June 2007 Volume 4     http://www.zotzelectrical.com/     Zotz Electrical     612-501-2012, 320-983-2500
Below are a few examples of fence or deck post lights. They come in low voltage systems so you may put them on a switch to control if they are on. Or get the solar powered ones that operate dusk till dawn and easy installation but you will have no control of turning them off. I am not promoting any brand, retail location or style but give this product spotlight for you to consider for your application or project. Do a web search for "low voltage post lights" or "solar post lights" and many retailers and styles will appear for you.
Last month, we answered these questions about compact fluorescent lamps (cfls). Do they save money? Yes, they do save you money. Is the light the same? They say the wattage is equivalent but it doesn't look like it, why? The lumens (light output) are the same but there is a difference in the type of light. You need to get the correct Kelvin temperature and Color Rendering Index rated lamp for your likes and lifestyle. Do they come in different shapes, other than the spiral? Yes, they do.
This month, we will answer this question, Are they really the answer to save the environment and stop global warming? First we need to know what a fluorescent lamp is and what it is manufactured from. A fluorescent lamp is a gas-discharge lamp that uses electricity to excite mercury vapor in argon or neon gas, resulting in a plasma that produces short-wave ultraviolet light. This light then causes a phosphor to fluoresce, producing visible light.
As good as fluorescent lamps are at giving even lumens at a fair cost, there are numerous problems with them. Some which are, they do not keep their lumens constant throughout their life-span, at about 40% of their life, the lumen output decreases. If CFLs are the answer to cost savings, you may buy replacements before they have exhausted their life-span or purchase higher wattage ones the next time to compensate for what is perceived to be less lumens, defeating the purpose of cost savings somewhat with the electricity needed to illuminate them.
To be environmentally conscience, how do you dispose of them? You need to take them to a recycling center to be disposed of correctly. The cost of this is between 50 cents to 2.50 dollars. If you have a hardware store that can dispose of them, you can take them to the store when you buy replacements. But if you need to make a special trip to a recycling center, the cost of the fuel used for your automobile and the pollutants emitted by that automobile must be considered in the environmental impact.
They are filled with mercury. For years we have been "educated" by the "environmentalist" that mercury is bad and we need to stop using it or letting it flow out of smokestacks. But these same environmentalist are lobbying our Congress to pass laws that the American people put this dangerous substance in our homes. New laws in the California Title 24 Energy Code state that all new construction and remodeling must use some form of fluorescent lighting to illuminate the light fixtures. Why would the environmentalist push mercury filled lamps when they potentially are dangerous to our health and the LED (light emitting diode) technology is getting to the point where they equal or surpass fluorescent technology at a lower operating cost and retain their lumen output over a much greater time period? Click on this link to read a story of one person that broke a CFL and hired a company to clean up the damage because of the mercury, http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,268747,00.html.
We are told that the electric power plants will not have to produce as much power and that less pollutants will exhaust out the smokestacks if we use CFLs and fluorescent lamps. Yes and no, the statement is flawed, even though fluorescent lighting does use less electricity to operate. First, power plants run at a constant speed, no matter what the power usage is except for a short period during the day or when peak power plants are put online during this short period. The peak power need time is between 3:00pm and 6:00pm when people get home from work and start air conditioners and whatever else to enjoy their homes for the evening. If a peak power plant is not used, the main power plants amperage is increased for that period and does use more fuel, a good parallel example to this, watch a diesel tractor truck's exhaust pipe when it is under power to start and then at cruising speed. You can tell when it is under major power and using the most fuel by the darkness of the exhaust fumes. When the peak plants are put online, the main power plant remains at it's constant rate but fuel is being used by the peak plant to compensate for the extra electricity needed. The second flaw in the above statement is that the smokestack is not a smokestack, it is a heatstack, the "smoke" you see is actually condensation as the heat hits the cool air. Less than one percent of what comes out of the stack is pollution. There are numerous filters that keep pollutants from leaving the stack and are collected to be used as a super strong concrete after it is processed.
Raw materials must be mined. Like an incandescent lamp, fluorescent lamps use glass, steel and a tungsten filament but the fluorescent lamp needs in addition, mercury, argon or neon gas and phosphor to illuminate. This means that land needs to be disturbed to get the raw materials to produce these lamps. How much fuel and energy does it take to mine these raw materials with the electricity used to run the mining and manufacturing plants? How much diesel fuel is being used to operate the tractors at the mining plants and then in the semi-trucks to get the materials to the manufacturing plants?
In conclusion, I believe that the impact to the environment is a wash. On one hand, they do save you money and use less electricity but on the other hand, in producing and disposing of the CFLs, the energy used from mining raw materials to disposal may not compensate for the energy used and the environmental impact as we use them. A better environmental approach would be to use LED technology and the more it is produced and researched, more products will be produced that we can install in our homes. For power plant compensation, more thought should be put into the use of solar power on a home-based aspect. Solar technology has improved greatly from the 1970's and if more consumers would be willing to use it, the costs would drop drastically.
Electrical inspection fees will be increased July 1, 2007 and the inspection form will be changed. On a new home, the fee will increase from $80 to $135 dollars for services that are not more than 400 amp and not more than 30 circuits, $6 for each additional circuit. The old forms will no longer be in use. There will be a new downloadable form to fill out, print, sign and mail. At this time because of signature problems, payment must be made by postal mail but their goal is to be able to make payment online.
The bottom of the home page is changed usually every Sunday night. I try to have some fun, unusual or some form of science items or articles with links to learn more about each. This week, there is a letter that is totally misspelled but you can read it, links to radio personality Tom Mischke with a site to hear old radio bits by him and a commentary on what he saw at a baseball game one day and a link to the "Glacier Girl" P-38 excavation and restoration from Greenland. See us at, http://www.zotzelectrical.com/.
You may view us at:http://www.zotzelectrical.com/. Or contact Douglas Zotz for more information at:firstname.lastname@example.org.
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