I went to Home Depot today for dimmable CFLs, a water heater blanket, a low-flow shower head, leaf bags and a few other things. After walking around aimlessly, I found the water heater blankets (out of stock), the CFL display (which was LAME!) and shower heads, all but one of which was the opposite of low-flow (several low flow models were out of stock). Oh, and no more leaf bags. Grumble.
The fact that most of the energy saving items I attempted to purchase were out of stock says two things:
- People are buying energy saving items: this is a good thing
- Home Depot is failing to understand this change in the economy: this is not a good thing, either for them or for the environment
I did find a valve that slows or stops water flow from the shower head; I mounted it inline on the shower spout in about 3 minutes. I bought one of the Delta 1.5 GPM shower heads; more on this after a few showers. It certainly will use less water than the model I replaced.
The CFL display was simply lame. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I heard my family complain about CFLs. These are the same complaints as you usually hear: they are not as bright, and the light is not as pleasant. Both complaints are true unless you buy the right bulb, and I blame Home Depot, since they do a lousy job merchandising this important commodity.
Home Depot was out of stock of dimmable CFLs (several different models — all not available). They use the word “daylight” word to describe the light of 6000K bulbs; these are very good for reading, but cast a very blue and harsh light. Perhaps they should just call them “reading” lights, which they are fine for (daylight sounds like a good thing, but it’s not for most uses). The display was equally divided between these daylight bulbs, red-boxed cool white bulbs (5000K, very blue and also not pleasant), and the green-boxed 2700K bulbs most people should buy. All of these bulbs are “green” in the environmental sense; I would bet most people associate “green” alternatives as one for which there is some trade-off; in this case they are the best option. Let me make it simple:
Buy CFLs marked “warm white” or 2700K for normal household lighting
I was able to observe my Mom’s complaint about the CFL being less bright, sort of. One thing I had not noticed before was that it seems like CFLs may take a few minutes to warm up. Are they not as bright, or the same color during this time? My Mom has two lights; one equipped with a CFL rated for 100W and another incandescent 100W bulb. She complained that the CFL was dimmer; when I first turned it on and compared to the incandescent light, it did seem less bright. A while later, however, it seemed just as bright. Presumably, claims of lumens produced are verified, so I have to assume that there may be a short warm-up time required for CFLs.
My final bash of Home Depot is that they had a very limited supply of CFLs. Almost all were spiral; few were flood or spotlights, there were no outdoor lights, candelabra size, or dimmable lights. Almost all form-factors of lights have been done in CFL — why can’t one of the largest retailers of home supplies get this simple and obvious thing right?
We have a long way to go, especially if Home Depot is leading the way.