CFL for unheated areas?

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I didn't think to try the experiment last winter to see how successful (or not) would be during the deep cold. I know the one in the garage will barely come on in really cold weather and while it's enough to find one's way to the car, it would be most annoying in dark to have to wait as long as it takes for it to brighten up in the barn when actually want/need to do something. And, it doesn't work at all in the door opener.
So, the question is--anybody have any input on whether these things will actually work at 0F and below w/o waiting 15-20 minutes or so?
I'm thinking I should order a few cases of incandescents; I unfortunately apparently waited too long, the outfit of farm supplier I ordered from previously has already dropped incandescents entirely. :(
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dpb wrote:

I have 2 CFL's outside near my back door. One light is on 24/7 (because the switch that controls it is not in a conveinent location) and the second light is manually operated and is on from dusk till dawn every day.
The usual temp. for over-night low in the dead of winter is maybe 10F, with a handful of nights going down to 0F or maybe -5F at worst. Now these lights will already be on by the time the temp hits the low temp of the day (between midnight and 8 am). I guess the temp that I turn it on in the evening is likely between 10-15F (I could be wrong but it's rare to hit 0F before or just as the sun sets).
If you're looking for a light to use outdoors that is normally off but which you want to turn on in an "on-demand / as-needed" sort of way, then you wouldn't benefit from having a CFL in that situation anyways, regardless of the ambient temperature.
But the short answer is yes, they will turn on when they're really cold.
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On 11/14/2011 5:03 PM, Home Guy wrote:

I don't grok the "wouldn't benefit from having a CFL" comment; the question was posed on the basis that incandescents are disappearing whether one wants CFL or not.
The application is not actually outside-outside; it's an unheated barn and chores are necessary year 'round, whatever the weather and the day starts early in the winter.
My experience as noted above has been that while the one in the garage will, indeed, turn on, it's not close to bright for quite some time (like minutes) when it is really cold. When I'm out to do whatever at 5AM, the last think I'm wanting is to wait for enough light to actually see what I'm doing.
It sounds like in your case you wouldn't care/notice much as they're on and it's not like you're actually in the space trying to do something immediately. For that I don't think I'd care, either, as long as they did eventually light.
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dpb wrote:

What are the farm supply stores (TSC?) around you selling?
Do they sell any of those "farm" light bulbs? (also known maybe as rough service or coated bulbs)
I think there's going to to be non-CFL bulbs around for a while. I'm seeing more "tungsten" bulbs - maybe they're going to be the alternative to regular incandescent.
You might just keep the CFL's turned on all the time from November to March (unless having constant light would not be appreciated by the inhabitants).
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On 11/14/2011 4:31 PM, dpb wrote:

how about a timer in the circuit?

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Best idea posted so far. Also, the CFLs that are then encapsulated in an outside glass bulb should heat up rather quickly compared to a bulb that is entirely open.
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A timer might work for the mornings when the OP knows he'll be in the barn at a certain time, but it won't help for those unscheduled evening/late night trips.
In those cases (assuming they'll occur) he'll still be in low-light until the CFL's warm up.
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I'm using 3 in a lamp post by the driveway. Went though last winter with no brightness issues.
I'm in NJ.
They've already outlasted any other bulb I've ever used there. I'm using the kind that are encased inside a smooth bulb.
--
Dan Espen

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On 11/14/11 5:44 PM, dpb wrote:

Some people use CFLs successfully down to -25F. They need cold-weather ballasts and suitable phosphors. For lights that aren't left on long, cold-cathode CFLs last a lot longer and start better at low temperatures.
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dpb wrote:

I have a 40' container located in NW CT where it gets pretty cold during the winter. I have a string of six ordinary non-encapsulated 9W CFLs that I use to light it, operated from an inverter in my truck when I'm there. In the winter down in the single digits they start instantly at perhaps 25% output, reach probably 75% output in 60 seconds and full output in another minute or two. I've never found it to be an issue, by the time I've plugged in the lights to the extension cord from the truck and gone back to get my thermos of coffee the lights are plenty bright to start working.
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On 11/14/2011 10:09 PM, Pete C. wrote:

...
That's far brighter and much faster than the one I've had in the garage--could probably adjust to that if were that rapid. It really is minutes before the one I've tried is bright enough it isn't very easy to look directly at it and see the coils and watch it gradually work it's way down the helix to the end before it finally has some decent output...
Once one is out, there's no coffee, just work... :( And, if need to help an animal in the night calving or such, any such time delay would be essentially intolerable.
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The big problem that the industry itself should fix is that there is no way of knowing how fast any bulb actually gets to some reasonable level of power. What is needed is a consistent spec where they measure how long it takes to get to say 66% light output at 70F, 40F and 20F. Then when you bought a bulb, at least you'd know what you're getting. I've seen them vary widely. Some of the best are the swirly open ones in my garage. Some of the worst are the ones that look like floods that are in my kitchen. Those take several minutes to get to reasonable output.
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Almost every light in my house has a usage profile similar to that. I learned to turn lights off when I leave a room *long* ago. I didn't need government to tell me to do it, either.

My incandescents are fine there, too.

I disagree.

Next thing they're going to demand is that the toilet seat be put down.
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On 11/15/2011 11:27 AM, Frank wrote: ...

They save some electricity and the consumption end; not sure whether the manufacturing process is breakeven or not for overall energy consumption. I'm certainly not convinced yet they save any money given prices and the needs that are generated for specialty bulbs for applications such as the one in this thread that are significantly more costly than ordinary incandescent bulbs at <0.50/ea for bulk packs.

Amen to that--folks can do whatever they choose and even I have some in some locations in the house but if they're a good deal overall they'll win on own w/o intervention and the alternative will disappear on its own if there's no need. Meanwhile they managed to move yet another business totally offshore.
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On 11/14/2011 4:44 PM, dpb wrote:

The bulbs going away over the next few years are standard incandescents between 40 watts and 150 watts. The standard 100-watt incandescents are the first to be phased out, starting in 2012. Bulbs outside this range are exempt from the ban. Also exempt are most specialty bulbs, including appliance lamps, "rough service" bulbs, 3-way, colored bulbs, and plant lights.
I'm in Minnesota and have had the same problem with fluorescent in the garage during extreme cold. I replaced them with 150-watt and 200-watt clear incandescent bulbs. When the 150 watt bulbs eventually disappear from the store shelves, I'll just replace them with 200 watt bulbs.
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On 11/15/2011 8:00 AM, Hell Toupee wrote: ...

Yeah, the "rough service" may be what I'll end up with altho they're quite a lot more expensive (and probably going to become even more so) and don't provide any longer life in the barn.
Meanwhile, I'll order a case or three of various ilks--that'll last a while and maybe by the time they're gone there will be something that is a suitable replacement that isn't _too_ stinkin' expensive (or I'll be past worrying about it).
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I just bought a couple of cases of bulbs from 1000bulbs.com. If I move to a house with fewer bulbs, I'll just sell them on the black market and make a killing! "Psst, kid, wanna buy a 100W light bulb?"
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dpb wrote:

I've got four bulbs on a motion sensors under the carport and a couple on the front porch. When one quits and it's cold I replace it with incandescent, during the warmer months a CFL.. they are for security and so I can check the oil in the car and air up the tires. As long as something lights up when someone approaches that's good enough. It's not a big deal, they get up to full brightness or bright enough faster than I move now days. Same in the bathroom and the kitchen. The gov't worries about me using electricy? All that vampire stuff and things with a clock in it and three computers and the big screen running most of the time ... and the foot heater I'm running now, that's what keeps my electric bill near 100 bucks year around. And the coffee pot.... I think I provide half the space heating in this place with electricity use from the electrical stuff during winter and of course have to cool all that heat in the summer. Anyway back to CFL, wire up some extras on a separate switch if you have to, in cold weather flip both switches .. no big deal.
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On Nov 16, 1:29am, "Mr. Austerity" <"PrintMo.Money "> wrote:

That last bit of advice sounds like a big deal to me. How practical is it to wire up extra lights on a seperate switch? And for all those folks that could not do it themselves, I can just see them hiring an electrician to run extra lights. Pay $1000 now, save $1 a year over the next 1000 years.
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On 11/15/2011 8:34 PM, Red Green wrote: ...

That's interesting; I hadn't seen or heard of them.
Of course, it's a (relatively) far more complex technology required to work around a problem that had been solved for 100+ years, but... :)
Real issue is it's an initial cost ratio of roughly 15:1 -- haven't tried to work out the actual math on how long it might take to break even, but it'll be quite a while methinks.
But, it is an interesting alternative indeed given the mandate that has been passed, thanks. I'll look and see if can find one in town for grins.
Meanwhile, I ordered two cases of standard bulbs to have a stash for a while while technology continues to evolve.
Appreciate the input from everybody altho the major mod's or resorting to timers, etc., aren't going to happen. A lot of the problem is that I'm an old codger and hate things not being the way they have been...it's an annoyance although it is real that if the sound alert goes off at 2AM it's a definite problem if it's a dosage or something else requiring immediate action when the light is marginal.
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