light at 2700 degrees Kelvin. GE Bright Stiks come in at 2850 degrees Kelvin. While the difference in color temperature is highly subjective, we found that the GE devices produced light which was more in keeping with traditional incandescent light. The warmer light of the Philips bulbs seems slightly orange in some contexts.

Shocking

Replacing all our compact florescent lights with GE Bright Stiks at once was very nearly dazzling. Rooms that had over time grown shadowed and somnolent due to the lazy work habits of the old bulbs brightened up with the flip of a switch. Some of our compact florescent bulbs were pretty ancient, and had been requiring several minutes to warm up before they attained what served them as full brilliance. The LED bulbs were ready to work in a sixtieth of a second.

We came to appreciate that the color temperature of compact florescent lights is at least as variable a phenomenon as their light output, and most of the rooms that had used them had in fact experienced notably different colors of light in different areas. The GE LED lights seem to exhibit flawless color temperature consistency.

Several of our compact florescent bulbs had been emitting noticeable humming and whines, which had grown more irritating with age. We’d contrived to switch bulbs around to locate the miscreants in places where they wouldn’t be overheard. The Bright Stiks are utterly silent. Inexplicably, we did notice that some of our Philips LED lights whined slightly, depending upon the fixture they were installed in – they, too, required a degree of relocation to appease them.

Consuming about fifty percent less energy than compact fluorescent lights of comparable light output, the LED bulbs have reduced our electric bill to a modest degree. Our electricity rates are something of a back-door tax inflicted upon people who are stubbornly reluctant to freeze in the dark – pruning them feels like striking a blow for democracy and freedom.

Finally, the simple glowing cylinders of the GE Bright Stik bulbs look very cool – they suggest a new technology without resembling props from Star Trek.

The only drawback to our great lightbulb adventure has been a swelling collection of aged, cranky compact florescent lights. Upon consideration, the majority of them were getting close to fading away entirely when we unwound them, and the whole box is just about useless. There are several shops in town that offer CFL recycling containers, but we’re uncertain how they’re going to feel about us backing up the pickup truck and filling them.

That, and if the box of old bulbs happens to fall out of the truck on the way into town, there are going to be guys in hazmat suits out there for the rest of the month.

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