NPower are to fire one third of their workforce in the United Kingdom as the oil price collapse bites. The Big Six cartel is coming to an end as smaller independent energy companies are taking up to 20% of the business now, green taxes on our bills reduced and cloth cut accordingly to keep profits high. Customers got fed up of paying over the odds and simply switched or cut down on using gas and electricity. The later frugalness is what was the first big crack in the cartel. Even now with wholesale gas prices down 37% in two years and oil prices down 70% in the same period they still only give away annual 5% price drops, preferring to sack employees than cut profits. Well the party is over guys and now its merge or die.
As we all scrambled to figure out ways to keep our houses and flats warm and the lights on as the government backed cartel stripped us of our hard owned cash over the winter it was simple energy saving tips that would help the most. My favorite was the surprise by-product of the clear light bulb. We don’t think about why a light bulb is frosted but mostly it’s to direct any heat away from plastic light fillings to stop them melting and to stop metal ones heating up, like your reading lamp. They also help to take the edge of the main lighting in the room. The European Union, of course, had their say on what bulbs we could use under green rulings and now retailers can no longer sell frosted bulbs and those dimmer funny shaped things are forced upon us. Its all energy efficient lighting now. The EU also banned conventional 100 and 60 watt 'pearl' bulbs, as well as the more specialized frosted 25 watt and 40 watt bulbs which are shaped like candles and golf balls. How long will it be until the meddling pastel colored suited EU MPs make us use two pin plugs!
TESCO do sell cheapish bulbs at all wattage although they are not as cheap as they were in the old days of the bog standard frosted bayonet bulb. I would say the retailers are doing what the big six are doing and price fixing bulb prices across their chains. There appears to be very little difference in pricing. The value is still the pound shop. TESCO have a good range of light bulbs for all your needs and even better online although perhaps not best to get bulbs through the post. One of the main reasons the energy efficient bulbs have come in is to force up the price of bulbs, a concession for the manufacturers by the EU to recover lost profits from throwaway bulbs that we got used to, not good for landfill. I remember the days when bulbs lasted twenty years. It’s an expensive business lighting your house these days and so you need to get your moneys worth.
One way to get value for your £5 TESCO bulb is use it to warm up your rooms. The reason they banned certain bulbs is they give off, and so use, too much energy, why they get hot. Now, if you guys want to find an extra couple of degrees in your various rooms next winter then its well worth hitting the pound shops and cheaper supermarkets to find clear or semi clear bulbs, not yet banned. These babies get really hot and can give off some decent heat. I have three clear TESCO 60w spots for my ceiling lighting and have driven up the temperature by two degrees! My old radiator doesn’t work and I only get heat from the down stairs heating rising up so that two degrees makes all the difference. I think its something you guys should consider. It makes the room comfortable. It would certainly help your old nan.
The big clear 100w spots were also banned but manufacturers have got around that by having a half clear bulb with that metallic strip to block out heat coming off the critical first half of the bulb, the bit that will melt or heat up your light fittings. That is one of the first lessons you will learn when you first live alone. These babies give off some heat and well worth putting in instead off your compulsory low energy things. By all means have the green bulbs in your hallways and kitchens etc but the rooms you want to keep warm in its well worth using semi clear TESCO 100w spot or 60w clear. I don’t think they use anymore electricity than frosted ones. Again, get your moneys worth!
Now the 15w bulb here is for my reading and writing lamp. This is a clear one and gives off enough light to see my laptop keys for browsing, typing, reading a book etc and just enough heat to keep my fingers warm as I tap out my ciao reviews and or my sports writing. The 15w cost between £2.00 and £4.00 pound in all supermarkets and a reasonable £2.50 each at Tesco or the 2 for 1 packet for £4.00. They are packed in a flimsy thin cardboard box with no bubblepack so open the packet when possible to check the filament, which has to be fragile to work, so may already be busted on the ship over from Taiwan. Modern bulbs don’t last very long and the suspicion is they are not meant to so you keep buying new ones. This one is still working after three months but I am expecting the ‘ping’ very soon. Because we move lamps around or use them to warm our hands by holding the light fitting we knock them over and off small tables the bulb isn’t going to last. But its fine so far and so I suppose I could recommend one.
I have two spotlights in my flat and I found that it was costing me a lot of money whenever one of them blew and had to be replaced. I was buying the Osram ones as these were the ones my dad had fitted inside my laps when I moved into the flat but they were costing me far too much so I switched to the Tesco sort. The ones I use for both my lamps are the R63 Edison lights and they are especially made to fit inside the spotlights I use, though I suppose they would be fine to use in any standard spotlights.
The forty watts are the strongest I've used myself but they do come in sixty. As the light is not far from the table and I can direct the beam around any which way I like, I've found that the 40 wattage light suits me fine and it's definitely strong enough to work by and do crafts. The lights last me ages, months in fact and they are easy to fit and screw in. They are coated with a sort of milky film which at first I thought might have prevented the beam of light from coming out but in fact this isn't the case at all and the directional beam is really quite strong and powerful.
Last time I bought these bulbs they were £3 for a box of four but I haven't needed to buy any for almost a year and a half because I stocked up when I moved into the flat. They are just the right light to read by and not so strong that they make your eyes water if you read in bed, as I do. I do a lot of craft work and needlework by these forty watt bulbs and they rarely cause me any bother and last forever. On one occasion I've found it's overheated quite quickly and blown, but this has only been the once and overall I rate them highly because they are good quality and very cost effective.
We use these Tesco R63 Edison Spotlights a lot in our house. Mainly we use them for good directional beams in our reading lamps by the side of our beds. The trouble with using them for this though is that they get extremely hot and the lamp may overheat, and I say this from personal experience. We tend to use the forty wattage bulbs in the bedroom and they do give off a fantastically bright beam at only forty watts - you would not want or need anything higher wattage wise that this, in my honest opinion.
We use the sixty wattage ones in the back room in a heat lamp for our tortoise. He needs a constant heat supply and we found out this was actually the cheapest way to do it. The problem with these bulbs is that although they are quite cheap at £3 for a box of four 40 wattage bulbs, they do tend to blow quite quickly in my experience, and do not last very long at all, hence it is probably false economy to buy them, but initially they do seem like a good buy because they are so much cheaper than brand names such as Osram, for instance.
They are easy to fit with a typical Edison screw (E27 fitting) and give good reflective light from the coating which is on the outside. They are not too flimsy when fitting them and they do not feel at all fragile but as I say, they do tend to overheat in reading lamps and blow easily.
Undecided if I would recommend.
Review also posted on Ciao as sorehead.
~~~~~~ Tesco R63 Bulbs ~~~~~~
You may (or may not!) be surprised to learn that I buy these reflector spotlight bulbs not for use in my household lighting, but to use as basking lamps for my turtles and tortoises. I buy a range of wattages from 40w to 100w but figured I would review the 60w since they're the same thing and I have the same likes and dislikes about each wattage.
~~~~~~ Naughty, naughty ~~~~~~
These bulbs are not environmentally friendly, their carbon footprint is in the region of 24Kg per 1000 hours of use. I buy these Tesco ones as they are a decent price compared to branded bulbs and I need 6 of them at any one time - A box of 4 R63 bulbs (any wattage) is usually £3, a box of 2 is £2. The worst thing about these bulbs though is that they generally don't last very long and in actual fact are a bit false economy! I use them in holders designed to take higher wattages, and that allow more cooling airflow than they would probably get in a ceiling fixture but they often still blow after a relatively short time. Some have literally blown after 2 or 3 days only (though they are on for 12 hours daily) but others have lasted pretty well and it's seemed to be weeks and weeks before I need to change it, so it's not all bad!
~~~~~~ The bulbs ~~~~~~
They come in a simple blue recyclable box with a picture of a bulb on both sides, the wattage and fixture information and the pack size. On one end of the packaging is the details about carbon footprint. I think it's great that they include this information, and it states Tesco are committed to reducing it. The other end of the box has the usual directions, safety information and product details.
The bulbs themselves are the typical shape with an Edison screw (E27) fitting. They have their sides coated in reflective material causing the light to be directed downward giving you a brighter, more concentrated beam. This is useful for lighting a feature, piece of art, or for an extra reading lamp and is the reason this type of bulb is widely used in reptile keeping. The promised directional beam is what you get from these bulbs, so it does fulfill that promise. I always feel paranoid when fitting these bulbs though as they don't feel particularly strong; sounds strange, they are after all glass with a delicate by nature filament, but I have found that some branded bulbs feel thicker and not so fragile in the hand. I have also noticed that over (not that much!) time the reflective coating does start to show 'holes'. If the bulb lasted a good while the directional beam may be compromised a little by this.
They do however emit a fantastic amount of bright light which is yellow in colour, and what matters for me, a lot of heat! This is something to be careful of though, as if using them in a reading lamp or such they will get very hot, and will cause the fixture to get really hot too. You can expect them to be of lower quality than Philips, Osram or the like, as the price that comes with them is lower. As such I did expect the build quality and staying power to be less as well. The age old saying "You get what you pay for" definitely applies here I think.
~~~~~~ Overall ~~~~~~
Although I recognise it's false economy, I will continue to buy these bulbs as long as I can. Even knowing they won't last as long as other more expensive ones, the price at the time of buying is just much better and that can make the difference for a lot of people. I usually pay £3 for a box of four 40w or 60w, and £2 for a box of two 100w (in stores that still stock them). So that's not too bad as it's easier to stock up, meaning if you do lose a couple after a relatively short time it's no big deal to replace them. I do recognise though this this may be tempered by what I use them for; since to me they are a pet product, I have to ensure I always have spares, and buying more expensive ones would push the cost up too much for me.
I wouldn't widely recommend them for household use though, as their quality just isn't really up to it. Imagine how irritating it wold be if every week or so you have to pull the stepladder or the chair out to change a bulb in you ceiling fixture? That would drive me potty! I use energy savers throughout the house and save the electricity eating stuff for the beasts. They are neat bulbs though, with their streamlined shape allowing them to fit neatly in shades; the downside of energy savers of the same type is still the price, but I assume they will have to come down in price evetually, much like the original stick bulbs did.