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Do you use compact fluorescent lighting?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by drewmo, Dec 6, 2007.

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  1. drewmo

    drewmo Feeling the Heat

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    I've recently put a CFL in every light fixture that will take one in our home. While I did so to reduce our carbon footprint, I probably did it more so to save some $$. (I'll know if the latter comes to fruition in a year.) Our local IKEA has a huge selection of CFLs with prices averaging half of what I can find at other DIY stores. Unfotunately, there are no CFLs that will provide the wattage necessary for our kitchen and living room ceiling lights, 2 stand lights, the two lights in our bathroom vanity (perhaps LEDs would fit?) and our desk lamp. More unfortunately, it seems that the lights we use most often are exactly those without CFLs.

    As for the kitchen and living room ceiling lamps, I also bought those at IKEA for about $12 a piece (including bulbs). Regrettably, my budget trumped Mother Earth.

    Yes, CFLs take a while to brighten up when first switched on. I can say the same for me when I first awaken. Other than that, I don't have any other complaints.

    So, who here lurking these forums uses CFLs? And why? To save money? To save Mother Earth? Both? Or some other reason? How many lights in your home have CFLs?

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  2. WILDSOURDOUGH

    WILDSOURDOUGH New Member

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    Loc:
    Unity, NH
    New House- Using half and half...
    Having GREAT diffuculities getting CF to last more than 6 months...
    I read an article a few months ago that all the new ones ( CFs from China) are very poor quality-
    not like the older ones made in Belgium or Germany... much better, but also more expensive- If you can get them at all.
    The builder in the article was getting call backs to new houses (3-6 months old), people complaining that there was an 'electrical problem'. No problem with the electric... bad (cheaply constructed) CFs.

    So... In the places I can find 'good CFs' for, that's what i'm using.
    Some places (Kitchen, Reading Lights...etc) i'm using Halogens and 'Old school' bulbs.

    When the prices come down, I will switch to LED Lights.
  3. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I use them where the lights will stay on for any length of time. Except in the bathroom. I didn't like the color of the light that they were putting out.

    The closets and pantry still have incandesants. The lights are rarely on so why should I use more energy starting the CFLs up?

    Matt
  4. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Sand Lake, NY
    I have cfls everywhere. Maybe not in the garage door opener unit.
    I have the reflector type in the recessed lighting in the kitchen.
    I also have a couple of smaller cfl spots one bathroom.
    I have them there because they did not fit in the "eyeball" spots over the hearth.
    I would up getting some led lights (multiple leds) for that spot-they are pretty dim, but they don't have to be bright there and they use little electricity.

    Also, don't forget to break out the LED Christmas lights!
    I got them last year and I like the colors.
    I think I see them on houses outside in "icicles", and they have a nice color.
  5. ozarkjeep

    ozarkjeep New Member

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    I have lots of them.

    can lights in kids rooms, in can lights in kitchen.
    in every lamp in the house ( several) , garage door opener lilghts, outside flood lights, shed lights, attic lights, all cieling fan globe lights, bathroom, and shower lights.

    I have had the best longevity vs price with the 'bright effects' brand from Lowes.

    $7 I think for 4 of them ( 13 watt twistys), and I have a few that have been in service for over 2 years, including outside installations.

    I have had some flicker and hum and go out, those were generally installed on circuits with a dimmer switch.
    so I changed the switches out to simple on/off switches.

    I do it because, 13 watts each is great, I can run 8 of them for the cost of a single 100 watt incandescent.
    and they put out MUCH less heat, very nice in the summer time!




  6. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    I've started to convert a lot of light fixtures to T-8 and T-5 strips.

    My biggest complaint with CF lights is the color and second seems to be the longevity/cost. On the other hand the panasonic CF lamps I have seem to be lasting a very long time.
  7. ozarkjeep

    ozarkjeep New Member

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    you mean these?

    http://www.premiumcommerciallighting.com/lamps.html



  8. reelwork02

    reelwork02 New Member

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    replaced all but a couple of lights with the cfl's and have seen a $10 on average drop in the electric bill.
  9. colsmith

    colsmith New Member

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    We have been using them for a LONG time. We are tree huggers (when not cutting them to pieces.) ;-) In WI and IL and some nearby states there is a Focus on Energy group which gets local electric companies to chip in (plus perhaps some gov't. money?) for energy conservation measures. Energy conservation is so much cheaper than building new power plants. Anyway, they have had deals on and off for the past 10 years or so offering CFLs for very little or even no money. They give a rebate something like $4 per CFL bulb. So Menards from time to time has CFLs on sale in multi-packs for less than $4 a bulb, so we can get them free, minus a little postage for sending in the form. Before the prices got that low we were paying just a couple dollars per bulb with the rebate. One year I gave a poor friend and my poor niece and cheap mom CFLs for Christmas.

    We had one in an outdoor porch fixture for years at our last house, that one cost more since it was made to endure freezing weather. We left it behind, need to find another one for up here. Currently we have them in the living room (floor lamp and table lamp), dining room, kitchen (over stove and over sink), family room, both bathrooms, our bedroom reading lamp, and slightly more than half the basement lights (which turn on and off individually.) The color of the light is fine with me. To counter friends who come by and turn a light switch on and then flip it back and forth because there isn't immediate light, we did something clever in 3 different places (dining room, family room, and main floor bathroom) where we have fixtures that take multiple light bulbs. We left one incandescent in each fixture. That way light comes on immediately and nobody does the switch flipping thing that is hard on CFLs. We don't have a CFL in the garage because 1) it is too cold for the regular ones and 2) that light is usually only on briefly. We don't have them in the guest bedrooms since we don't have a lot of guests.
  10. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    We have a mixed batch throughout the house. I focused mainly on lights that tend to get left on a long time, but we have done some other lights. Some things I have found out:

    Color varies widely - not only can you get "warm white", "natural", and "daylight" bulbs running the spectrum from candle flame yellow to blue-white, but even between batches some of the same manufacturers bulbs seem to vary in color.

    Start-up time seems to vary, some seem to light up fairly quick, some seem to take a second or two. May not seem like a big issue, but when you hit the switch at the top of the stairs, you expect to be able to see pretty quickly - it can make for a scary first couple of steps if you have a long delay bulb

    Cold affects the initial brightness - as expected with any fluorescent, but even being in a cool basement (60F) seems to make some of the bulbs noticeably dimmer than in the 75F main floor.

    I've not had too much luck with the dimable ones - for just general lounging around / TV, etc, I prefer to run the lights down low. I've tried a couple of dimable ones but get noticeable flickering and a weird yellow color - not the warm orange red that I'm used to.

    I rarely seem to get 1/2 or less of the manufacturers rated life time. I suspect this may be because most of my fixtures are pretty close to a 'bulb down' configuration - which means the ballast is on top of the bulb, soaking up all the heat. Maybe a table lamp which would be a bulb up configuration to keep the ballast cool would help the lifetime.

    There used to be a couple of decent web pages that detailed some of the nuances between manufacturers, but I have lost the links.
  11. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Western Mass.
    I use them in my office and in the basement - also replaced all the bulbs in the foyer light.

    They do seem to last a long while and have come WAY down in price. I notice they are used 100% in some hotels these days.
  12. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    I just had my first CFL failure, a bulb that was installed 5 years ago, it's on 7 hours a day 5 days a week. Not bad.

    The only bulbs I haven't changed to CFL are ones that are only on a short time each use - closets, hallways, and the like. Many moons ago I read somewhere that frequent turn-on/ short on-time significantly lessens the lifespan of CFL's.
  13. jklingel

    jklingel Feeling the Heat

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    Fairbanks
    We have a few, and I anticipate getting more. In my limited experience, they sure don't put out the light that an incandescent does; my wife hates them. I will look into amping up a tad, though. I sure like the concept. j
  14. drewmo

    drewmo Feeling the Heat

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    Central Maine
    My in-laws run a 32-bed hotel over here and have placed CFLs wherever they could. Mostly in the bathrooms and most nightstands, and any security lighting that's always on. Most of the overhead lights are chandalier style and can't take CFLs. They recently renovated the hallways and have put LEDs over each door. Also, the hallway lighting is connected to a motion detector, so the lights only stay on for a couple of minutes at a time instead of 24/7. Actually, I've noticed most public spaces in apartment and office buildings in Europe to be on a similar set up. More often, when you get off an elevator, you'll step into a dark hallway and you'll have to find the switch to turn the lights on. The switch itself is illuminated, so it's easy to find. They automatically switch off within a couple of minutes.
  15. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    We've replaced the kitchen lights (8 x 65W track spotlights), front porch, a couple hallway bulbs, my office, one bathroom (150W spot and vanity), and now two torch lamps (50-100-150W 3-way). Only one has died so far in 9 months, and that was on the outside fixture, which is questionable (ate incandescents also). Cuts the non-summer electric bill by at least 1/3, and reduces heat in the summer also. They paid for themselves within 2 months.

    I'm not terribly fond of the standard 2700K ("warm white") color; I have a "daylight" bulb on my vanity but that's a little too blue. I need to try the intermediate "bright white" bulbs. I just wish they were sold as cheap and in as many form factors as the 2700K ones.
  16. PAJerry

    PAJerry Member

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    We've used them for a long time, but they did not work out in the kitchen so we have a 'circlite' 22w flourescent in the hanging fixture over the table and 2 -40w Vita-lite tubes over the sink. We also found that the compact bulbs don't work well in the garage because of the cold in winter.

    Light 'color' is an issue in some spots, but you get used to it. I did put a set of LED lights into the breezeway last summer, replacing a double set of rope lights, a total of 150 watts, with 3 watts. The light is very much like bright moonlight, very adequate for the area and soft and cool looking. They also do not attract mosquitoes. LEDs will have to fix the color issues before they get widespread use indoors.

    As far as why we use these things, we are into energy saving in a pretty big way - ie. drive a Prius, use tankless water heater, grow all of our own vegetables and fruit, use an energy saving washing machine, dry clothes outside when possible, collect rainwater in barrels to water the garden,etc. Yeah, we could say it is to 'save the planet', but it's mostly 'cause we like to save money.
  17. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    Been using CFL bulbs in most of my house since we put it up (throughout 2002, moved in January 2003). I use them in the outdoor fixtures, the ceiling fans, bathroom fan/lights, bedrom, floor lamps...just about anywhere without a dimmer switch (yes I know there are dimmable CFL's). If you find the right brands you will be able to get bulbs that are virtually indistinguishable from standard bulbs for quality of light and color output...but you have to hunt around. Additionally check with your local electric utility company...I find in many markets that they subsidize some local stores to sell CF bulbs at heavy discounts (think $.99 per bulb) and oddly enough those happen to be the bulbs with the nicest color too...mine are all 2700k-2900k. The big box stores (Home Depot, Wal Mart, etc) seem to seel alot of cheap CF bulbs that are poorly made, with color temps that are way the hell up in the 4400k range, which is above white, running into blue.

    How many watts do you need? My local hardware store has CF bulbs as high as 32 watts, which are roughly the equivalent of 125w incandescent bulb. I run two 4 bulb ceiling fan fixtures in my great room with a 26w CFL in each socket and its plenty bright. That room is 20x28x26.
  18. tuolumne

    tuolumne New Member

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    Now living in VT, and building new home in VT
    We used all CFL's in the house we built six years ago. When we recently sold that house and moved to VT all but one or two bulbs were original. That's pretty good longevity in my opinion. We bought a bunch of CFL's for the new home, and one thing I noticed was that they brighten up quicker. Maybe they won't last as long. I believe the brand on the originals was GE and they were purchase very cheaply through CTs energy rebate program. (that's were everyone pays for CFL's on their utility bills ahead of time without knowing it and only gets a a discount if they buy them)
  19. Codeman812

    Codeman812 New Member

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    I don't think I have any incandescent bulbs in my home except for the stove, refrigerator, microwave and freezer. After I started coming to this site and burning wood I have started to become more "green" conscious. If I could afford a Prius I would drive one in a heartbeat. Part of my home fix-up plan, besides a ton of insulating upgrades, is some sort of off the grid power source that is eco-friendly.
  20. eba1225

    eba1225 Feeling the Heat

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    I use CFL in fixtures where bright light is not needed, up lights or room lights, not for task work, that still requires incad.

    I just had an incadescent blow out in a kitchen recessed and replaced it with a CFL. That lasted for about 2 mins. as the light was not even close to the incadescent. The rating for the CFL was identical to the incad but the light output was far lower. Needless to say the CFL came out and a incad went in.
  21. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    That's interesting - I have noted that many CFL's seem to have higher brightness than incandescents. Just curious what 'rating' you were looking at? Lumens, watts something else? On a watt/watt basis, a CFL would blow away an incandescent, lumens get a little more tricky, because the color temp comes into play. I run some daylight CFL's in the garage because I like the crisp white light for detail tasks. There are some tables available - http://www.efi.org/factoids/lumens.html that give basic lumen output of various lights and guidelines for how much is needed per specific task. I guess color choice is somewhat up to the user.
  22. eba1225

    eba1225 Feeling the Heat

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    Well after reading all of the posts I decided to give it another try. After 5 mins it did achieve the brightness equivalent to that of the incad. but there is one draw back this one does not dim.

    I have at least 6 other CFLs that come on immediately and do dim significantly.
  23. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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  24. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    After reading this thread, I think I have the longest running twister style CFL, at 7 years. I think it was USA built, and got it in a 4 pack, primarily because the outside doorway light kept burning out so often. I wanted something that I wouldn't have to replace so much, and it seems to have come through on that acount. (Still going; daily use.) However, as noted above, these things rarely live up to their lumen ratings, and I usually install the next higher rating indoors. Outdoors, I recommend the highest rating you can find; usually 100w equivalent. It is very dim in cold weather. I also have a twister-in-flood type bulb outdoors. This one might not be as bad, but in the coldest weather it is as dim as a dinner candle at first power. It's good for long on periods. And of course, it is more power saving because it is replacing a 175w flood light.

    The price has come down considerably since my first purchase in 2000.

    If it really matters, there are many flourescent fixtures available that would be somewhat superior. Notice them in institutional buildings that were designed by a lighting engineer. The CFL has probably been over-hyped, but I use them because they are easy to install, and at least the sudden popularity has brought the price down.
  25. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    I'm not sure if it's been mentioned yet, but keep your receipts if you purchase CFL's! I've had great results with warrenties on CFL bulbs that don't last their stated life time, many companies will replace at little or no charge. If I recall correctly, and to give credit where it is due, Feit Company was great at this, no questions asked, new bulbs on my steps a week or so later. Becasue of this, I alway make an effort to buy their product.
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