May 21, 2011

The lightbulb dilemma {i.e. title twenty four stinks}

Well, it doesn't so much stink as it makes life for the incandescent bulb lover very, very difficult. I understand totally California's pioneering measures about health safety regulations and energy efficiency and whatnot. But wow. Does it complicate things.

So. Light bulbs: I'll give you the short rundown, though by no means will it be simple. Nor probably very concise. But I'll try.

Basically, I was told that there is no way in hell any new commercial establishment can use even a single incandescent bulb {meaning the regular, good ol' light bulb we all know and love}. Okay, fine, I understand, I'll figure out some way to use fluorescent bulbs {yuck}. No, they tell me, you can't use those either. Well what can I use? I can only use this new light bulb technology with LED's. Okay. So LED's it is, right? Uh, no, they say, you have to use special LED bulbs and fixtures that are pronged instead of screw-in's so that they can't be switched out with regular bulbs after inspection.

Wow. Do we have some trust issues California? Are people cheating you're rules and regulations much? Sheesh. So I say great! Let's use LED's with pronged fixtures that cost over forty dollars per bulb! Oh wait, except that they don't really exist yet and I'd have to have them specially made. Yikes. Expensive. And irritating.

So let me sum this up for you all who are about to give up reading this already: I was told that, by law, I had to comply with a regulation that forced me to use something that didn't exist.

Not only that {yes, there is more} I also can't use any fixture or component of the lamp that is not UL listed. Meaning anything that doesn't have a sticker on it from Home Depot or something. Meaning, nothing old. What! Okay now I'm pissed!

So, basically, I can't use these.

And yes, I pretty much cried in front of the electrician. Not my best moment. Except here is where the good news comes in:

The man who used to own the light store that was in our building before it was ours, is awesome. He was kind enough to come to the site to put my mind at ease, to correct all the wrong things I had been told, and to basically mend my broken heart. He told me that none of it was entirely true, and that there are wonderful and totally legal ways around that particularly irksome part of the law. Yay! So LED bulbs are still a necessity, one of which I am happy to comply to, and using my antique fixtures will be fine.


And it was a relatively simple solution to the pronged-light-bulb-fixtures-that-don't-exist problem. All we do, is wire up three or four lights together, and throw them on a current limiter. So no bulbs can be added and no bulb can be switched to incandescent. And if they are, the circuit trips and we are left light-less all together. What a brilliant solution!

So now I can use these too. Thank goodness. 

And apparently this bulb is my new best friend.

It only uses nine watts and it's brightness is equivalent to a forty watt bulb. It's dimmable, and it's not too horrendous looking. Slightly spaceship-like, but I can live with that. With this bulb, I can add plenty of light in the restaurant and still come up well shy of the maximum two thousand five hundred watts that will make us compliant with title twenty four.

Got all that?

1 comment:

Thank you dearly for your comments! They always make my day.