dimmable CFLs?

Page 1 of 2  

Anyone have any *good* experiences with 'em? I know, everyone jumped on the bandwagon 2 years ago, but I only have one dimmer-controlled light fixture in my whole house (yes, with two of those nassssty 60W incandescents in it,) so I haven't been real worried about it. However, now that I've installed wall fixtures in my living room, I'm thinking a dimmer would be nice there as well.
I've yet to see any "name-brand" dimmable CFLs in the store, but I made a speed run to the local Orange Colored Store today to pick up some Crescent wrenches (I found that I did not have a wrench large enough to remove a hitch ball) and saw some "dimmable 90W equivalent CFLs." I grabbed two and I will be returning them - first of all, when hooked up to my dimmer, they don't dim. At all. They also flicker disconcertingly, even on full brightness. I tried it in the living room as well, just to make sure it wasn't an issue with my dimmer, and it flickers there as well. They're marked "ecosmart" just so you know. They're quite large as well, they actually stick up above the glass on my light fixtures, not an appealing look.
So... looks like I would have to mail order something, but what? anyone recommend a good product?
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I haven't seen any decent light output CFL lamps that dimmed properly. I just installed a few R-40 style CFLs that claimed they are dimmable, and got the same results as you. These weren't from Depot, but were some cheap Chinese company
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

hd has a easy return policy, mailorder sounds like a crapshoot in all respects. They have lights on dimmers there at Hd, have them show you if they have any that work. I buy hd brand Invision, of the regular cfls and have had great luck, is "ecosmart" HDs Invision brand? I wonder if cfls go reddish when dimmed, my T8s do and its noticable.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
ransley wrote in part:

I have seen dimmable CFL installations using ballastless CFLs and special dimming ballasts. My experience with those is that with mild dimming, the color gets a little warmer, as in slightly more yellow-orangish. With more extreme dimming, the color gets slightly less-warm, more white (or "grayish").
Several years ago, I did try dimming a non-dimmable CFL with a Variac. My experience was that the color got slightly more warm-yellowish when the CFL was dimmed mildly. It did not work well with a lot of dimming.
The color change should be only minor, at least in most cases. In some cases, the color may be "more off" if major dimming causes the CFLs to run at lower temperature than they were designed for, especially if the CFLs have outer bulbs (designed with more heat buildup in mind).
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I've had very bad luck. They only dimmed for about the upper 40% range of my dimmers. But worse than that they died after a mere 3 or 4 months of use (I have 8 year old halogens in the same cans) its a slow-start dimmer used daily.
As for what you experienced, with ANY CFL, you have to run it full blast when new for about 2 or 3 hours before they consistently produce their full output. I dont know why this is, but it is. When new, CFL's glow kind of "grayish" and the phosphor in the spiral will often be "spotty" until after the 2 hour break-in. You might want to try them again after a full-power break in.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
windcrest wrote:

destroying the planet with mercury. Don't let the "the Gore disease" get to you!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

All this angst about CFLs makes sense I guess if in a climate where one needs AC?
We do not; although the few homes here using heat pumps are supposed to be able to run them in reverse for the few days a year when it is warm and humid. Weather to which we are just not acclimatised!
August 24th: Tropical-storm/hurricane 'Bill' has passed over into the North Atlantic and today (during daylight) it's 12 degrees Celsius = about 56 deg F. Nice and cool for working outside although had everything put away and/or tied down ahead of the storm and nothing blew away nor trees tipped over.
Now approaching fall it's a bit chilly after all the damp and humidity of last few days/week. So any 'wasted heat' from incandescents (and other electrical appliances) when they are on during the slightly cooler evenings (about 50 deg F at night) and the bread and butter pudding now in the oven are helping to dry and warm the house.
With the recent humid air seeping down into our slightly cooler basement have been running a small dehumidifier down there and wringing several litres (half gallons) of water out of the air daily. That will slow down as cooler less humid weather arrives.
Good luck with the CFLs. Remembering that ALL energy that is introduced into any house structure has to be accommodated either as 'unwanted' extra 'heat' to be got rid of, or as useful 'warmth' that otherwise would have to be generated by gas, oil, electricity or wood burning etc. Visited recently a home equipped with very hot halogen kitchen pot lights. Excellent lighting but then they opened the windows to cool down!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
stan wrote:
<SNIP to here>

Light bulbs are resistive heaters, which are less economical than heat pumps for heating. Only about half the heat delivered by a heat pump is from the electricity going into it - the other roughly 50% is pumped in from outside.
If you have resistive electric heating and need for heat year-round, then there are no savings from increasing the efficiency of your lights or other electric devices.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
stan wrote:

yeah, it's 84 degrees here and I think I'm going to go try to knock out some miles on my bike because it's likely as cool as it's going to get this week. (that and I just got home from work and have some excess energy that needs to be burned off...)
So, yeah, a more efficient light bulb is quite useful around here. maybe 4 mos. a year the furnace is running, if that, and 2-3 of those not much duty cycle.
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

On average, a CFL used in USA in place of an incandescent at least 60 watts reduces mercury pollution by reducing coal burning.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 24 Aug 2009 16:54:41 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@manx.misty.com (Don Klipstein) wrote:

Similarly, I like to point out that in many parts of the country, that shiny new Chevy Volt plug-in will be a coal-powered car :-)
No, I don't disagree with the concept, and would like an affordable plug-in hybrid myself, but it still is funny...
Josh
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
windcrest wrote in part:

I have had this experience, but my experience is that this fixes itself in 5-10 minutes. This may need to be repeated if the CFL is moved around, especially if it is moved around while it is hot. The explanation is that dim-gray spots are where there is a shortage of mercury. Some time with full power operation gets mercury vapor all around the bulb.
Although my experience is that 5-10 minutes gets a CFL fully glowing, I give a chance that it may take a few hours after the last time it is moved before the mercury is distributed in a way that provides for easier warmups and better dimmed operation.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Aug 24, 11:53am, snipped-for-privacy@manx.misty.com (Don Klipstein) wrote:

I said 2 hours because I put 240 watt (equivalent) CFL's in my garage ceiling sockets and it took at least an hour for the spiral to glow completely with no gray area. They work geat now, very bright, but no dimmer there. If you are using a dimmer I would think the break in might take even longer.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Nate Nagel wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't have any dimmers so I don't have personal experience dimming dimmable CFLs of my own. However, I have seen Target selling dimmable CFLs by GE, one of the "Big 3" brands.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Don Klipstein wrote:

Thanks, maybe I'll try them next. I don't go there very often, but not really out of any prejudice, simply because I don't need to.
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Nate Nagel wrote:

Really late follow up: ended up at a job site at the end of my day and the way home went by Target. I remembered this thread and stopped in, they had a place on the pegboard for them but their stock person had filled it with regular non-dimmable CFLs. Checked Target's web site, "store only." They're now showing on Amazon when they weren't a couple weeks ago when I last looked, but for an exorbitant price - $17 for a 23W bulb, which is what I think I would want.
Rather than pays my money and takes my chances, has anyone actually tried them, before I waste more money/time? (no reviews on Amazon yet) Or are incandescents really the only suitable bulb available for dimmer applications at the current time?
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Nate Nagel wrote:

Update ^2: ended up at Lowe's today because I needed some metric cap screws that I didn't have in my assortment, and *they* carry Sylvania brand dimmable CFLs. Picked up two of those and tried them. They're actually quite functional, but some stuff you should know if you're considering them:
1) The package says "warm white," but I don't believe it. They're really more of a traditional pure white fluorescent color, and instead of getting warmer as you dim them like an incandescent, if anything, they get cooler, with a little added red tint as well. They go purple, if anything. This is not a Bad Thing in this application, because SWMBO insisted on buying those "reveal" bulbs before CFLs became common, she hates yellow tinted light. But it might be a problem for you.
2) They're really freaking bright. The "100W equivalent" ones might actually equal the light output of a 100W incandescent bulb. They looked significantly brighter than the several year old "100W equivalent" regular CFLs in my kitchen.
3) They're still somewhat large. I see that there are now more compact CFLs available that fit better into your light fixtures, but these are approximately the same size as the first-gen ones. The "60W" ones are smaller than the "100W" ones...
4) they only dim down to about half brightness. So for what I'm trying to do (provide normal/dimmish light in the living room, with the ability to brighten it if desired for reading/whatever) that's OK, but if you leave the house with a light near the front door on almost full dim just to act as a night light, these will be way too bright for that use.
But anyway, these actually do work, so there's one option. I have not tried the GE ones because I have been unable to obtain any, but given the white color of these ones I suspect that these are probably the best option for domestic harmony :)
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Nate Nagel wrote:

This is what you needed for that:
"http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber494"
I need to get one of these. The plastic drain plug for my pool filter is 1.5" and a Crescent wrench doesn't work on it (you need to grip it on all six sides).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Don't mean to steal your thread, but do they make 3 way CFL's? I have 6 lamp fixtures in my house that are 3 ways (60w/75w/100w) and I'm not going to replace them just for a new bulb.
Red
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.