Motion Detecting Lights in Bathrooms - Code??

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The hallway bathrooms in the small office building we've rented in for many years use motion detectors to turn on the overhead flourescents when someone enters, and they stay on for about 5 minutes after there's no longer anyone moving around in them. (DAMHIKT, but it involved an interesting magazine article which absorbed my attention for over 5 minutes. <G>)
Those motion detectors seem like a good idea to me because they keep from wasting electricity by keeping the bathroom lights off for what's probably over 95% of the time the building's occupied. Unless maybe the costs of having to replace the flourescent bulbs more frequently because of that switching on and off, will eat up the savings, but that's not the point of this post....
SWMBO and I were visiting my cousin in San Jose, California last week. She'd just had a new home built for her. My wife used one of the bathrooms and was startled when the lights went off before she was through with her business.
My cousin explained that all the bathrooms' lights were turned on by motion detectors when someone entered them, and there was a means provided to keep them on for a longer time than the few minutes my wife experienced.
She told me the electrician who'd wired the place for her said the motion detectors were required by code on new construction there, but she hadn't been given a reason why.
My inquiring mind wants to know if that's really a code requirement, and if so, what's the underlying reason. All I can think of is some whacky safety issue to avoid someone entering a dark bathroom from stumbling and ending up with their head stuck in the toilet because they couldn't find the light switch. <G>
So, what is it? (Or was her electrician maybe off base?)
Thanks guys,
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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Codes are local, and you did say California. Makes perfect (non)sense to me

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"

Given that it is California, I have no doubt it is code. My guess, again since it is Ca, is that someone's honcho's worthless brother-in-law makes them... er I mean that it is an energy saving effort.
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Energy saving code reqt would be my guess too. They want to ban the incandescent bulb in CA too. I'm trying a few of those CFL flood type bulbs that are supposed to be so great myself. So far, I'm not impressed. They take about 2 mins to reach any reasonable brightness. I put two in about two months ago, and one just went out already. 4X Life? I don't think so!
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

The other thing is the mercury. While I admit that each one is small, DOE says 55 millions light bulbs are sold PER day in the US. My calculator doesn't go high enuff to figure out yearly. If all (or even a hefty %age are CFL, and they get thrown out into landfills, why will that not cause problems over the years. Reminds me of the EPA calling for the additive EBDT (IIRC) to gasoline as a oxygenator and then after 10 or 15 years pulling it from the market and calling for Superfund type clean-ups after it became carcinogenic.
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Remember that the lifespan of a CFL bulb is measured in years instead of months -- so the number of CFLs going into the landfills isn't going to be anywhere near the number of incandescent bulbs.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com says...

I'd amend that to "the lifespan of a CFL bulb *in a suitable application* is measured in years instead of months." I suggest not replacing the incandescent bulb inside your oven with a CFL, for example, unless you want a bulb lifespan measured in minutes instead of years. And most CFs don't work so well at subzero temperatures when used outdoors or in your freezer.
I hope whoever is banning incandescent bulbs provides exceptions for applications where incandescents are the most suitable technology.
--
snipped-for-privacy@phred.org is Joshua Putnam
<http://www.phred.org/~josh/
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Kurt Ullman wrote:

Around here most electricity is produced by coal-fired plants. Burning coal releases a certain amount of mercury. The reduced electrical demand from the CFL means that over its lifetime the amount of mercury saved by using less power outweighs the mercury in the bulb itself.
Thus, a net reduction in the amount of mercury in the environment.
Chris
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But much more concentrated around landfills. Also, how about the direct exposures from cleaning up broken ones? Anyone really think people are going to know to open up windows for awhile before cleaning up? Know enough not to get the vacuum cleaner out?
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Kurt Ullman wrote:

It's just amazing that I managed to survive to my present age (71-1/2) after all the times I'd smear mercury onto silver coins as a kid.
And while I do get plenty mad at stupid things, nobody's yet accused me of being "mad as a hatter". <G>
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Different brands behave differently. I have some that take a while to brighten up, and some that come on instantly.
Most manufacturers will replace the bulbs if they die prematurely...I have some bulbs that are ~4yrs old and still work fine.
Chris
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On Sep 3, 7:37 pm, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I have tried and tried these CFLs and find them hugely disappointing. I really think this is going to become the 1.6-gallon-toilet of the new generation - a few work somewhat well, most don't, but the reports from the field are all hidden under the glowing, glowing hype. Leaving the closet light on because it won't come to full brightness quickly might become the next double-flush.
I mean, I really *wanted* the CFLs to work. I like fluorescents, but give me T8s in a proper fixture and keep the damn CFLs except for a few special cases. Not only is there the brightness problem, but
-the light is poor in quality in most of the ones most people can afford
-there is no discussion of power factor because nobody knows about it
-No energy is saved during the heating season
-even the most compact CFLs are bulky and heavy, and won't fit a lot of fixtures, and overstress sockets.
-in a fully enclosed fixture, I find that CFLs tend to overheat and fail
-light output is often significantly lower than the incandescents the bulb is "compared to" on the package.
Of course, nobody sees anything past the "ENERGY SAVINGS!!! YAY!"
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snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote:

I've been using CFLs for quite a while and have not experienced any of the claimed issues. Color temperatures are good, initial brightness and time to full brightness are fine in living area conditions, no CFL meltdowns, no fit issues vs. "A" incandescents, etc. Only in an unheated storage container in CT winter is there a noticeable dim start and full brightness in a couple minutes and that's hardly a problem.
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I'd posted a while back about the CFL's I was using in my bathroom (large globes) first brand I tried had unacceptable warm up time, second brand seemed initially OK but now that they've been in a month or two they're starting to exhibit long warm up times as well. Anyone recommend a brand that really works well?
nate
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N8N wrote:

I couldn't tell you on those as I'm not using any "designer" type CFLs.
I've got a dozen "Commercial Electric" 14W CFLs that have been in place in various table lamps, pendants, range hoods, etc. for a couple years with no problems at all.
I use 42W CFLs in cheap spring clamp reflector fixtures as work lights in my shop again with no issues. One 42W CFL that runs 24x7 finally burned out after probably 18 months which I consider pretty reasonable.
I've got some 25W I think it is CFLs in a couple enclosed hall fixtures and they're doing fine. They're a different brand and they start at probably 75% brightness and hit 100% within 2 seconds, something you don't even notice after a week of use.
That storage container isn't near power so I plug that string into an inverter from my truck when I need light in the container. Six 14W CFLs evenly spaced inside a 40' container with a white interior provides very good lighting, even for doing detailed work while in the container and of course uses only 84W of power.
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BALONEY. Any heat generated in my house in New England by electric appliances and lights is FAR more expensive than the heat provided by my oil burning boiler and hot water baseboards. It's not even remotely close. That's why no homes here have electric heat. It would be very cheap to install during new construction, but the operational costs to heat even a small home by electricity here would be astronomical.
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snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote:

Heh. Technically, I guess OP is right. Energy=Energy. No energy IS saved by the CFLs.
    Of course, you are right that the COST of the energy is quite different. Heating my house with CFLs instead of NG would be....frightening.
    I don't know what CFLs the OP is referring to; certainly the older CFLs and the ones showing up in the "$1 Store" show the drawbacks he mentions. The new ones do not.
    The CFLs I have (mostly from Home Despot, "Commercial Electric", IIRC):
-come on at almost full brightness, even at 60F -have an agreeable color tone -have lasted up to 5 years (I have not had one burn out, although I destroyed one dropping it in a sink full of water, another by physically breaking it, and one by washing it). -show no ill effects from being turned on and off many times per day and only being on short periods
I am very pleased with the newer CFLs. The older ones that don't work so well, I've put in the closets.
PB
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My experience has been exactly the opposite and very disappointing. I recently bought a 4 pack of FEIT reflector indoor flood type ones at Costco. First problem, despite looking very similar, they will not fit in my existing ceiling cans. And no, it's not that they are the wrong R type. It's that the area near the neck is too wide so it hits the retaining clips in the can and won't screw in.
OK, so I go buy a couple of screw-in extenders, that cost $3 each and the bulbs finally go in. Next problem, they take and extremely long time to warm up. Longer than any other CFL I have ever seen. I have them in the kitchen and you can imagine what that's like when you come in at night and want to just get something quick, then leave. I'd say it takes over a min to get anything close to acceptable and probably 3 mins before they reach full output. So, the obvious tendency is to just leave them on if you think you'll be back in an hour. There goes the energy savings.
And one of the first 2 lasted only 2 months. I thought this could be just a fluke. Replaced it and that one lasted less about a month. I'm on the last of the 4 now.
IMO, this whole CFL greatness thing is way over hyped. And it's going to lead to a lot of people trying them, realising they are not all they are cracked up to be, and then giving up on them. For starters, it would be much better if there were specs on the package that stated how long it takes them to get to say 70% of full brightness. Then, you could make a correct choice for the application. I can live with that in some apps, like a security light, but not in others, like my bathroom. Then there are the other dirty little secrets. Read the packages and many of the spiral bulb type ones say they can only be used base down. Meaning you're not supposed to use them upside down in a garage or closet. Irronically, I have some of those, that you're not supposed to install that way in the garage, and they have performed much better. Still slower to start up, but not as bad as the FEIT ones and only one has failed after a year or so.
IMO, we'd be much better off if they figured out what the essential problems are here. Why does it take these much longer than other flourescent lights to achieve reasonable brightness? My guess is the size limits for the transformer/electronics may have something to do with it? If that's the case, maybe we should be focusing on developing new lights from the ground up, for new construction and remodeling. If there were a good flourescent recessed light option avaliable, when I remodel, I would put it in. Based on what I've seen so far, CFL just doesn't cut it for many of my applications.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:
<SNIP stuff already said; edit for space>

CFLs with outer bulbs, in my experience, tend to start dimmer and take longer to warm up than ones without. Also, ceiling cans are heat hellholes and many CFLs will overheat there.
I would recommend Philips SLS non-dimmable up to 23 watts with the available clip-on R40 reflector (if R40 fits). If R40 does not fit, there is an R30 clip-on reflector, but light output is compromised somewhat.
<SNIP>

The more compact tubing heats up more. Mercury vapor works best at producing the fluorescence-causing UV over a limited temperature range. They design the CFL to work best at the temperature it will normally on average settle at. When this temperature is higher, there is a greater need for warmup.

Philips non-dimmable up to 23 watts is outright rated for this.
It is now common for office buildings to have recessed ceiling fixtures with CFLs, but they usually use something different. The fixtures are special ones made for ballastless CFLs, are designed optically and usually thermally for these CFLs, have ballasts, and take ballastless CFLs such as industry standard 13 watt twintube or 26 watt doubletwintube.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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Plague Boy wrote: <snip>

I jinxed myself. Yes, I had a CFL burn out on me today. It's the overhead light in the pantry, the room off my kitchen where the sink is. When I removed it, the date was 11-2001. So it has lasted almost six years in a high duty-cycle environment. Every time you need water/wash hands/get pots/dump dirty item/toss trash, this light gets turned on and then off. The only time it really is on for any time is when I wash dishes.
    I read some time ago that Wal-Mart was going to start pushing the CFLs and have a recycling program for the dead ones. Anybody have an update on this?
PB
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