Ike Adams

Ike Adams, Columnist

I’ve never actually taken the time to start in the basement and end up in the attic of our house with the sole purpose of counting all the light fixtures and lamps that require anywhere from one to as many as half a dozen bulbs to be operating at full capacity.

Doing so would require more effort than performing year-end inventory at a hardware store where every nail, bolt, nut and washer had to be accounted for by size shape and color.  

I’m not talking about Christmas lights or decorations, just stuff that’s either plugged in or permanently affixed or in the case of the attic and part of the basement, simply dangling. 

We’ve lived here for well over a decade, and I can promise you faithfully that there has never been a time when more than ninety percent of the light bulbs in this house would all illuminate at the same time. 

Three or four years ago some school kids or maybe it was a Scout Troop came around selling light bulbs guaranteed to last a lifetime and only consume about half the electricity of a normal bulb.

Of course they were very pricey — something like three bucks each compared to the normal three for a dollar that you could get at Big Lots, but the kids seemed honest enough so I broke down and bought two dozen in various wattage ratings.  

The way this deal worked was that you paid the kids up front and the bulbs would come in the mail.

Sure enough there was a lifetime warranty certificate in the package which I promptly stashed in my desk just in case I ever had to use it.

I proceeded to install four bulbs in the basement.

When I hit the switch, one of them flashed like lightning and blew out on the spot. To make a long story short the rest didn’t last a month. I pulled out the warranty intending to get my money back but that’s not the way it worked.

If I would mail the blown bulbs back to New Jersey and include $2 per bulb for shipping and handling, they would replace them for free. Yeah buddy. 

I still have a dozen of these bulbs that I have never installed because the threefers from Big Lots or the Dollar Store last much longer.

Anyway, only about half the bulbs in our house are what you would call normal. Some are candelabra types that require special threads. The bathroom vanity takes five that are roughly the size of cantaloupes.

Normally I wait until three are blown and when I replace them we will sometimes have all five lit up at the same time for two or three days.

We use yellow bulbs on the outside fixtures because they are not supposed to attract bugs. Of course they do, but Loretta insists there’s not as many. The only difference I’ve noticed is that they cost about as much as the lifetime warranty jobs, but they do seem to last longer.

Anyway, we were at a yard sale a few weeks back and a fellow had a large cardboard box full of  light bulbs of all shapes and sizes, and he swore that they were all burning or unused when he put them in the box.

He wanted a dollar for the whole thing and there were like 10 of the vanity bulbs that normally cost over a buck each. You never saw a dollar bill and a box of light bulbs change hands so fast in your life.

Then, after I got them in the car, I asked him why he was selling them, figuring that he was going to tell me about the school kids or Scout Troops and what a deal he’d gotten from them, but he said he had gone fluorescent throughout the house.

He had it all figured out as to how much money he would be saving and, like me, he could only make a rough estimate as to how many bulbs were actually in his house.

He said a 15-watt fluorescent put out more light than a 60-watt regular bulb and would last seven years compared to an average of about 300 hours for a normal bulb. He was figuring on saving well over a hundred dollars a year.

You’ve probably seen these things. They look like a sawed-off  suspension coil spring for the front wheel of a motorcycle, but you can buy covers to put over them if you want to use them on your vanity. 

I’ve put one in the overhead bathroom light and now have several knots on my forehead from bumping into the door frame. When I flip the switch there’s a full second delay before the light comes on, so I’m learning to slow down when nature calls.

The price on these things is really dropping. I bought a six pack for less than six bucks and the 15-watts really do put out a lot of light. 

I’m going back to Lowe’s one night this week and get a case and I’m going to spend half a day replacing every incandescent bulb in the house including the attic and the basement with fluorescent. 

If you are planning to visit me after dark and can’t find the house, just look for the house on Charlie Brown Road that’s all lit up. That’ll be my place.

In the meantime, granddaughter Amber is having a yard sale to raise money for the Lincoln County High School Cheerleading Squad in a week or two, and she has asked me to contribute something she can sell.

She will have a huge box of light bulbs in good working condition that you can probably get for less than five dollars.

Columnist Ike Adams can be reached at 249 Charlie Brown Road, Paint Lick, KY 40461 or by e-mail at ikeadams@aol.com.

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