So, it’s not really the lightbulbs’ fault that anytime I hear reference to MR-16 bulbs, I remember one of the worst jokes imaginable.
OK, if you insist. It’s a dialog, and it goes like this:
MR not ducks
Yeah, I’m not sure why it’s a “joke” or, as with anything Jim Belushi does, what’s so funny. (“ZOMG! The letters sound like words!”) But both have stuck with me for, like, 20 years, so there’s that.
I cannot state for certain that that awful joke contributed to the fact that when one of the halogen bulbs burned out in out kitchen fixture a couple months back, I was ready to replace all 6 MR-16s in that fixture with LED equivalents. Finally the price had dipped to the point where it was feasible – even for the fancy dimmable LEDs. I know the right thing to do would be to continue using the remaining halogens until, one-by-one, they gave up the fight. But at some point there’s just no getting around admitting that my eyesight ain’t what it used to be, and even losing that 1/6th of available kitchen light was making me wonder how long all 10 fingers would avoid some godawful Chicago Cutlery finale.
I further rationalized the bulbs’ early retirement by vowing to donate them to the local Habitat for Humanity secondhand home-improvement shop.
But I did wonder, as I twisted in each of the new, even brighter, LEDs, how much energy I would actually save. Looking at wattage alone, it was clear that we’re now using less than 1/10th of what we were before. But what’s that translate to in dollars and junk? Hmm, let’s do some maths.
Well, OK, I actually did all the maths on a scrap piece of paper. See?:
I spared you all this, so you’re welcome. The cipherin’ is based on a lot of assumptions, such as:
- We use the light 3 hours a day (probably true).
- We’re looking at energy costs for the winter (true so far). Summer costs vary per the power company.
- We are getting the rate for the first 650 kilowatt hours — which is cheapest (I have no idea how many KwH we use a month).
At the bottom line (actually two lines in the picture, but whatevs), we’re spending 29 cents a month to light the kitchen, versus $1.25. At that clip, it’ll take us four years to recoup the $50 buy-in, but the LEDs should last 20,000 hours – or more than 19 years at our level of usage.
And even if they don’t make it 19 years, $50 is a small price to pay for keeping all 10 fingers intact. Since I’m being all mathy, that’s 20 fingers for the household, which works out to $2.50 per finger without even accounting for energy savings.