MC is On A Tear

Evidently, ‘Puter gave Operative MC the weekend off for the holiday, because MC has whacked the Czar with not one but two unrelated questions.

I didn’t know this until yesterday, not having bought a ceiling fan in the last year or two. A friend of my wife’s (Operative SC) told me about this.

1) A ceiling fan light fixture can’t operate with more than 190W of lighting. So you can’t have a fan in your kitchen (where you’d like to have a bit more light) running with 4 60W bulbs. The nanny state mandates a cutoff circuit that will shut your light fixture down if you want >190W of light.

2) If your make a fixture with a regular “medium screw base ”, you are required to include CFL bulbs with it. Apparently, most manufacturers have chosen not to make fixtures with the standard light bulb base, opting for the smaller “candelabra ” base to avoid the requirement. I haven’t checked this out yet in the stores, but my wife’s friend has taken to going to thrift stores to look for old ceiling fan light fixtures that have the standard bulb bases.

Incredibly, the ceiling fan is the most dangerous thing ever invented, as evidenced by the new federal requirements for them. No doubt this is all in the Constitution somewhere, because the Czar through the NFPA handled all this in the National Electrical Code.

Anyway, MC is right that there is a new federal limit that puts your new ceiling fans at a 190 Watt limit. Basically, that’s three 60 Watt bulbs plus a tad more to operate the fan. Good news: if you exceed 190 total Watts (and actually, about 75% of that, or 142.5 Watts), a wattage regulator in the fan will simply kill the power to the fan kit. Bad news: people are reporting by the scores that this is blowing out their incandescent bulbs at a crazy rate.

So what do you do? Well, if you want more than three incandescent bulbs, you need to drop to a lower wattage—say, four 40-Watt bulbs or five 25-Watt bulbs. Or, you can use one of the more expensive Government-love child CFL bulbs, which produce the equivalent of 60 Watts of light or more but use much less power.

And MC’s second point is exactly correct. If you manufacture fans, and you elect to use CLF bulbs to get around the 190W limit, you have to include the bulbs in the package (which is better than buying the fan kit, putting it up, and then discovering you ain’t got bulbs). Otherwise, if you elect to use the traditional screw-in type incandescent bulbs, you have to include screw-in type CFLs or else you must put in the regulator that kills the unit if total draw is more than 190 Watts.

Freaking President Obama, you say? Well, MC, this actually goes back to the Bush era. The requirements came out of the EPACT2005 legislation that was enacted in 2006. The above goofiness only became enforced on January 1, 2007: so it has been more than 3 years since you bought a fan kit.

On the one hand, 190 Watts is a lot of light, actually: most bedrooms and kitchens only need 120 W to meet basic activity requirements: enough to cover a 40 square-foot pool in the center of the room. Supplemental lighting and task lighting is expected to cover the rest. Take a look around your own home, and look at the lighting loads you have to cover a given area. The recommended allowance is 3 Watts per square foot: the Czar is willing to bet you have a lot less than that in your bedrooms and kitchen. Most bedrooms rarely have more than three 60-Watt bulbs operating at once. With a 120-square-foot bedroom, you have at most 1.5 watts going per square foot, and you are quiet comfortable with that. In a kitchen, the ceiling fan covers usually just the center of the room, with can lights or other lights covering the food prep and cooking areas, yes? So limiting a fan to 190W and using long-lasting CFL bulbs is ultimately a non-problem for the average homeowner.

On the other hand, what the hell? What kind of ridiculous regulation is this? If The Czar is willing to pay for 2,000 total Watts in his kitchen, and buy and replace incandescent bulbs to maintain this load, who but the Czar suffers? The odds are very few people will bother with this. Look, the Czar gets a regulation that stops a lot of people from doing harmful things unwittingly; but a regulation like this, that prohibits very few people from doing something wasteful personally, is not a Nanny State issue. It is clearly an industry or a specific lobby group getting something passed that benefits them with no apparent effect to the average person. The Czar suspects you could look into the origin of this specific regulation and makes the prediction: it has nothing to do with energy savings. And it has everything to do with getting low-cost CFL bulbs in from China and shutting out some emerging country who could have done incandescents cheaper.

And, MC adds:

Mighty Czar,

The RNC chairman, at an RNC event, said that Afghanistan is “a war of Obama’s choosing. This was not something that the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.”

OMFG. Resign, hell. Someone put the gun on his desk, step outside, and hope he does the right thing. Micheal Steele, leave the Republican Party. Now. You’re a moron, and an embarrassment. STFU, and GTFO.

Well, the link has William Kristol agreeing with MC. But for the record, war in Afghanistan is not something the US wanted to engage in. The Czar views our efforts there in 2001 as a counterattack, not an offensive engagement. However, it appears that Mr. Steele has forgotten his own sense of history here and was not clarifying a point so much as stepping in it and sliding around for a bit. Not so good.

About The Czar of Muscovy

Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia by upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.