Confusion over Dimmers for CFLs

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I have heard that there are dimmers available that will work with conventional CFLs and don't require the special dimmable CFLs, but I have yet to find one that clearly states it will work this way.
Does anyone here know about such a dimmer?
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Wayne Boatwright
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DA had written this in response to http://www.www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/Confusion-over-Dimmers-for-CFLs-303120-.htm :
Wayne Boatwright wrote:

There is no confusion. You can't dim a CFL without damaging it. Been there, done that. Life expectancy of a CFL bulb behind a dimmer is about 3-4 hours.
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On Apr 27, 10:07 am, info_at_1-script_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (DA) wrote:

Including the CFL's specifically marked as dimmable? I thought that type were dimmable, though only to like about half their full brightness.
I've never heard of a dimmer that will work with a std CFL and don't see how it would even be possible.

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On Sun 27 Apr 2008 07:23:25a, told us...

tohttp://www.www.thestuccocompany.com/main
Actually, I'm not sure I believe it either, but I was told that by the manager of the electrical department in a big box store. He said they used to carry them, that as long as the balast in the CFL was an electronic balast (he also said most of them are), that this particular dimmer would work with them. He couldn't remember the brand of the dimmer.
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Wayne Boatwright wrote:

Honestly, what do people need dimmers for *really*?
If you want the light on, turn it on, if you want the light off, turn it off, and if you want "atmosphere" light some candles.
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Wayne Boatwright wrote:

There are special fixtures for cfls that allow them to be dimmed. On the other hand, there are special cfls that allow them to be dimmed with a standard dimmer. You need to get the right combination for either to work correctly.
http://www.pathnet.org/sp.asp?id#506
http://www.energy.wsu.edu/documents/building/light/compact_fluor.pdf
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Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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On Sun 27 Apr 2008 08:08:26a, Robert Allison told us...

Thanks, Robert.
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Wayne Boatwright wrote:

Your welcome. In addition to the other information, I will give you this;
If you invest in the special fixtures (I have been involved with these mostly in can lights) and install them, you will come out ahead financially. Although the dimmable on board ballasts cost more than standard can lights, you only have to buy them once.
The bulbs that carry their own onboard ballast that makes them dimmable are way more (about 20 bucks a piece) than standard cfls. Since you are going to have to change them over the years, you will save over and over by going with the dimmable fixtures.
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Robert Allison
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One more reason CFLs SUCK!
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On Sun 27 Apr 2008 09:02:12a, Robert Allison told us...

Coincidentally, that's exactly what I want to dim. I have 12 recessed cans in my kitchen, each with a 23 watt conventional screw-in CFL. Full power is ideal when I'm doing a lot of cooking and cleanup (which is usually at night), but there are many times when I wish I could dim them when I don't need that much light.

Yes, I found out just how expensive when I first looked for the CFLs, and didn't buy the dimmable units because of the price and the rumor? that they didn't always perform well at dimming.
I suppose the best choice is to just bite the bullet and replace the cans with dimmable models. I will have to find suitable retrofit models, as it is a vaulted ceiling with no crawl space above to work from.
I appreciate all your input!
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Keep in mind that fixtures with ballasts take a specific model or limited range of specific models of pin-base ballastless CFLs.
I advise to get one that takes a more common and industry standard bulb, such as 13 watt twintube (F13TT, AKA PL-13) or 13 watt quadtube (F13DTT, AKA PLC-13) or 26 watt quadtube (F26DTT, AKA PLC-26).
Any other bulb should be one that is available at home centers and is available under the "Big 3" brands (GE, Philips or Sylvania - preferably in the online catalogs of all 3, though model numbers may vary slightly).
Personally, I have been most impressed with CFL recessed ceiling fixtures if they take 13 watt twintubes or doubletwintubes over 13 watts, two bulbs per fixture, with the bulbs in a horizontal position. Also, I have found 26 watt doubletwintubes to be nice and especially impressively bright.
The more common sizes (13 watt twintube and 26 watt doubletwintube especially) are available in different colors, though home centers normally don't carry all available colors.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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On Sun 27 Apr 2008 11:37:57a, Don Klipstein told us...

Also very good information. Since I'm faced with replacing 12 recessed cans, I may give those less expensive screw-in CFLs a try first. I'm not looking forward to the expense and effort required to replace those cans, especially since I have no access from above.
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wrote in part:

One more thing to watch out for when using CFLs in recessed cans: Heat.
CFLs are paradoxically more efficient at producing non-radiant heat than incandescents, despite also being more efficient at producing light. (What CFLs produce less of is infrared - becomes heat, but mostly outside the fixture.)
CFLs don't withstand heat as well as incandescents do. In screw-base ones, their ballast electronics can get cooked all too easily.
If you start having screw-base CFLs not specifically rated for recessed ceiling fixtures dying young, it's probably another reason to get fixtures that have ballasts and take ballastless CFLs.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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On Sun 27 Apr 2008 12:50:43p, Don Klipstein told us...

Heat.
than

Thanks, Don, understood. What I have presently are 12 CFL 23 watt floods installed in recessed cans (no covers). They're conventional, not dimmable, and they've been in regular use for about a year and a half with no problem. I presume there's sufficient venting to prevent the overheating problem. Also, I would guess that since they are floodlight configuration, they were expected to be used in can lights. The same with out outdoor floodlights.
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Robert Allison wrote:

Actually, they are a little more .... not $20 more or not even $20 for a dimmable CFL. I paid about $8 for the dimmable CFLs that I have.
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On Sun 27 Apr 2008 10:41:48a, Art Todesco told us...

this;
How well do they work? What was your source? Are they reflector flood/spot lights? What wattage?
Thanks!
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Wayne Boatwright wrote:

They don't dim well .... by that I mean they do flicker quite a bit. If lucky, you can find a sweet spot where they don't flicker too much. I was using X10 to do the dimming; a real dimmer might work better. They were the standard twist lamp and were pretty bright, I'm guessing 20 some watts. I got them at the local Menards home center.
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On Sun 27 Apr 2008 09:06:12p, Art Todesco told us...

Thanks, Art. I might buy one to try, and I would be using a regular dimmer. At least I'd learn if they were acceptable to me. I don't think I'd like the flicker, though. I'd be getting a floodlight configuration, but it's still a twist lamp just enclosed in a floodlamp shaped exterior.
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On 4/27/2008 9:06 PM Art Todesco spake thus:

>

Reading this, along with several other responses regarding CFLs on dimmers, makes me agree with whoever it was here who said, basically, "Forget about dimmers; who needs them?". Hopefully in the not-too-distant future, interior light dimmers will have gone the way of the lava lamp and the color organ. There's really nothing that lights on dimmers can offer that can't be done better (and cheaper) by good lighting design to begin with.
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Although it is true that fixtures with dimming ballasts are better in the long run than disposable dimming ballasts in the bulbs, the latter is getting more widely available and affordable. A month or two ago, dimmable screw-base CFLs were about $15 at Target.
I expect that CFL fixtures with dimming ballasts and that take pin-base CFLs are also getting more affordable, as production ramps up to meet various energy efficiency mandates.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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