Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Let there be light

I hate fluorescent light, especially in the house. I bet I'm not alone.

But I have to admit that what I hate specifically is the bluish, vaguely flickering kind of fluorescent light. The kitchen of the Brick Split House had such a fixture, which I finally got around to replacing yesterday due to its physical imperfections (the fixture itself was butt ugly, institutional and drab) as much as its luminiferous shortcomings. More to the point, the Better Halfwise didn't like it.

Due to my intrinsic laziness, i.e. not wanting to repaint the kitchen ceiling to correct a color mis-match behind the old 4 foot by 1 foot fluorescent fixture, I bought a new fluorescent fixture, even though I wanted the look of incandescent light. Buying a new fluorescent meant the chance to try out some new bulbs and
new ballasts.

A little research here led me to look for soft white bulbs as opposed to the daylight kind that were in the old fixture. And the new ballasts make a difference, too. Big difference, actually.

Apparently to make fluorescent bulbs look like incandescent light we want color temperature of around 3500 degrees K, rather than daylight which is 5000 - 6500 deg K. And we should go for high colour rendering, which makes things and people their real colour rather than some ghastly pallor.

Philips offers the soft white bulbs as well as the natural daylight variety, in addition to the traditional dingy garage / warehouse variety. They were in stock at Wal-Mart but only in 3 foot lengths, so I had to go to Home Depot. (By the way, when the prayer asks "Lead us not into temptation", it may well be referring to the power tool section of Home Depot.)

I put the old tubes down in the Big Basement Warehouse (motto: "For sure you have it! You just aren't sure where!") but in all likelihood they will make their way to the ReStore, which sells donated housing items, along with an old but unused pair of tubes that are still down there.

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