I have a fluorescent light in my kitchen with 2 - 40 watt bulbs.
The light is very dim. Always has been. I'd like to change this to a
brighter fluorescent light.
What should I look for?
I was thinking of something with 4 bulbs in it because I'd ratehr err
on the side of too much vs too little light.
Maybe 4 - 4 foot bulbs - 80 watts each.
Or should I change it to an incandescent light?
Or one of those round fluorescent lights.
Hell, I have no clue. Can someone provide me one?
I'd like a well lit kitchen so I can see as I prepare the meals.
I would like to spend less then $100.
And, What is a T-8 bulb? Do I need to make sure I get this??
Also, a different light.......I have 4 incandescent recessed lights in
my bed room. I wouod like to put a dimmer switch on circuit. BUT, I
want one that looks just like a "normal" switch. All the way up is
full on, all the way down is off and a dimmer in between. I can seem
to find one in the stores around here. Is there such a thing?
It's entirely possible that your current fixture has a problem, which is why
it's dim. My recommendation would be to get a four light T8 fixture. These
are more efficient and use an electronic ballast that is way more dependable
then the magnetic ballast your current T12 fixture uses. Also, don't be
confused by the wattage of the lamps. Wattage is the current the thing uses,
not the amount of light it emits, which is measured in lumens. hth
You want to do it on the cheap?
Walmart has some T8 fixtures wiith electronic starters for less than
$17 dollars. The two bulbs are super bright and will please you.
That's cheap enough that you can remove the parts and stick them in
your old fixture and toss what you don't want.
I'd like to say money is of no concern, but unfortunately I live
in the real world.
I was looking at one light for around $50 at Home Depot.
Fluorescne, 4 bulb, ( I think T8) and oak trim.
I really would like it to be asteticly pleasing.
How does the Wal Mart brand look?
Well, I'm sure it'd go with the rest of my house done in
"Early White Trash and Late Wal Mart."
(Save your flames, I am not equating white trash and Wally's.
I'm just telling you the style of decor I have.)
For most kitchens, you want a warm white or deluxe warm white lamp
(with a higher emmission of red light vs. blue light) and a high CRI
(color rendition index). Otherwise, your red meat will look gray and
Some F lamps are now marked "For Kitchens and Bathrooms" to make it
easier for you.
Not sure what the Walmart lamps put out... Walmart can sometimes have
a limited selection in their quest for cheapness.
Please consider that regular warm white, which I call "old tech warm
white", has a color rendering index of only 53. It has a "warm" color,
but it makes plenty of things look sickly. People look a little "dead" under
this one - on the pale side as well as greenish-yellowish.
Deluxe Warm White is a major improvement, but with compromised light
output. Although color distortions are greatly reduced, they still exist
and remain in the same direction as before.
On the other hand, Philips "Ultralume 3000" and Sylvania "Designer 3000"
and "Interior Design" of 300K color temp. as well as T8 Philips Advantage
3000 and TL830, Sylvania D830, and GE SPX30 have similar overall color and
no compromise in light output. Color rendering index of these is 82-86
which "deluxe warm white" may be similar to or same as, but these better
other ones have their color distortions more in the direction of making
colors brighter and "more vivid" than proper as opposed to the opposite.
On a bit of a more oddball note for slightly more advanced discussion of
fluorescent lamp color and color rendering properties: One that has been
around at least since the 1970's is the "Natural". This is a
purplish-pinkish white one, not to be confused with a different
daylight-like one offered in recent years by one manufacturer under the
This pinkish "Natural" has a color rendering index of 90 and has as one
of its more major color distortions making meats appear redder and more
attractive than under most-similar-color-possible sunlight or halogen
light, let alone in comparison to any other fluorescent light available
back when "Natural" became available.
Please note that "color rendering index" is a measure of grading for
lack of color distortion. Color distortions that are favorable as well as
ones that are unfavorable "lower the grade". This means that higher CRI
means less color distortion and lower CRI means more color distortion,
regardless of whether the color distortions are mostly good or mostly bad.
Just be aware that fluorescent lamps with color rendering index anywhere
from 82 to 86 (excluding "deluxe warm white" should that be in this range)
tend to have whatever color distortions they have mostly in a pleasing
direction, with my main complaint being bright pure reds such as
poinsettias being rendered a bit orangish compared to "proper". Most
fluorescent lamps with CRI outside this range, *especially if around 90 or
below 75 or if of a technology widely on the market before the early
1970's or both of color temperature near/over 5000 K and with CRI low
90's or less*, tend to have their color distortions mostly in the
direction of making colors "less vivid", mostly darker/duller although
making skin tones "more dead".
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
I would be wary of WalMart for:
1. Being good at getting low bid stuff.
I would be wary if the bulbs are made for WalMart by someone other than
(good) GE, Philips, Sylvania or Osram - and then suspect a low bid
contract manufacturer if the bulbs were made anywhere other than in North
America or in Europe and having no manufacturer indication other than a
brand. Then again, I am wary of anything made to WalMart's order, no
matter by whom is willing to cut corners enough to get the job.
Better "traditional" ballast manufacturers are Universal, Magnetek and
the better brands for lamps ("bulbs") and also Motorola. Another brand
that I thought of as good, just did not notice known "commercial grade"
product from recently, is Valmont. I would be more wary if the ballast
was none of the above.
I would be more wary if anything was custom manufactured to WalMart
specifications, since I have experienced widespread mention of opinions
that WalMart demands lower cost at the expense of anything else good to
the extent they can get away with it.
I would be wary of anything made to WalMart's order in China for the
2. Forcing their managers to get away with labor law violations to
whatever extent is possible, given Reagan cutbacks in enforcement budgets
for agencies responsible for enforcing the laws and regulations that
Reagan disagreed with but could not get repealed.
Namely, forcing workers to work significantly "off the clock".
I remember one thread (which I contributed to) where there were more
posts defending WalMart on this by "blaming the victims" than even posts
defending WalMart by claiming that this was not true!
- Don Klipstein ( email@example.com)
Where did you come up with racist? Sounds to me like Mr Klipstein objects to
doing business with countries where workers are paid next to nothing and the
profits go to the local communist boss. Try and remember that China is still
Much of what Wal Mart sells is identical to what you could buy at
supermarkets, sporting goods stores, auto supply stores, etc. But, quite a
bit of what they sell is NOT the same, and not always for healthy reasons.
If you would make a habit of reading grownup news sources, you would know
As recently as 6 years ago, Leviton made dimmer switches that looked like
traditional light switches. However, I'm not sure what their power handling
capacity was. The ones I installed only needed to control small fixtures.
Get out your yellow pages and find a real lighting store or electrical
supply place. I'd suggest looking at www.leviton.com, too.
If this fixture has one of those el-cheapo junky garbage trash
piece-of-$#!+ "residentail grade" ballasts, there is a good fix that is
easy enough if you are up to replacing the ballast - which is a fairly
simple fixture rewiring job.
Those pieces of dumpster food sometimes known as "residential grade"
ballasts can result in as little as about half the light you should get.
So what to do is go to an electrical/lighting shop of the kind that
contractors go to and buy a decent, or "commerical grade" ballast.
Better still, if you are going to replace the ballast, then you may as
well convert to T8 (1 inch diameter bulbs, and they will be 32 watt) as
opposed to T12 (1.5 inch diameter bulbs, generally 40 watt sometimes 34 or
35 watt). Both bulbs and ballasts are usually more efficient with T8
versions. In addition, you can get good color rendering for a fair price
with uncompromised light output.
Electronic ballasts for two F32 T8 "lamps" (bulbs) are available at home
centers as well as at electrical/lighting supply shops, although the
latter may be a little more helpful at making sure you get something good.
As for bulbs: F32T8 4-footers come in a few different colors and two
color rendering grades and color codes vary from one manufacturer to
My favorite color is "3500K", and in color codes is abbreviated to 35.
This is a "semi warm white" (my words), somewhat halogenlike. It is
basically a "warm white" but not as orangish as usual "warm white".
The usual "regular white" or "cool white" is "4100K" or 41.
The lower color rendering grade of these, available at home centers, is
an improvement over the "old tech" fluorescents. GE has "SP" in its color
code for this, and others have a "7" for this, referring to color
rendering index in the upper 70's.
The higher color rendering grade is the good one. GE has "SPX" in its
color code and others have "8" in their color codes for this, referring to
color rendering index in the low to maybe mid 80's.
More good news - most color distortions of this one are in the direction
of making colors brighter and more vivid than "proper", as opposed to most
non-triphosphor fluorescents (of color rendering index anywhere from 53 to
low 90's) having their color distortions in the direction of making colors
darker and duller or otherwise "less vivid" than "proper". My biggest
complaint about this grade is that bright pure reds such as poinsettias
are rendered orangish compared to the way they are rendered by
incandescent, halogen, or sunlight.
Other colors available: 3000/30, "warm white"
5000/50, an icy cold pure white of color like
that of noontime tropical sunlight, sometimes
appears slightly bluish.
So I recommend looking for GE SPX35, Philips TL835 or ADV35, or Sylvania
D835 for my favored "semi warm white". For "regular cool white" I advise
looking for GE SPX41, Philips TL841 or ADV41 or Sylvania D841.
Once you get your new bulbs and ballast and are ready to replace the old
ballast with the new one, pay attention to the wiring diagrams on the
ballasts! Good chance they are different! Have wire cutters and a few
wirenuts on hand!
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
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