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What's up with all these varieties of plug in CFL's?

I've been using compact fluorescent light bulbs for many years now. They're great! They come in standard bases to fit light sockets. You can use them in place of traditional incandescent light bulbs for any light fixture or lamp in your home.

CFL's offer brightness equivalents of incandescents for considerably less wattage. Which comes to noticable saving in your energy bill. If you spend $10 per month on lighting alone when using traditional incandescent light bulbs, Your bill can be $3 per month spent on lighting when switching to compact fluorescents. Some people complain of the CFL's slow energizing. It takes too long to get up to their full brightness. Personally, other than when the bulb is new and used for the first time, I don't see that.

Ott-lite plug-in compact fluorescent bulbI do see one big problem developing over the past few years. The plug in CFL's. These bulbs have to be used with a special socket. They're not the regular screw in socket. There are many different types of plug in sockets. A manufacturer makes a product, a lamp, with this special socket and you of course have to buy the special plug in bulbs to go with it. There aren't just one or two "standard" varieties of these plug in bulbs. It seems like every manufacturer wants to come up with their own special plug in socket and bulb. So now the buyer, who may not be paying too much attention to sockets and bulbs, likes the lamp and buys it.

That buyer may need to hope their bulb lasts a long time, because it may not be easy to find the right replacement bulb. Even at big places like Home Depot or Lowes, they have maybe one or two varieties of these plug in CFL's. So what about buying the bulb on-line or direct from the manufacturer?

A person trying to replace a simple thing like a light bulb can get extremely frustrated. Direct from the manufacturer, if you know exactly the bulb or lamp you have, should allow you to get what you're after. Still, a bulb is not something you should have to hunt down. Going to Amazon, where you can buy anything, It can still become hard if all the spec's for the bulb are not known to you. Trying to visually match up the bulb may not work either. These plug in bulbs can look a lot alike, but looking similar doesn't make them fit.

Here's a for instance

I was at my father's house and he asked me if I could find a bulb for his lamp. I don't know if he bought this lamp or someone gave it to him as a gift, but he said he was looking for the replacement bulb and could not find the right replacement. My father is 86 years old. I was probably the one to first show him some of the benefits to CFL's. He has a 4 light ceiling fixture in his kitchen and he said he had to change the bulbs(they were incandescent) quite frequently. I suspected the fixture couldn't handle 4 x 60 watt light bulbs. So the bulbs would blow out too quickly. I put in 4 CFL's and the problem went away. Anyway back to my fathers troublesome CFL's. My father hasn't gotten into the internet. He talks about maybe getting an internet hook up but he hasn't yet.

So I fiqured I should be able to find these odd plug in CFL's on the internet for him. NOT! I wasn't really familiar with these plug in bulbs, but I researched the item on line, saw a lot of varieties of these plug in's, got more confused, researched again and finally tried the bulb manufacturer directly on line. Although it is not 100% conclusive that I will not find these bulbs, right now it seems this particular plug in type is no longer available. They don't make them anymore. The manufacturer ( by the way their name is OTT-LITE) does still make bulbs and they do make plug in CFL's, but not this exact type. So now what, my fathers lamp, which looks fine and not at all old looking, can't be used anymore. It's no good! Junk it! Maybe go out and buy another OTT-LITE lamp and bulb set up. I don't think so.

Anyway I'm all in favor of change, improvements or whatever. But my recommendation with these plug in CFL's is stay away from them. Let the manufacturers arrive at some form of standard with these plug ins if they prove to be better than the screw in socket that we all have in our light fixtures and lamps. My situation with my fathers lamp is not isolated, I read a number of concerns people were having with finding the right plug in bulb to match their lamps.

Feel free to contact me at sales@lightsandwiring if you have any questions, comments or feedback of any kind.

Keep Life New,

Gregory Stokes