I was out buying toilet parts today (more on that in a minute–I’m sure you’re thrilled), and while I was there, I looked at light bulbs. I needed a few. And I noticed something. The 40W equivalent CFLs use 9 watts today. The same as LEDs. So I bought a package of (4) CFLs for $1.85. The local utility subsidizes CFLs, since it’s cheaper to buy all its customers CFLs than it is to build new power plants.
I got home and checked one of my 40W equivalents that I’ve had for a while. 13 watts.
So it would appear that CFLs are like most other things. As technology improves, they get more efficient. To the tune of about 40%, in this case. That’s not quite enough difference to make me go throw out working bulbs, but it’s enough that if a bulb burns out after five years instead of seven or nine, I don’t mind.
I switched away from 40w equivalents for a long time because they seemed overly dim, but I find the current-generation 40w bulbs are fine in overhead fixtures where you use multiple bulbs.
As for the toilet parts, my toilet internals are wearing out. So I had half a mind, if I was going to rip a toilet apart anyway, to convert it to dual-flush. So I bought an MJSI Hydroright converter kit.The package promises that the kit installs in 10 minutes and almost as easily as replacing a light bulb. Maybe in some toilets they are, but not mine. In one toilet, the fill valve and flapper are so close together that I think they’ll interfere with each other, so I don’t know if I can convert it at all. The other toilet is so different from the pictures, I’m going to have to call the manufacturer’s 800 number to see if I can use it at all.
So I was hoping I’d be able to say I know a way to save a hundred bucks a year in water bills with a 10-minute project involving a $22 part, but that’s only true if you’re lucky, or if you tear into toilets a lot. But I was able to replace the fill valve with a new, efficient model, and I’ll get some savings from that, even if it’s the only upgrade I can cram into that toilet. But be warned that the efficient fill valves require considerably more tweaking than the traditional ones with a floating ball. It probably only took me 10 minutes to install it, but it took me a whole lot longer than that to tweak it to work right.
And I’m sure that’s a whole lot more than you ever wanted to know about my toilets.