/ Home & Energy

Farewell to 60 watt bulbs – are you sad to see them go?

Exploding light bulb

This time last year, I was writing about the demise of the 75W traditional light bulb, banned under EU rules. Now it’s the turn of 60 watt bulbs, which will also soon be disappearing from shop shelves.

The move is part of an EU initiative to phase out less efficient light bulbs by 2012 in favour of energy-savers.

Shops will no longer be able to buy new stocks of traditional clear 60W incandescent light bulbs from 1st September – following a similar ban on 75 watt bulbs last year, and 100 watt bulbs the September before that.

For shoppers, it means swapping over to energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), or newer LED or halogen bulbs instead – or alternatively stocking up on old-style bulbs before they’re gone for good.

Your light bulb leanings

So how will you be lighting up your home in the near future?

Love, hate – or hoard – them, the little light bulb has been a real talking point over the past year here on Which? Conversation, and lots of Convo commenters have been telling us how they’ve been dealing with the switchover in their homes:

  • CFL convert: ‘I now use Osram Duluxstar Mini Twist 23W spirals which give out light equivalent to somewhere between 100W and 150W tungsten, quite quickly. And I bought a Varilight Dimmable EnergySaver+ just a couple of weeks ago. Yes – DIMMABLE!’ said EMCman.
  • The stockpiler: ‘I really object to being forced into wasting money and time replacing these wall lights because of a totally unecessary ban on traditional bulbs. So I am doing what loads of others are doing – stockpiling old lamps to delay changing the lights – hopefully until either small golfball LEDS are available (and cheap) or the government sees sense,’ fumed John.
  • Hopeful about halogens: ‘We’ve just started using halogen bulbs. They use more power and aren’t so long lasting but are very bright and come on instantly. Not too expensive,’ Rosemary Nimmo commented.
  •  Liking LEDs: ‘I have replaced 12 x 50 watt halogens with these 3 LED, 3 watt, soft white bulbs which give out 300 lumens… I like the resulting light and I can use all of them at the same time and use less energy than one of the originals,’ said Daiverse.

Lighting up your home

Our lab-based tests suggest that the technology is improving, but the reputation of energy-saving light bulbs continues to be far from glowing, with various issues making the idea of change offputting to many of us.

So what are people’s main complaints? The ‘truly awful’ or ‘very dim’ light emitted, compatibility problems with specific lights, the aesthetics (‘ugly’), a dislike of the way the phase-out has been conducted (‘big brother banning’), and concerns about reports of a recent jump in the cost of CFLs.

So how are you dealing with the changeover in your household? Are you a grudging or enthusiastic energy-saving bulb user, an early adopter of LED lighting or have you got a supply of traditional bulbs large enough to keep you going for years to come?


There is still a need for conventional bulbs in specific applications i.e.
Bulkhead PIR outside security lamps which only come on for 2/3 mins when activated.
Low energy bulbs struggle to produce any light in that time especially when its below freezing !

steve chalcraft says:
31 August 2011

get your facts right… the Government is only working with major retailers. Shops can still buy any light bulbs.The regulation is no more manufacture or import. The Government has been giving out lamps to major retailers not to independents. The Government does not want small retailers !!!

My views on many aspects of this were posted last year on the 75w bulb convo and at many other times on other convo’s about CFL’s, so I won’t waste time repeating in detail (unless someone desperately wants me to and asks me to).

However, I will add a few points:

1) I’m glad that it isn’t just me that has noticed the (entirely predictable and indeed much commented on) massive jump in CFL prices lately. Anyone who did not expect this was naive in the extreme but as usual the poorest in society suffer least, not least in so far as ………

2) it is my understanding (and I hope someone ‘in the know’ will correct me if I am wrong) that “commercial” users (e.g. pubs, clubs, offices, and the like) will be exempt from the ban on 60w bulbs as they were on the previous bans on other bulbs. The reason quoted to me in a letter from Malcolm Wickes’ office (when he was the minister responsible for energy) was that “commercial viability” meant that only domestic users were affected. ***WHY is this allowed to happen?????***

3) I am very pleased that honesty is at last starting to creep into the CFL market and some of the better known (bigger) brands, as well as at leats one DIY chain (B&Q) are now labelling CFL’s with the real eqivalence to incandescent bulbs, not the over-infklated ones that have prevailed until very recently. Hence if you go to B&Q now to buy a CFL you will see that 20 watts is no longer paraded as equivalent to 150 watts incandescent and you’ll find that to get a 150w equivalent you need a 30w cfl. All other wattage’s in the B&Q own range, some Osram’s and some Megaman’s now also display these corrected equivalences. This can only be a good thing for the consumer but the cynic might wonder why the true ratings have only started to be shown now that incandescent lamps are all but obsolete.

4) Until last week I had not noticed the awful smell given off by some CFL’s, which has been commented upon by many other contributors to past posts. Last week teh CFL in my landing light shattered without warning (showering the stairs with glass fragments and the powder coating from inside the tube as well as releasing the toxic mercury from the lamp). That was a 30 watt Osram lamp, which had been in the fitting for about 10 months. I have a lot of other Osram CFL’s in use and have not had any other problems. However, when I went to buy a new 30w cfl I found that most of the local shops did not have one, so I ended up with a brand I’ve never heard of before (at a cost of over £5 I might add) from an independent hardware store. Immediately three things were obvious: a) it started instantly – that’s good!; b) the light is near-ultra-violet (it makes white clothes glow like night club UV lighting and makes the coffee coloured walls look grey) – I certainly can’t live with it and it will be in the dustbin in a few days as soon as I get a new Osram one; c) after only a few minutes in use it gives off a terrible melting plastic smell, which gets worse all the time it’s on – hence I dare not leave it on when I leave the house or over night as I always used to.

So, going back to the convo’s intro and the question about coping with the change: I’m not: as per usual Joe Public is being forced into having no choice at all of inferior products which may yet turn out to be dangerous to our health whilst being insulted by being told we have greater choice than ever.

It’s clear that CFL’s are a very poor technology to replace incandescent lighting and, whilst all reductions in energy use are to be applauded, the long-term cost of CFL’s remains to be seen and I have a growing fear that it will prove to be greater than keeping incandescent lamps.

HI Dave,

Another convo to get our teeth into!

I have three issues;

1. The Megaman R80 down lighters never last anywhere near the quoted 10,000 hours.

2. One of the Megaman bulbs started to smoke and I was lucky I was in the house/room at the time.

3. The cost is going to continue to rise due to the limited supply of the rare earths used and their source being China in the main.

Indeed David!

Oh how I hate being Casssandra though.

Some of us do listen to you, Dave, but perhaps too few…

Yes, I know, and I’m grateful and pleased – trouble is it is mainly “preaching to the converted” on most of these boards and we all need other people, in positions of influence to listen more.

Thanks for the comment – much appreciated.

Sorry but I am happy with CFLs. Like Dave, I have noticed that some manufacturers are being a bit more honest about their brightness compared with incandescent bulbs.

CFLs contain a tiny amount of mercury. Until recently you could buy mercury thermometers and calomel dust (to prevent club root on your brassicas), both of which contained much more mercury. Let’s keep this in perspective.

I’m looking forward forward to replacing my last three 60W incandescent bulbs with dimmable CFLs or affordable LED ‘bulbs’.

@Wavechange: I agree with much of what you say and I agree that this has to be in perspective (as should be everything else), but I do have a fundamental disagreement I’m afraid: mercury thermometers, calomel dust (and incandescent lightbulbs) **could** be purchased through **CHOICE** and were NOT used by EVERYBODY. CFL’s, on the other hand, are being forced upon all of us, appear not to be really ready for market yet and appear to have different drawbacks for different users.

I’m glad that you are happy with the cfl’s you are using and I must make it absolutely clear that I too am happy with the ones I have used to date because I have chosen to use them where they are satisfactory and stuck to incandescent in other places. As fewer incandescents become available and as my stocks run out I shall get progressively less happy with cfl’s as I am forced to use them in places where they are not really suitable.

If it was not for the fact that fluorescent lamps, CFLs and LEDs are much more efficient than incandescent lamps I would be 100% behind choice. Phasing out incandescent bulbs is being done to save a huge amount of energy. Hopefully LED lamps will become a lot cheaper soon. We will have choice and a product that avoids the drawbacks of CFLs.

I feel much more concerned about the prospect of replacing my old gas boiler with a more efficient model that is far more likely to break down and have a much shorter life. I really don’t think this has been well thought out.

I’m greedy: I want choice AND old reliable boilers!!!!


But seriously, I agree with you absolutely about boilers (off topic) and in my opinion the CFL lamp thing is just as badly thought out as the modern boiler thing.

Fluorescent and cfl lighting is great in some places but I don’t personally think it is a “one size fits all” (universal) solution. LED’s would be great in most places but need to get cheaper and much more reliable before they’ll get public backing. Cheaper, reliable, LED bulbs I think have the potential to be a universal solution.

Halogen can probably fill all but the rarest o the gaps left once LED’s are up to standard.

In the mean time, just like computer software that is released in “beta” (i.e. known to be faulty) format, and gas boilers that are forced upon us when the manufacturers have had to admit that the modern ones simply are not designed to cope with cold winters (how ludicrous!!!), CFL lamps should not be forced upon us whilst they are not up to scratch and alternatives are not either, and incandescents should not be forced off the market until CFL’s, LED’s and others ARE up to standard.

In that respect I maintain we should have a choice.

Fiona says:
1 September 2011

Here’s a petition to rescind the ban on traditional light bulbs: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/14655

Graham M says:
1 September 2011

From my experiences about “Energy Saving” light bulbs, they’re still not ready for prime time. Even the more upmarket bulbs suffer from poor colour rendering – for example, reds and oranges can appear as similar colours. Manufacturers are still not providing much information about the bulbs, especially when it comes to to the colour rendering index, but also sometimes leaving out luminosity. Bulbs often seem to fail to reach the proposed lifetime – sometimes with fairly serious failures on the controlling electronics!

This makes me wonder if we really need to have the electronics bits permanently attached to the bulb in the first place – many commercial light fittings (such as hotel rooms) often have the electronics built in to the fitting, meaning that only the part that wears out needs replacement – the tube itself.

As for LED bulbs – whilst the technology is progressing, manufactures seem to provide even less information on them than “Energy Saving” bulbs.

Colour rendering is getting better thanks to improvements in the phosphors used in CFLs. Since lamps differ we really need the manufacturers to put some information about colour on the packaging.

You are absolutely right about the electronics built into CFLs. This was done to make them a direct replacement for incandescent light bulbs. Now that bulbs are on their way out, we need to have the electronics in the fitting and not the lamp, which will save resources, avoid waste electronics and offer the possibility of smaller lamps.

Although (@wavechange), having the electronics in the fitting will make CFL type lamps suitable for even fewer fittings than they are now, causing greater dissatisfaction from many consumers, including outrage from owners of ‘posh’ homes with antique fittings (who are likely to be the sort of folk with political influence too) and will promote a vast quantity of waste as people throw out otherwise perfectly good fittings that they have to replace to fit the cfl electronics in.

A bit of a double-edged sword that one: needs further thought (rather like the whole cfl issue in general).

I am not suggesting that current bayonet and screw-fitting CFLs should disappear but we move to having electronics in new light fittings rather than in the lamp. These are already widely used in commercial light fittings as Graham has pointed out.

@Wave change – yes, I like that idea and in fact I gave my mum and dad a decorative landing light about 20 years ago with “2D” bulbs in it which is exactly what you describe – that has been wonderful for them ever since and continues to work brilliantly.

I installed a 28W 2D lamp because I wanted a lamp that was brighter than a single CFL. It’s great except that the lamps don’t seem to last as long as CFLs.

See, this is the other puzzle I have over CFL’s and similar -life span. My parents’ 2D fitting is on the landing and is on all night every night from dusk to around 7 a.m., summer and winter. It’s been up since about 1994 and it’s only had 3 replacement lamps (including the one in it now) in all that time, yet Wavechange is saying the 2D lamps are not lasting as long as cfl’s for him.

Conversely I have CFL’s in my landing light, also on all night every night, and they barely last a year at best and some only 3 or 4 months, compared to tungsten lamps that used to last 3 or 4 years on average in the same light used the same way. I also have CFL’s in the outside dawn-dusk security lights and I’m lucky if I can get a year out of any of them (there are 3). One managed only 7 weeks in the light at the front door last winter – but I assume the exceptional cold had something to do with that.

My bedside lamp has a CFL in it which ahs been in since 24/07/2007 so far and is working well, but I recall that the one before it was very short-lived (a mater of months as I remember) and I was so furious at how poor it had been that I started to write the date of fitting onto the collar of all cfl’s from then on to monitor their life.

I’ve never bought any of the brand-less cfl’s and I’ve never used the freebies sent by electricity companies and the like – they have all been given to charity shops untouched because I don’t trust them to be safe. I always buy Osram or Sylvania through choice and I’ve had a few megaman’s too, but the failures seem random amongst the brands so I can’t see a pattern there either and other posters on here have said that even some big brands (Megaman was one) have caught fire, so I’m not only puzzled by the different lifespans that people get but also concerned about safety too and I don’t know how to confidently avoid either issue.

I’m not sure our personal observations on a small number of lamps would be considered statistically valid. 🙂

I have probably killed my 2D lamps by switching them on and off frequently, since the fitting has an old fashioned choke ballast. Electronic units including all but the earliest CFLs seem much more tolerant to frequent switching on and off.

Just moving over from 50w halogen bulbs to 4w leds.

The latter aren’t cheap to buy but I am pleased with the light from them and of course running costs are 1/12.

Adrian says:
1 September 2011

I still don’t get the energy saving argument of CFLs. Sure, tungsten bulbs ‘waste’ 90% of the electric energy they use by producing unwanted heat; so your 100 watt tungsten bulb produces 10 watts of light and 90 watts of wasted heat. But who says that heat is wasted? It warms my house a little and reduces my heating costs. OK, 90 watt electric ‘heaters’ on the ceilings is not the most efficient way to heat a room but still, not all of that ‘wasted’ energy is actually lost.

It just irritates me that this never seems to be factored in to the quoted lifetime cost comparisons between tungsten and CFLs. Same goes for the environmental cost of disposal. Both conveniently ignored in the simplistic calculation of cost savings.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m still a fan of CFLs. They’re great for hard to reach lights where fewer changes are desirable and are particularly good for fittings where the bulb is horizontal rather than vertical orientation ….. which kills tungsten bulbs very quickly. They also allow you to fit brighter lights in fittings that are limited to low wattage because of heat build-up from tungsten bulbs.

So I use CFLs, but I don’t buy the simplistic version of the energy saving claims. I look forward to affordable LED lamps (we have them as counter lights in our kitchen and they’re great!) but I’m not holding my breath for an affordable equivalent to the old 150 watt tungsten bulbs. I bought a couple of boxes of 100s and 150s before the removal of 100s …… they should see me out!

If you sit under a reading lamp with a reflector bulb you will certainly benefit from the heat generated. The heat generated by light fittings in the ceilings is in the wrong place to be useful.

I’ve already changed most of the bulbs/lamps call them what you will to CFLs but there are a couple of places where I still need incandescents; the outside lights being one, the stairwell being another. What really annoys me is the way in which we’re continually forced into these changes by legislation, digital TV, digital radio, CFLs and now smart meters. If something offers a real advantage to consumers they’ll buy it and the old product will eventually become obsolete, if it doesn’t it’ll die off. Why force people into buying products which might not suit their needs and which may actually be inferior?


Ian F says:
1 September 2011

They have awful power factors – bad for distribution and generation.
The light output fades horribly over the lifetime of the bulb.
They overheat and die early.
They contain significant quantities of mercury VAPOUR.


So I replace the bulbs early to get over the fading output. I have a stock of failed bulbs waiting for the facilities to safely recycle the dangerous mercury vapour. I currently buy the blasted things based upon mercury content : unsurprisingly the low mercury bulbs cost more. I seriously doubt that I’m saving much money at all 🙁

I didn’t realise that the mercury content varied and I’ve never thought of looking: I will do now.

The disposal is a big issue round here: as I’ve posted before the bin men refuse to take your bin at all if they so much as suspect a “wrong item” is in it – including cfl’s – and if you take them to the council recycling centres (“dumpit sites” with a new name!) they charge you for ‘recycling’ them as WEEE.

Not surprisingly many people (me certainly included) conceal the Cfl’s inside other waste (such as inside an empty cat food tin which is inside a bread bag tied up) and place them in the bin – which of course is NOT environmentally friendly – or worse (and I don’t do this) they are fly-tipped.

Governments, councils and manufacturers never take any initiative or responsibility for these on-costs of new products and to have the products forced upon us without any suitable facility for dealing with the waste is unforgivable ….. but very common.

1 September 2011

We will always need tungsten bulbs for stairs, passages, cupboards, larder, loo etc. They are not a waste of electricity, being only on for a few minutes. A low energy bulb is dim till it is turned off again. Don’t tell us the new ones are much more responsive – I have a vast stock of old ones given away free some years ago.


Here’s a thought for you to consider when mulling over life spans and possible savings.

When John Rylands died in 1888 his wife, Enriqueta, built a library in his memory. It is the famous John Rylands Library on Deansgate in Manchester. Mrs. Rylands spared no expense and wanted her library to be illuminated by the newfangled electrical lighting.

The library was built between 1889 and 1900 and opened to the public in 1900.

Throughout it was illuminated by tungsten filament lamps just like the ones that are still in billions of homes and shops and offices now but are being phased out.

In 2003 the library was re-wired and it was discovered that a significant percentage of the bulbs in the fittings that were still working were original bulbs fitted in the 1890′s and in daily use ever since.

Some of these tungsten lamps were re-fitted after the rewire and continue to operate now.

Tungsten filament lamps in daily use for over a century and still working: you’d have to have some friggin’ amazing cfl’s to make any economically viable sense of replacing them and you’d also have to have some amazing recycling schemes for the CFL’s not to me thousands of times more polluting on disposal than several hundred over a century old tungsten lamps.

And finally, the tungsten lamps have not damaged the priceless manuscripts and texts in the library, but the UV light emitted from cfl’s would do so in hours. let along decades or a century.

I know this is not 100% relevant as most of us don’t have working 120+ year old bulbs in our homes, but the point I’m making is that saving a few watts of energy and a few pennies on the electricity by fitting cfl’s is all well and good (and welcomed) but it isn’t the be all and end all of the issue.

Richard English says:
2 September 2011

Incandescant bulbs will last almost for ever if they are underrun – which is almost certainly the case in this library. However, the lower the filament temperature the less the light output. The traditional 1000 hour incandescant bulb is a compromise between service length and light output; reduce the voltage by 10% and the bulb will last much longer but the light output will be much less. Increase it and the opposite applies.

And the point of this is that the electricity costs far, far more than the bulb and so underrunning an incandescent bulb will save its replacement cost – but the extra electricity cost will be far more than any saving. A 100 watt bulb uses a unit of electricity every 10 hours – just do the arithmetic – depending on what you pay for the bulb and the electricity, the electricity cost probably equals the bulb cost in about a week. It is quite pointless to underrun bulbs in the hope of saving money; all that you save is the hassle of changing the things.

CFLs save money as they use far less electricity – the saving in electricity cost well outweighs cost of the lamp.

Quartz halogen bulbs save money by virtue of running at a far higher temperature and thus giving more light for the same amount of electricity – the saving is less than that for CFLs but still significant and, again, the cost of the electricity is far more than the cost of the lamp.

@Richard – Agree in principle with your points, but, like the PR hype, you focus only on monetary cost. Environmental cost is a different thing (and cfl’s with their nasties in them and used to make them are almost certainly going to end up being worse than tungsten for the environment).

Also, you do not mention that cfl’s cost vastly more to buy than tungstens, so the saved power has to be a great deal more to pay for them.

And moving away from the cost / benefit of the actual lamp itself, what about the issues like the UV light issue that I mentioned and any possible health issues – as some other posters have raised? Surely we are not going to let dictators force the ruination of priceless artefacts in museums and libraries and what about our own prized possessions, regardless of fiscal value?

As I said in my original post at the top of the convo, I applaud all reductions in energy use, but I don’t advocate mirmydon-style unthinking compliance that results in damage in the longer term.

David B says:
1 September 2011

Most of the bulbs in my house are now CFLs except for the one in the store room which only gets put on for a few seconds at a time, so no point in putting one in there as it would take too long to brighten up. I think they are ok for general lighting, but for detailed work such as reading etc I use a small halogen lamp which is only about 11 watts. My bedside lamp has a 11 watt CFL and it is ok for reading because I am sat right next to it; the perceived brightness of these bulbs tails off the further away from them you are, so might not be suitable for houses with high ceilings. I often find the 21 watt CFL’s a bit overpowering, the biggest one I use is 15 watt in the kitchen and bathroom which is ideal.

I wish I could get away with such low wattages! I have to have at least 25w cfl in any room where I am going to read (and I am supposed to have 20/20 vision) and anything as low as 11w would be so dingy even in the loo that i doubt it would be much use. Almost all my cfl’s are 15w in table lamps and 25 or 30 w in ceiling fittings. I use a couple of cfl 5w gold balls in some tiny art deco table lamps that were never intended to give a functional light even with tungsten bulbs. The standard lamp is the exception: I refuse to put cfl’s in that because they can be seen and look ugly under the shade, they can be seen *through* the shade as the silk is quite thin and they make the shade look a foul colour even though it’s actually a period-correct very apricot warm coloured fabric. I use those large “decor lamp” tungsten bulbs that are like huge versions of the golf ball bulbs in there, and if I ever find I can’t get them I’ll use the Phillip’s Halogena type bulbs which I have tried in there before.

I do not like the light produced from these energy effecient bulbs, I will also need to change most of my light fittings which use candle bulbs because these new bulbs will not fit.

JohnPope says:
2 September 2011

I have almost totally converted to CFLs but I would like to move on to LED lighting. However the ‘bulbs’ are still hellishly expensive and tend to be spots rather than general.

Perhaps in the future we shall run low voltage and low power nets round our houses specifically for lighting to eliminate the transformerrectifyers in the current LED bulbs

As I still have a stock of the old bulbs and the new ones don’t work with dimmers I will carry on with the trusted old ones that actually last longer than the more expensive supposedly eco ones.

Trevor says:
2 September 2011

I am a great supporter of the traditional light bulb. My late mother used energy saving ones and it was as if the house was lit by gas they were too dim for comfortable reading. Its about time we stood up to the EU beuracrats and did it our way. The way the French do when things don’t suit them. If the authorities are concerned about wasting energy then why not turn off empty city centre buildings that are like christmas trees. I would seriously think about importing light bulbs from outside the EU such as Russia where they are still legal. Why are we being conned all the time.

I have fitted 12 of the spiral low energy bulbs, they come on within a second, I checked, at full luminance. I bought mine in Poundland, initially at 3 for a pound and then the Small Screw Edison types at £1 each. These are 11 watts each. I guess they are the equivalent of 40 watts each.

I am currently checking out LED surface fitting GU 10 types, I bought 2 off, these are 80 led types and give 490 lumens of light and are brighter than the standard Halogen type GU 10. These are warm white but are still a more white colour than the halogen. I am planning to fit 20 in the house.
Cost of these depends on the number bought but at full price of £4.99 they pay for themselves inside of a year. (You can only get this price on the Internet, retailers will charge you £8.00 each) This is on a ball park figure of each light being on for 2 hours each day of the year.
I estimate that this will reduce my electric light bill by £100 p.a.

If you prefer halogen GU 10 50 watt bulbs then they are £1 for 2 in Poundland shops.
Don’t think that as they are cheap they may be inferior.
A few years ago a good friend of mine was importing 60 watt incandescent light bulbs from China to sell in the large stores, he paid 20p per hundred bulbs, and container transport is very cheap.
It is the big stores that are over charging!

What about chandeliers – I have 2 modest ones in my hall and a folded flouro would look awful in it, Currently I use 60w clear bulbs. Looks like it will have to be 60w cndle bulbs and they cost around £1.50 each, rather different from 3 or 4 for a pound!

Roger Buston says:
2 September 2011

It is disappointing that “freedom of choice” is being quite unnecessarily restricted.

The “new” supposedly energy efficient bulbs ( which are far more costly to buy : how efficient is that ?) have their place, undoubtedly……as further do the older incandescent style.

There are some places where only a 150w Incandescent, coming on immediately,( let alone a 60w) will do. If this were not the case they would not sell, and manufacturers would not make them.

There are far more places where energy efficiciency could be promoted : leave our poor old lightbulb alone !

Richard English says:
2 September 2011

The biggest issue I have with CFLs is that the highest rated ones that are easily available at a reasonable price are those which are (rather optimistically) said to be the equivalent of an old 100 watt incandescant bulb. And they are simply not bright enough for my installation and I do not really want to have to install more luminaires.

My first thought was to do what we used to do years ago – put in a multi-way adaptor that allows the use of two or three bulbs in one lampholder. But I found, when I started searching, that these adaptors have been discontinued – although nobody could tell me for certain why. One suggestion was that they enabled users to draw too much current from a lampholder – but that doesn’t make a lot of sense; we have fuses in circuits to deal with that very problem. And it made even less sense to me when I went to Canada and found that multi-way adaptors are available in all hardware stores.

So I was able to solve the problem by buying some Canadian multi-way adaptors (obviously Edison Screw, not bayonet) and then buying ES lamps and bayonet to EX adaptors. I now have two CFLs in the luminaires that peviously only held one and thus have twice the light. And so far now problems either elctrical or mechanical.

But how daft to have to go to such trouble and expense to solve such a simple problem. Maybe someone can tell me just why multi-way adaptors were banned after probably a century of quite satisfactory service and why, if they are so dangerous, they are still used in Canada and the USA – where, of course, with a 110 volt line, the current will be twice as high as in the UK to start with.