housing affordability is it just australia that is over priced?


History has shown a complex pendulum effect between far left and far right ideals combined with a compound of dictatorship vs democracy of those ideals. Interestingly, when the pendulum swings, it doesn't drag the entire populus with it. Some sag down in the middle which has a damping effect. Periodically, (about a 30 year cycle or one generation) the compound frequencies of those two fundamentals combine to cause a peek and the outcome often results in major events such as war. However, there does seem to be ever decreasing amplitude to the swing which indeed suggests a merging of the parties involved.
Either that or people are now simply too scared to voice their oppinions for fear of not being PC and being outcast from todays "acceptable" behaviour and "favoured" way of thinking.

Immigration.. IMHO I don't see how imcomming can help the country but some think it does. Works both ways, good tallent and the rich leaving is possibly doing more harm. Worst case will be if a critical point is reached where the "middle road" start to leave because they don't like the way things are moving. The move will then become exponential rather than damped.

An interesting scenario you paint Rickharris. Reminds me of "Logan's run"!
The downfall of such a society as I see it is the greedy. Where exactly are you going on this conveyor of cars and why? To work? to do something you don't want to do?
Suppose my need is greater than yours or at least I perceive it to be. I have two options. Force you out of the way or give you an incentive to get out of my way. If you keep getting forced, then you might want to "employ" somebody to stop it happening. If I give incentive "money" then we are back to square one. Who would maintain/manage the system. I wouldn't, I don't want to, unless of course you make it worth my while and to do that I would expect to progress to to a better way of life than the guy next to me or there is simply no point me doing it.
I could simply be polite and let you go first and look after the transport system out the goodness of good spirit and good will to the comunity, only to be a slave to the lazy sod next door who can't be bothered.
Nice idea, can't see it ever happening and if it did, where would be the will to live. What would be the drive that gets us out of bed to "fight" for our very existance. Remember, it is the variation in that level of drive that makes the world what it is today.

Edited by - beaniebots on 30/08/2007 21:09:51


Senior Member
one of the biggest problems we seem to have down here is that not only do we have a lack of serious lack of alternate governments to vote for, but the ones who are in "power" don't generally care about the poor and know they'll win the next election because there is a lack of serious opposition to vote for

on top of that we have our two biggest supermarket chains have been allowed to aquire %80 of the market and they've done it by undercutting the little guy in the corner shop and charging more when the local competition is gone aside from lowering "fresh food" quality which isn't exactly fresh at over 6 months old

then our petrol suppliers playing every card they can to knock prices up,, war in iraq,terrorist attacks, sparrows passing wind in china..... etc yet the announce billion dollar profits that get bigger every year..... hmmm

as for this catalymisc event, i've got my money on late 2012 at a rough guess it'll probably be some kind of deadly super bug we can't treat easily or in time as aparently some of these little viruses are geting harder and harder to treat

if that doesn't happen i dare say we'll probably just tick on like we have been for the last 100 or so years the poor will get poorer and the richer wil just get richer

maybe just existing is enough.....


New Member
Dippy - some of the best dinner parties I have ever been to are ones where the 'big 4' taboo subjects were discussed (death, sex, religion and politics). And some of the funniest and most memorable occasions were when someone (probably deliberately) espoused a really provocative point of view.

In my experience people interested in electronics and engineering tend to be the thinkers and the doers in society - and probably the sorts of people well placed to offer solutions.

Interesting 2012 came up. I have just been to a government thinktank meeting where they were talking about 2012 being the year that the ageing population and a decline in the workforce combine to create a real crisis in the public health system. The solution is going to be to increase skilled immigration. Australia (like the US etc) has a great tradition of immigration. Our small medical practice has just put on two new staff - both are recent immigrants from the UK and both were the best people for the job by a big margin.

Come and live in Oz! (and if you bring pounds sterling you will be able to afford a pretty nice house)


Senior Member
Great ideas peeps!

Here’s a provocative one. I often think that the biggest problem we have as a species is our success. IE. Overpopulation. And the solution? Global Thermonuclear War of course. And judging by recent events, Vladimir Putin agrees with me.

BTW. A few years ago I had an epiphany. I realised the meaning of life. I’ll tell you all. But you’re not going to like it.

Evolution did not start with life. It began when the universe began. 13.7 billion years ago. At the time it was mostly hydrogen, but it evolved. Clumps formed under the influence of gravity, and fusion began to manufacture heavier elements. Then supernovas made even heavier elements, allowing more complex chemistry, and rocks and water and large, self replicating molecules. Etc.

At every stage in this evolution, entropy has accelerated. Entropy always increases with time, but I mean ACCELERATED. Each new epoch creates an opportunity for entropy to happen more rapidly. And life, in all its forms (yes, all over the universe), is just the latest method the cosmos has for accelerating entropy.

Everyone knows that energy is never used up, or consumed. Merely converted from one form to another until it ends up as heat. When the universe has no more stored energy, no local temperature differences to employ to do work, then the universe has died.

Even the simplest chemical processes need energy. The first simple life forms were much better at moving energy down the chain than any non living chemistry. The more complex the life form, the better it is at converting stored energy into heat. A long wavelength infra-red image of the surface of the earth will show you precisely where the most energy hungry areas are (where the most complex chemistry is going on). Flowers are better than grass, birds are better than bees …. Humans need the most energy of every organism on the planet. And that’s BEFORE you take into account the fabulous technology we have that is orders of magnitude better then anything natural (at converting energy to heat).

And that’s what life is. It’s the latest cosmic tool to speed up entropy, and probably not the last. You’re an entropy accelerator. So don’t get ideas above your station.

I said you wouldn’t like it.

-Boris Burke.


New Member
Yea that actually makes sense. Makes one seem rather insignificant. Mind you, that was the argument John Cleese and Eric Idle used to persuade people to donate their livers while they were still alive - sing the Galaxy Song to them and make them feel insignificant. I'm not buying this at all. You just want my liver...


Senior Member
yes there is the feeling of insignificance,
it's a kind reminder that while we are in fact tiny and insignificant in the grander scheme of things,it's all relative to how big you are


I rather like the notion that we are nothing more than the seeds of Gaia (look it up)being cultivated to go forth and 'fertilise' other worlds to make them into her own form.


(Tongue in Cheek):
Boriz: "The more complex the life form, the better it is at converting stored energy into heat."

The best heat converters I've seen are a) Politicians from wherever, or b) People who 'work' in the European Commission/Parliament.
Boriz, are you really suggesting they are a more complex life form? :)

There's a strange chap down our local pub. I'm sure he said that he regularly goes to a Gaia Club in Bournemouth. I must ask his opinion on Life, the Universe and Everything. His friend looks like a Marxist (he has a moustache) so I'll get his opinion too.

Anyway, back in the real (capitalist) world: can anyone tell me of a country with a near-ideal political/social system? (i.e. where the Grass is greener)?

As for no-one earns anything because they don't have to.. can you imagine the problems that would build up?
Eg: Why should I risk my neck up a high-voltage pylon dangling from a helicopter so that you (a librarian) can see which book the customer wants? So, those two jobs have the same value? Nah.
Money is an interchangeable bartering currency. It means I don't have to give you 0.65 of a sheep in exchange for you to service my car. That's why it was invented.

Whilst I agree that greed and power are unpleasant corruptors, those who make the most effort or take the greatest risks (legally and morally that is) should be able to get the greater returns.

Anyone see the results of that meeting in Iceland about projections for agricultrual production in the future? Worrying, me hearties.

And DON'T get me on the subject of CFLs. What a con!


Senior Member
the the compact flourescent lights are a joke
my in laws installed 58 low volatge downlights when they built their house they use clf lights in the bathrooms so far the downlights have been there for 8 years and not one has blown, yet they have been through somwhere over 12 compact flouros in the same time

at the place we rent we've got 4 compact flouros and we just leave them on permenently
and they seem to last a long while (over 12months) they cost us bugger all to run considering we are perminently on the "off peak rate" ... long storey short the box that switches the meters between "on peak" and "off peak" is stuck on off peak you'd think after 4 years somone would notice


Senior Member
For all you world weary netizens I was about to mention Iceland as a bolthole in fact,as that country has perhaps the worlds best quality of life.

In response to Dr-Acula however I'd have to say New Zealand is up there too,& unlike his mob over the pond in Oz. we Kiwis even speak the sort of lingo ex pats from Blighty can usually understand. And -YES- our beer is warmer as well! I ask you -what more could 60 million disgruntled Brits. actually need?!

On a more rational note it may be worth pondering typical 1907 lifestyles for a moment. That's right- REALLY pre Google. Even the worlds most downtrodden can now enjoy egalitarian aspects of 2007 life that would then have been the stuff of science fiction.

Never mind CFLs(which personally I've had an outstanding run with),I've a sprightly 101 yo. neighbour in fact who recalls she'd never seen <b>anything </b> electrical until well into her teens,&amp; even a humble light switch was quite magical when finally encountered. Food? As recently as the late 1960s many in Asia were in near perpetual starvation, yet now (with populations doubled) countries such as India &amp; China are food exporters. Communications? You want to hear about handle winder telephones from my childhood when even to call over the next hill cost $? (Last year in India I regularly encountered even beggars with cell phones)

For those who fail to sense my enthusiasm, how about pondering Ben King's (1857-1894) pessimistic &quot;The Sum of Life&quot; -<i> Nothing to do but work, nothing to eat but food ... <A href='http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ben_King's_Verse/The_Pessimist' Target=_Blank>External Web Link</a> </i>

EXTRA: DPG- Suggest you keep quiet about that energy meter,or a lot of extension cords may appear over the fence from your neighbours.

Edited by - manuka on 31/08/2007 11:40:30


I have to come to the CFL defense.
Where are you guys buying them from? I have many which have been running for over ten years now. Even the new cheap (&lt;&#163;1) from china have been going a couple of years trouble free. The only failures I've ever had were given to me free by British Gas when I had the boiler serviced. It was a pack of three 15W made by Philips. Two failed to ever light and the third packed up after about 3 days. Other than that, so far 100% reliability to-date with only a significant (~50%) output reduction on the ten year old ones.

Let&#8217;s consider an 11W CFL which equates to 55W incandescent equivalent output.
Current domestic electricity is 8p/kWhr.
Throughout its on life, the CFL will save money at a rate of 44W which is 0.352p/Hr.
With an expected life span of 10,000hrs, that's a total electric saving of &#163;35.20.
Assume an average use of 3 hrs per day. The 10,000 hrs will used up in 9.1 years.
Approximating to round numbers, that&#8217;s roughly a saving of &#163;3.50 per year.
To get a similar amount of annual income from investment would require investing &#163;70 @ 5% in a bank or similar.
So lets say your CFL cost &#163;5.
The saving after 10 years would be about &#163;30.
If you invested the &#163;5 @ 5% and re-invested the interest you would have &#163;8.10 after 10 years.
So, even taking all that into account, you are still better off by &#163;22 after 10 years per bulb.

Getting back to the political debate:-
&quot;the rich get richer &amp; the poor get poorer&quot;
I have to disagree, at least as far as the Western World is concerned. It may seem that way but consider how bad it used to be before the welfare state, human rights and social workers. If you were poor, you would likely starve to death, if you were rich, you probably owned most of the county including the people who lived on it.
Now, if you are poor, you don't have a car quite as good as the guy down the road. If you are rich, the tax man takes it all away and gives it to the poor.
It might not be to the level that some people would desire but it is certainly moving towards a level of equality. By no stretch of the imagination is the gap getting larger. Even Bill Gates cannot claim to have control and ownership of an empire comparable to what the Romans had.

Edited by - beaniebots on 31/08/2007 11:57:35


I'm not moaning about CFL running costs BB. We can all do the math. - if they work...

I replaced 18 bulbs with CFLs. 5 years ago.
2 Panasonic. Still working.
6 German made Osrams. One has failed recently. That's OK.

10 Chinese made. 1 failed &lt; month. 3 failed within 6 months. None lasted 20 months, including one that went up in a cloud of acrid smoke.
2 were replaced under warranty. They have now failed. So that's 12 gone in under 2 years. All the latter were in open fittings with free ventilation. None were switched on/off rapidly. Light switches good quality MK.
All now replaced with more expensive OSram.

AND, of course my environmentally friendly friends, you are MEANT to dispose of them in the same way as standard Fluorescent tubes because they contain mercury. So, for me that's a 14 mile drive.

And to replace all those bulbs over the country we'll need a diesel powered ship to bring them over. And another ship 6 months later to bring the replacements.

So, tell me, how much has that saved the planet?

For me: spend a bit more for the proper make. OR wait a couple of years for decent LED lighting at an 'appealing' price.

Iceland. I found the Hydrogen sulphide smell particularly invigorating and &#163;6 for a pint of Carlsberg most acceptable. Seriously, it is a really nice clean and tidy place. People are great. Recommended. But not much to do outside Reykjavik if you're under 40.

The &quot;Great Global Warming Swindle&quot; was excellent TV.


Dippy, have you tried any LED lighting.
I tried out some 1W &quot;Golf Balls&quot; by BELL Lighting. (always been very impressed with BELL)
VERY dissapointing.
They are advertised as 10W equivalent and rumours have suggested LED is 2X better than CFL so it sounded very plausible. I would say the light output is closer to watt for watt equivalent.
The only exception was the blue one. A 1W blue LED gives about the same light as a 40W blue incandescent or a 7W blue CFL. But not everyone wants their house lit up in blue!
Forget red and amber. I can only describe their output as a &quot;glow&quot;. Certainly no useable light. When placed next to a 3W CFL, it is not possible tell if they are on or off.
With the 'white' bulbs, the colour matching was also very bad. (sample of 3).
I've not yet tried any of the 3W GU10 type LED lights but after this experience I don't think I'll bother until somebody else raves about them or gives me a demo.


Senior Member
i think you really have to define who the poor actaully are and who the rich actaully are before trying to make a comparison or an observation about the gap between them, from where i'm sitting it's definetly getting bigger and bigger compared,


Senior Member
DPG : But does the gap between rich and poor actually define the two ?

One could say the rich have the wealth to obtain whatever they need and access to the means to gain the wealth to get what they do not have, while the poor do not have the wealth to obtain what they need and limited access to gain the wealth to get what they do not have.

For Marx that probably fits with the bourgeoisie sitting on their backsides needing to do no work because their wealth keeps growing while the proletariat see the fruits of their labour fund the bourgeoisie while having to obtain any wealth subsidy from the bourgeoisie, and in doing so boost their wealth through interest payments.

The trick of the modern capitalist system was to create the notion of the Middle Class so people think of themselves as bourgeoisie when they are really proletariat. The gullible Middle Class are thrown just enough sops to keep them believing they are bourgeoisie, the upper-class, while working as proxy oppressors of the, now lower-class, proletariat.

Perhaps the true definition or distinction between of rich and poor is; do I have to work to get my wealth, or is someone else working to generate my wealth ?

Few have a problem with those working harder deserving greater rewards, and greater rewards are often the motive for working hard, and few would have a problem with those who have worked hard then putting their feet up to rest on the laurels of what they worked hard to get.

As to the bourgeoisie, the aristocracy, they do not and did not work hard to get what they have. They stole or took, and those who are in that privileged class now are solely there through good fortune of birth and the past misfortune of others. And simply through that good fortune are treated preferentially to others. That's the deepest class divide, the true rich-poor divide as Marx saw it.


That doesn't sound very good BB.

Personally, if I bought something on a claim like that and it was miles out I'd get a refund and then report them to Trading Standards. I'm sure there must be a new invented member of staff called the &quot;Environmental Sunstainability Facilitating Market Research Manager&quot; there.

Where were they made btw?
I've heard that Beijing watts are a bit smaller.

Have no fear, LEDs will get there and those ghastly, undimmable , susceptible-to-rapid-switching, slow-starting lumps of chod called CFLs will be consigned to the rubbish bin of history.

Come on PICAXErs; an 08M and a few Golden Dragons should light the way.

Right, I'm off to generate some binding energy.


Senior Member
I think manuka's point was that from where any of us are sitting, if we're at home, we're likely within 30 feet of a toilet, sink, tub, refrigerator, TV, oven, microwave, telephone, cell phone, light switch, microwave oven, computer, printer, etc. Last summer I was sitting in a room in the house I grew up in, built circa 1940, and of the 15 electrically-connected items in the room, only three even existed for common residential use when the house was built. Despite the evolving home-finance problem in the U.S., home ownership rates are higher than at any time prior to this century. The absence of private ownership was tried in the Soviet Union and no one argues that the results were good. The absence of private ownership was tried was tried in China, and that experiment is being aggressively abandoned, despite the continuing control of a nominally Communist party.

But from other viewpoints, the glass is half-empty, and I'm personally glad not to be wanting to buy a new house at current prices. And the rich/poor gap does appear to be growing, tho the richest of the rich (Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Carlos Slim) have built their wealth in their own lifetimes, not inherited it.


Ooh blimey. Hippy's still off on one.

You're absolutely right hippy.
Yes, the spawn of the Robber Barons.
But, don't worry, there aren't many left and those have probably sold their homes to the National Trust.
String 'em up. Put them to Mme Guillotine.
And replace them with a new aristocracy called John Prescott.

D n T

Senior Member
I don't know about the rest of the users on this forum but...

I work hard and save like crazy, and I'm onto saving my second million.....

I've given up on my first.

Its Friday and the politics is a little over whelming.
By the way with reference to the most advanced life form being the one that most efficiently converts energy to heat..
Politicians may well produce the most, but every evolutionary step has mutations and FREAKS of nature, you get that.

Have a good week end people, forget about the clothes and cars that you don't need and do what ever.
Remember he who dies with the most dollars and toys, is still dead.
When you die, your life will be measured not by its duration but by its donation. In other words you will be remembered longer for what you have done for others long after your fortune is forgotten.
Damn why couldn't I have remembered that and told my students today.

Write you later.

Edited by - D n T on 31/08/2007 14:14:48


Senior Member
Netto have Philips CFL for 49p.

I've not seen a problem in the last 18+ months which makes the payback good, especially when compaired to a 49p conventional bulb that's unlike to have more than 6months life ;)



Dippy, funny enough, I beleive BELL's manufacturing is done in China!
IMHO I think that CFLs are making significant improvements and LED is dragging its heals. I keep reading about the requirement to fit massive heatsinks to 3W luxeon units. If they are so efficient, then what is generating all that heat (from 3W) that needs to be sunk away? The 3W CFLs that I obtained last week only get luke warm and put out very good colour rendering light.
Not had those particular ones very long so cannot comment on reliabilty yet.
I feel a DPG style life test comming on.
08M, relay, CFL and wait.
What do you think would be a good duty cycle?
Long enough to get up to temperature, about 3 minutes?
(these come on at almost full intensity almost instantly by the way).
What about off cycle? Long enough to cool fully or just turn the thing on and off every second with an LDR to determine how many cycles before &quot;relay on&quot; = &quot;no extra light&quot;?

Hippy, whilst I agree with your sentiments about inherited wealth, like Dippy, I think these days they are few and far between. Even those still living in mansions are actually close to poverty now that the &quot;slaves&quot; have to be paid and the &quot;listed&quot; buidings require renovation.

It does none the less raise an interesting debate. Whilst there's probably little disagreement about 10th generation inherited wealth, where is the line drawn? Is it wrong to work hard so that your children can have a better life? Trouble is, they then have a &quot;stock pile&quot; that they have not worked for that can be passed on to the next generation.
Should inheritance tax be abolished and be replaced with ALL assets upon death go into the welfare state? What about gift tax? Is it right that I cannot choose who I GIVE money to?


Senior Member
BeanieBots : Your last paragraph sums up the difficulty we have quite well.

That, &quot;love of money is the root of all evil&quot;, is something said a long time ago and in various forms. A fundamental question is whether we should be selfish or greedy ( hoarding for ourselves, our off-spring ) or be working towards the benefit of all humanity ? What gives us a greater worth ? And should we be forced to 'do what is best' ?

As DnT says, a life is measured by its donation ( and that has its spiritual and religious aspects too ). I'd agree, although I am sure others may not.

So, with politics and religion done, what part does football play in all this ... ?

<img src="smile.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle>


Senior Member
Old zen guy story has a guy who is too miserly being confronted by zen guy who holds a closed hand up to him and asks &quot;What would you call a man whose hand is always like this?&quot; &quot;Crippled&quot; the guy replies... The zen guy then holds up his had fully opened and asks the same with the same reply. The zen guy smiles and leaves...

So football... sometimes you hold the ball and sometimes you pass it on... balance... or get rid of the ball before they come after you... :)


I phoned the local Indian Takeaway last night.
I said &quot;Do you deliver?&quot;
He said &quot;Sorry, we only do lamb and chicken&quot;

Hav I done that one before? Sorry if I have.

What causes all that heat? It's your electrons falling down.

Edited by - dippy on 31/08/2007 16:54:33


Senior Member
Kids joke:

kid call to takeaway....

T:- Good afternoon... What you want?
k:- Do you have pork head?
T:- Yes Sir...
k:- ...and Lamb leg?
T:- Yes Sir...
k:- ...and Chicken wings?
T:- Yes Sir... but what you...
k:- Crap! You're a freak MONSTER !!!

(Sorry... or maybe not <img src="smile.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle> )

I don't think the immigration will be a problem, is only another step in life.
If you come with your own money, or knowledge, you can be a part of society,
but if you come without anything ( unless you're refugee ) you probabily becomes
a load to our country.

Anyone with &quot;wants&quot; or &quot;desires&quot; to work honestly, are gladly apreciates with me
So if you're enough smart to sale one apple by $100.- so, thats is your talent,
but NO lie and no steal to obtain your money.

Politics?...Mmmm... Liers and thieves.
Burguessy (bourgeoisie) and aristocracy... Only they are where they are.
Let them alone and they will fall slowly dead by their own stupidity.
They want our acceptation and our &quot;look at&quot; them, to feel specials.

But that is only my opinion, of course



Senior Member
&quot;a life is measured by its donation&quot;

I can agree with that.

It also appears to be good for the person doing the donating, as some research has shown that people who do for others are healthier and live longer. (Sorry, I can't find the online reference at the moment.)

Some people seem to have a &quot;caring&quot; gene, where they always want to do for others, but the concept can be caught: include your children in the things you do for others. Even a preschooler can make a &quot;get well soon&quot; card for someone who is ill, that child could decide be a Candy Striper at a local hospital when older, and the cycle continues.

There is sometimes payback for the donated time. I volunteered at a local elementary school (grades K-5, ages 5-10) for a number of years. Most of the kids I worked with are now in their 20's and I still hear from a few of them - including invitations to a couple of university graduations. Probably the most interesting reward is the regular email from a girl who is in the Peace Corps in Azerbaycan. I've learned of her experiences teaching English to the children, the housing arrangements, the foods she's discovered, her trips to Georgia (former USSR) and Turkey (and other places I'm not likely to visit).



Ok, if we're done with politics, now for sex.

There was a young queer from Katomb
took a lesbian up to his room
they argued all night
as to who had the right
to do what, with which and to whom.


Senior Member
Back to PICAXE, CFL and &quot;saving the planet&quot; ...

<i>I feel a DPG style life test comming on. 08M, relay, CFL and wait. </i>

Probably a lot more complex because we have to determine the criteria we are measuring to. Mains quality comes into play, how lifetime is affected by turn-on and off, and is that a fair test of reality ? On a wider issue, what's the green or otherwise footprint of incandescent and CFL for manufacture and as waste, as well as while running.

It would be interesting to see which lasts longer and works out cheaper, but any test would not have to put more undue strain on either than real life would.


I fully agree Hippy and Dippy has raised the issue regarding the waste/re-cycle side of things. Without bringing up all the rest again, the 'bulk' of people will only make the switch when it is proved to be financially beneficial as well as 'green'.

So what would be a fair test?
I've installed a &quot;Sylvania Fast Start 9W&quot; in the cloakroom. It is a naturally dark room so the light is always put on when in use. Hence, use will be short and frequent compared to a livingroom which probably only has two or three cycles for several hours on a daily basis. I have labelled every bulb in the house with date of installation (yes, I'm that sad) to get real data on CFL vs incandescent in a 'real' environment.
Megaman GAURANTEE one of their range for 15,000 hrs and 600,000 on/off cycles. I have put two of these and one of another cheaper brand in the kitchen. The original incandecent units only had an average life of 3 months. The main driving factor for the change relates to the irritation of frequent failures rather than power useage. Yet another factor which needs to be included in real costings.
I've not (yet) gone as far as fitting an 18X datalogger to monitor on/off/duration data but maybe, one day when I'm very bored!


Senior Member
D n T. &#8220;&#8230;most efficiently converts energy to heat&#8230;&#8221;

Hmm. If efficiency is defined by the ratio of product to waste, (heat being the waste), how can the efficiency of a process be calculated when the product IS heat?

This reminds me of an argument I had years ago with an old friend. He had a 1kW electric heater in his living room of a design I had never seen before. It was a simple white cylinder/pipe, about 3 inches in diameter and about 5 feet long. It looked a little bit like a swollen florescent tube only constructed of metal, with a mains lead coming out of one end.

I took one look at it and said something like &#8220;That&#8217;s not very efficient is it.&#8221;. This was just a gut reaction and it took quite a while to justify my &#8216;feeling&#8217;. He argued that it consumed 1kW and therefore it released 1kW of heat into the room and regardless of shape or design, 1kW=1kW. A compelling argument. But to this day, I maintain that I was right.

Can you guess what my argument is?


well I don't get out enough so I'll finish the arguement.
Your friend is right. 1kW = 1kW and it is 100% efficient as far as measuring from the electrical input to the plug to the heat put out is concerned. Any losses in the power cord will be given off as heat and even if it has an indicator lamp, the light given off will be converted to heat as soon as it hits the walls.

A gas heater on the other hand can never be 100% efficient because it will have a flu that vents some of the heat away.

What's NOT efficient, is the way the electricity is produced that runs it, which is overall, gas heating is more efficient.


Senior Member
All this chatter about heat implies winter is on it's way &quot;up top&quot;. Hence I suggest you guys be strong,switch off the PC, throw back the curtains &amp; get out in the lingering sunshine while it lasts...


Senior Member
What for - these days you go to the park to play cricket and gangs of kids throw stones at you - WHY!

addendum they were instrumental in the death of the grandfather they were throwing stones at - found guilty. <A href='http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6972631.stm' Target=_Blank>External Web Link</a>


Senior Member
i'm giving some thought to actaully doing a test , as i found out with the eeprom endurance test the rating wasn't exactly gospel although i'm yet to do more under better conditions

we all got opinions about testing procedures and it's always posible to find a fault with almost every procedure so the key to getting a good real life result is to do it as throughly and a close to real life as possible , i'd do it like this:

1.build a heap of datalogers to log light and internal (if possible) CFL tempreture cycles in various rooms across several houses and if do-able across summer and winter as well, ideally you need to have different brands of CFL in different houses

the data gathered would show in real life situations how these bulbs actaully get used everyday in real life,

2. i would then setup a stand and do several tests a simple warm cycle test which is probably what the manufacturers do
(turning it on and off rapidly without letting it cool down)
then a tempreture dependant and light intencity test where the each bulb is turned on and not turned off untill it has reached it's peak light intencity and normal running tempreture then turned off and allowed to cool down before turning back on

a test where the bulbs are turned on an off randomly to simulate intermittant use like a toilet

i would log things like light intencity decay over the life time of the test current draw and tempretures

one of the things i can't stand about some manufacturer ratings is that most of them aren't independant tests and a lot of companys &quot;bend the truth about these tests&quot;
and some companies tests are usaully rediculusy acellerated at elevated or lowered tempretures to purposly cause a failure quickly

mains supply quality is an interesting one and definetly somthing to try and log at various places as well

i might do a small test somtime down the track after the new forum format is in and settled,

Edited by - demonicpicaxeguy on 01/09/2007 00:17:22


Senior Member
My argument ran thus:

Since every room is imperfectly insulated, heat leaks out. So you need to replace that heat faster than it escapes. It becomes a race. With a fixed amount of heat entering the room and a fixed amount of leakage, an equilibrium will be reached.

The inefficiency of the heater comes from its small surface area. Double the surface area and you double the amount of air that gets heated, giving the heater a better edge in the race and raising the equilibrium point. Even with the same 1kW of power, using fins or some such would equate to a warmer room.

If you&#8217;re comfortable with the temperature as it is, then add the fins and make the heater smaller (maybe 500W). You will get the same room temperature and use less power. Of course, all this is assuming a reasonable amount of insulation. If you approach the problem from both ends and keep increasing the insulation and increasing the heater surface area, you can eventually maintain a comfortable room temperature with just one watt. Probably have difficulty getting in and out though.


Senior Member
He he he...

"you can eventually maintain a comfortable room temperature with just one watt. Probably have difficulty getting in and out though."

Sound like the Rules_of_combat...

"# Make it tough enough for the enemy to get in and you won't be able to get out."

==> <External Web Link>


Edited by - sedeap on 01/09/2007 05:07:22
Last edited:


Senior Member
<i>The inefficiency of the heater comes from its small surface area. Double the surface area and you double the amount of air that gets heated, giving the heater a better edge in the race and raising the equilibrium point. </i>

In practice I've found these long cylinder heaters ( &quot;drainpipe with a heater element in&quot; ) to not perform as well as others. Good for warming feet on but not heating rooms.

Opposite to your hypothesis, I think the problem is their low power with a fairly large surface area for their power; double the surface area and it heats twice the air half as much. It may be I was in a poor quality, leaky office, but it was akin to trying to heat a bath of cold water by slowly pouring in teacups of hot water, never really got there or overcame the heat losses elsewhere.

My understanding of thermodynamics isn't that good so the theory may be wrong, but &quot;worse than useless&quot; was the practical end result.


Senior Member
there's more to it in our perception of warmth - skin sensing radiant energy with cold air in the room for instance - radiant energy has to do with the surface temperature of the radiator - so on that aspect the same watts with smaller surface area radiates more intensely. Remeber conduction, convection, radiation... phsiological response to heat sources/sinks is a bit complicated...