CFL vs incandescent bulb: Brightness

Perhaps it's just the brand(s) of CFL bulbs that I've been buying - but has anyone else noticed a lack of "brightness" with these things. Case in point: I've switched bulbs out in light fixtures that I normally would use 75 watt incandescents in - replacing them with CFL's. The light output always seems dimmer in nature. I've even gone as far as replacing my "normal" 75-watters -- upping them to 100- watt CFL's...but I get the same results.
I also don't believe the long-life promises. Most of mine burn out in less than a year or two -- the same term that standard bulbs with.
I'm disheartened that incandescents will no longer be sold after 2012; I visualize us all in a "dimmer world".....
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On 4/28/2008 11:45 AM Stanko spake thus:

You've raised two separate points (maybe more) here:
1. Brightness of incandescents vs. CFLs:
Keep in mind that the "equivalent" rating of a CFL ("equal to a XX-watt bulb") is an advertising claim not subject to any objective standard. It turns out that this does correspond pretty roughly to the *actual* power consumption of the bulb, meaning that a 23-watt CFL will be brighter than an 18-watt one. Which means that this claim will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. I've had very good results in terms of brightness with the 23-watt bulbs I've been buying recently (cheap ones subsidized by local power company, Pacific Gas & Electric), and find that they are equal to, or possibly a little brighter than 100-watt incandescents.
2. Longevity of CFLs:
Again, this varies from mfr. to mfr. I've seen CFLs with piss-poor infant mortality rates (i.e., burn out in weeks to months); on the other hand, the 20-watt CFLs I bought at Ikea about 6 years ago are still burning bright.
I wonder if /Consumer Reports/ has good information on which brands of CFLs are better? Such reports are clearly needed, now that this market is booming.
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wrote in part:

Light bulbs intended for "general purpose", including single-wattage screw-base spiral CFLs, have their light output in lumens printed on the packages. I believe this is an FTC regulation - though most dollar store CFLs don't follow this.
Specialty lightbulbs, such as decorative, appliance and colored ones, mostly do not mention light output in lumens.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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On 4/28/2008 3:48 PM Don Klipstein spake thus:

After I posted this, I thought to suggest that the O.P. compare bulb brightnesses by lumens. Thanks.
And keep in mind that another annoying "feature" of CFLs is that they don't achieve full brightness at turn-on, unlike incandescents. (One can easily get used to this behavior, though, so it's not necessarily a show-stopper.)
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/CFL-vs-incandescent-bulb-Brightness-303475-.htm Bill G wrote:
David Nebenzahl wrote:

------------------------------------- Bill G
Dirty little secret of cfl's is that they like to be on for long periods of time-3 hours plus. Rarely do homeowners use them this way except in outdoor lights.
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On Thu, 30 Dec 2010 01:53:00 +0000, bge111_at_aol_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (Bill G) wrote:

I think that time is getting shorter.
ONe of my really old CFL's, by CFL standards, was in the basement, pointing down. Not bright enough to replace a real light bulb, so I had a Y-socket, two bulbs go into one socket. This week it just fell apart. The bakelite or plastic base plate along with the two U's that were the light just fell off, and broke on the cement floor.
(One

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On 12/30/2010 01:43 AM, mm wrote:

Depends. The decorative globe ones that you would use in a bathroom are still pretty bad. Also if you use CFLs outside, they're REAL dim when it's below freezing until they come up to temp, although that is outside their design parameters.
nate
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In (Bill G) wrote: ...

That light slowness happens inside my garage until the bulbs warm up but those are 8' fl bulbs. On the porch, exposed to the temperatures down to 18 below F so far, surprisingly, the CFLs come on just fine. I expected them to take some time to get to full brightness like insde the garage too but they are up to brightness in less than ten seconds or so. Sounds like I should check the brand and stick with it! I do know they're the daylight types, so maybe that's the difference.
What are others' experiences that way?
HTH,
Twayne`
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In my case I'm pretty sure that the outside CFLs are all Sylvania brand. All mounted vertically in lantern-type wall fixtures.
However at my last place I remember replacing the light on the front porch - typical ceiling mounted enclosed fixture - with a CFL which I'm also pretty sure was a Sylvania, and didn't notice near the dimness on initial turn on as I do now.
Maybe it's an artifact of the light reflecting off the light covered porch ceiling as opposed to not having any? and the porch one really did take a long time to warm up but I didn't notice it because it still provided acceptable light even when dim?
nate
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On Thu, 30 Dec 2010 10:00:07 -0500, "Twayne"

I havent' used any outside.

That doesn't make sense. Daylight takes an hour to brighten up. Really it's not fully bright until 10 or 11AM.

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wrote:

Everything is on Youtube these days. Here's someone's test of warmup time for a few brands of CFL's:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nkcx28X3DlY

There's also a Leviton dimmer that supposedly optimizes performance of CFLs:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NabiEYzvySs&feature=related

I'd be wary of some of the claims made there ("it knows brands of CFLs"??), but it may be worth a look. Note that at the end, they do say that it helps to correct for warmup delay. That would be nice, but I'm not sure how they'd possibly do that.
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wrote:

For the bathroom light, you could get to the bathroom before you actually got to the bathroom, turn the light one, and then when you actually get to the bathroom, it will have warmed up.
For the bedroom light, you can get up early, turn the light on, then go back to sleep until it's time to get up.
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Bill G wrote:

http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/CFL-vs-incandescent-bulb-Brightness-303475-.htm
I find that the shortest life span is when they are hung upside down such as in a basement fixture. That's where I lose them. If you take one that don't work any more and put it right side up in a lamp it works again. Just won't work upside down. Must have a mechanical clutch in them.
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wrote:

Antidepressants already do that anyway. :)
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I can only point out two things. First the "equivalent " brightness is not "official" I would say that many are overstated. Also note that CF's will start off dimmer and slowly brighten up. In my bath I have four CF's and four incandescent lamps that according to the packages should be equal. When I turn them on the incandescent are certainly brighter, but after a few minutes the CF's are brighter. The mix of colors makes for a very good light since it is somewhere between sun light and tungsten. I also like the slow ramp up of brightness, especially in the morning when I am not really ready for bright lights.

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Joseph Meehan wrote:

The ladies appreciate varied bulbs - different wattages, colors, etc. That way they can judge their makeup under all conditions likely to be encountered.
My dentist has two four-bulb florescents above the chair. Each one has a different type bulb. He says it's easier to spot areas needing attention with the different colors and wavelengths.
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Stanko wrote:

I compare based on lumens. I've also been using the 75 watt equivalents where I used to use 60 watt incandescents, particularly to accommodate wife as the cfl's take a few minutes to come up to full brightness. I still save electricity, which I don't care about, and bill is less, which I do care about. In bath and powder rooms, I use incandescents as use is only a few minutes and too short to get full light. In one powder room and my stall shower, I still have original, 35 year old, super bulbs.
I had one pair of cfl's I had to relegate to the front porch as they were too white and glared in the house.
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Stanko wrote:

What kind of fixtures are you putting them in? If they are recessed ceiling fixtures, they could be overheating. CFLs have reduced light output when temperature is non-optimum. Overheating can also shorten their life a lot.
By-and-large, CFLs with "Energy Star" logo or of a "Big 3" brand (GE, Philips, Sylvania) are better than others.
In my experience, the following have a high rate of producing less than claimed light output:
Lights of America (I only bought 1 since 2001) Maxlite dollar store ones
At lower illumination levels, sometimes lowish typical home lighting levels, a characteristic known as "scotopic photopic ratio" makes a difference. 2700K CFLs have this figure being lower than incandescents have. That can largely be fixed by using higher color temperature CFLs. 3500K ones usually work well for homes in my experience. Lowes and Home Depot carry 3500K spiral CFLs in a range of wattages. I would advise against color temp. higher than 3500K for most home use - that can appear stark or "dreary gray".

Home Depot is already selling incandescents that have energy efficiency high enough to be allowed until 2020. These are Philips Halogena "Energy Saver". They are more efficient than conventional incandescents, and a little more efficient than more ordinary halogens of similar wattage and same voltage, but only about 35-40% as efficient as CFLs.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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You say you replaced 75 watt incandesant with 100w Cfls!!!! You dont know what you are talking about, 100w cfls are GIANT and put out 400w equivilant of incandesants and cost a crap load, maybe you mean an equivilant amount which is a 22w Cfl , www.PopularMechanics.com magazine has a review of cfls to incandesant in the HOME section, its old, Home Depots cfls have a 9 Year Warranty, [ so keep the reciept] and are better rated than all , even to incandesant [ by a reviewer] than incandesant in skin color. A 9 w cfl should equal 40 w incandesant. a 22w cfl will equal 100 w incandesant, or more. when you realise an incandesant bulb is just an electric heater, and that 100w bulbs only actualy puts out 6-8 watts of light will you understand how antiquated Edisons Heaters [ bulbs] realy are. For every 11 of 100 watt bulbs, you generate about 1000 watts of extra heat, !!! and you will pay extra for you AC to remove it this summer. Electric companaies love this, your built in suckerism, stupidity, on incandesant bulbs. That why mine gives them away for FREE.!! You pay to cool, and you heat with incandesants , so you pay more to cool. Evil BS them Fkn Elec cos are. But companies are in business for profitt.
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ransley wrote in part:

I have yet to see a CFL under 25 watts fully match a "standard" 120V 750 hour 100 watt "A19" incandescent. Most under 25 watts claim less than 1700-1750 lumens. The lowest wattage spiral I have seen so far achieving this much is 26 watts. I have seen only one 25 watt screw base model achieve this - a Philips SLS "triple arch".
I just want people to not feel let down when they get a 23 watt CFL that claims to achieve "100 watt equivalence" but falls a little short. 23 watt ones produce 1600 lumens at best so far in my experience. There are some 100 watt incandescents that produce less than that (superlonglife ones, vibration duty ones, and GE "Enrich" ones, but 750 hour "standard frost" 120V 100W A19 with coiled-coil filament normally produces 1710-1750 lumens.
CFLs also fade slightly as they age and have reduced light output when their temperature is not optimum. They may work less well in some fixtures than incandescents due to different light output pattern or different shape/size of the light-emitting area. They may appear a little dimmer in some areas because 2700K CFL has a lower scotopic/photopic ratio than most incandescents 60 watts or more and rated 1500 hours or less (or halogen). So one can easily need "claimed incandescent equivalence" one step higher than claimed.
7 watt CFLs usually match or outperform 25 watt incandescents.
9-10 watt ones on a good day match or outperform most 40 watt incandescents. With all of the above real-world factors, 9-10 watt CFLs often fall a little short of better 40 watt incandescents.
11 watt spirals do well at matching/outperforming 40 watt incandescents.
13-15 watt spirals match better 60 watt incandescents when everything is going right. Otherwise, they only have a high rate of matching/outperforming 60 watt incandescents if the incandescents are "commercial service" or 130 volt ones or the like.
18-20 watt spirals, when everything is going right, match 75 watt 750 hour "standard" incandescents. Otherwise, only count on them at least matching 130V or "commercial service" or similar 75 watt incandescents. These should have little problem at least matching the best 60 watt incandescents.
23 watt spirals even at best are slightly dimmer than 100 watt "standard" incandescents, but usually match or exceed the light output of "commercial service", 130V and "vibration duty" 100 watt incandescents and the brightest 75 watt incandescents.
26-27 watt spirals, when at their best, match or very slightly exceed the output of "standard" 100 watt incandescents. In the real world, in average conditions and after a couple thousand hours of use, these have a high rate of falling slightly short of 100 watt "standard" incandescents.
30 watt spirals do well at having at least as much light output as a 100 watt "standard" incandescent.
This is after the CFL warms up. Spirals with bare tubing generally warm up to close to full brightness in half a minute to a minute.
Keep in mind that screw-base CFLs over 23 watts easily overheat in recessed ceiling fixtures, other downlights, and small enclosed fixtures.
Take all of this into consideration, and you will be much less likely to be disappointed.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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