Fluorescent Bulb Usage

I'm curious about something guys. Energy saving compact fluorescent bulbs and fluorescent tube light fixtures don't work well at relatively low temperatures (below freezing) which is why they shouldn't be used in cold climates in an unheated garage.
Here's my question; how can fluorescent tube light fixtures in outdoor commercial signs work in cold temperatures? Are they designed different?
Handi
P.S.: Fluorescent bulbs can not be operated with the typical light fixture dimmer. I'm assuming that they require a specialized dimmer. And one last thought. I like the idea of saving money with energy saving compact fluorescent bulbs but I don't like the color of their light. What do you think?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

high output). Lamp current, thus wattage is much higher in these with a little expense of efficiency. Of course light output is higher. There are also lamps that are designed to operate in the cold and there aer sleeves that fit over the tube to help insulate it.
There are dimmable compact fluorescent lamps available. They don't get the nice orangey warm glow as does dimmed tungsten.
Different brands give a different color tone. Many rated 2900 K look fine to me while some look pinkish. Color was never much of a concern to me. I like lighting a room with 28 watts vs. 120 w.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There are inexpensive 'shoplights' - 2 4foot bulbs- that work in near zero temps. I have gotten them at Lowes for less than $20.
Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
There are clear plastic covers you can buy that prtect fluroscent tube type bulbs from being damaged by impact and at the same time help in cold conditions
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
handi snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com says...

I have several CF bulbs installed outside, and I live in Canada (where it does, on occasion, drop below freezing). I have them in enclosed fixtures, which I presume keeps some of the heat in and allows them to operate at fairly cold temperatures.
Check the packages of the CF bulbs you want to buy - many of them will list their operating temperatures. The ones I bought indicated that they would reliably start down to -25 Celsius (-13 Fahrenheit), but I've found that they will run even when it's around -30 Celsius, but they aren't as bright. Right now it's only a few degrees below freezing, and they're working just fine.

There is a fair bit of variety out there in terms of CF bulb colour temperature. Buy some of the bulbs and see what you prefer. Cheap CF bulbs tend to have really awful color, but some of the better bulbs are much nicer. Philips bulbs have a nice color.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The ones I've found at HD are rated to -29C. They're out there, you just have to look.
Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Most Cf lamps are 2700 Kelvin, roughly incandescent color, but I see variations:
1. Spirals 19 watts or less tend in my experience to have a less-pink, more-yellow color, more like incandescent.
2. Higher wattages of all kinds in my experience have a tendency to be slightly more pink and less yellow. I have found Philips and GE to be less bad than others in this area.
3. Sylvanias are mostly 3000 Kelvin - slightly whiter than most others. But I have also found those to be a little harsher - slightly less yellowish and more whitish-pinkish, rather than halogen-like.
4. Sylvania makes a 3500 Kelvin 13 watt spiral that is whiter still, what I would call a "semi warm white". They call it "daylight", which is usually used to refer to a cold pure white or a bluish white color. I find Sylvania 3500K spirals rather pleasant, despite being a bit "harsh" by continuing their less-yellow, more-pinkish-white tendency. They may also look a litle "dreary" when you don't use enough light to illuminate things brightly.
5. I have noticed a trend where ones with non-electronic ballasts glow a little less yellow and more pink than ones with electronic ballasts. PL types don't have ballasts, and most fixtures and adapters I have seen for them have non-electronic ballasts.
6. Philips makes 15 watt "outdoor" models in 2700 Kelvin and 5000 Kelvin ("daylight" icy cold pure white). These are suitable indoors also except maybe not in recessed ceiling fixtures because of heat buildup. But you probably don't want the 5000K one if you are using it indoors for general room lighting.
7. You may find a few others with various higher color temperatures like 4100 (color of "cool white"), 5000 (icy cold pure white) and 6500 (bluish, color of "daylight"). My experience is that these usually cause a "dreary gray" effect in home use. You need high illumination levels (typically around or over 1,000 lux) to avoid this "dreary" effect.
8. If any FUL types are still around, avoid them. The ones I have seen have a lower color rendering index.
9. Avoid dollar store ones, especially ones $2 or less and/or of brands only seen in dollar stores. Most have a "daylight" bluish white color, even many in packages that say "soft warm white light" or "sun lighting". In addition, I have yet to see a dollar store one significantly outshine a 40 watt "standard" incandescent, not even ones that claim to replace 150 watt incandescents. Color rendering is also usually a little worse than that of most non-dollar-store compact fluorescents. Many dollar store ones that actually are "warm white" have an ugly purplish-pinkish-whitish shade of "warm white" as well as outright low color rendering index.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Randy wrote:

Funny they work just fine in my garage. Many of today's models work fine at low temp. They may take a few additional seconds to come up to full brightness however.

I also have the general light in my garage using tube type (4 ft and 8 ft) that are cold rated and they work great.

Special light and maybe a special dimmer, check the light for details.

I think you should buy a CF with a different light color. They are not all the same color and in general they are getting better.
In the bath I use a mix of CF and tungsten. It makes a good light.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Randy wrote:

I have half of my unheated shop lit by 48" 2 tube fixtures. They are T-8s. I've never had a problem with them in cold weather.
The other half of my shop is lit with CFs. The Cfs definitely take longer to warm up. The light is more yellow.
Amperage measured isn't really a fair comparison. The total watts of each half of the shop do not match, the CF side draws more ampres, while it seems to be darker at times and brighter at other times.When warm weather comes back, I'll be replacing the CFs with new T-8 fixtures and trashing the CFs.
Tom in KY, It's only taken me 4 years to make that decision.,,That's about right, ain't it?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Ballasts come in several temperature categories. 50 F, 20 F, 0 F, and -10 F. At least those are the ones I have installed. The ballast basically has a heater inside the case to keep the ballast warm. These temps depend on the application and the manufacture. HO and VHO lamps are more lumens per watt. Yes they are used on signs, but because they want the sign to "pop out" of the darkness. Not because they are better at cold weather.
FYI, Lower wattage CF like 5 and 7 watt do work well in colder weather. We installed a bunch of CF for outside lighting. We found that the 5 & & watt ones were good down to ~30 F. Also if they were turned on before the sun went down and it got colder prevented them from the flickers.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
SQLit wrote:

I thought temp rating related to output characteristics to run lamps at low temp; would think magnetic ballasts wouldn't have anything in them that would have a problem with cold. They produce heat anyway.

- more lumens/foot (may be what you meant). I also thought they were better in cold temperatures because they run hotter.
But its been a long time since I worked on signs.
bud--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks for all the feedback fellows. You've provided me with a lot to think about.
Handi
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Is there a CF brand that is a whiter light but not so extreme as the daylight ones which look blue to many people?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Colors of CFL are becoming standardized. For home use, the standard color is designed to be a close match to that of standard incandescent lamps. If you buy a CFL in a retail outlet with the Energy Star symbol on it, you'll get that color.
To get a "whiter" or "cooler" color, you'll likely have to get a commercial/industrial CFL product. Look in the lamp catalogs or on CFL packages for the CFL "Chromaticity" rating in "Kelvins". It works like this:
2700 K = warm tone (like low-wattage incandescent) 3000 K = warm tone (like high-wattage or halogen incandescent) 3500 K = neutral white tone 4100 K = cool tone (similar to traditional cool white fluoresent) 5000 K and higher = very cool tone like daylight or blue sky
TKM
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.