Anyone know if it is safe to use a CFL in the fridge?
I tried at 9w one out and it seems to work fine.
I do not think it will save me much money in lighting costs, however
the heat from a normal bulb is significant and I was thinking not
having a bulb heating the fridge every time it is open might make it
I am however worried that the bulb (mercury) might cause problems with
Anyone able to provide insight?
buffalo ny: they are usually slow: not fully bright until they warm
up, during that time you will be done browsing the fridge and the
microwave will ding to feed you.
they take up more room to do the job subject to your available
refrigerator space and the fixture in it for the bulb.
not all CFL lights are alike so your actual ingredients of a
particular bulb will require different answers, as to whether it is
"green" regarding mercury contents.
the factory appliance bulb 130v normally lasts plenty long in terms of
refrigerator use. depending on original cost versus a conventional
bulb [free from your neighbor he removed all his and saved them] the
return on investment on the CFL may to a loss unless if you move it to
your next new refrigerator for how many years.
bottom line: the amount of energy you save? it may actually become a
loss of energy instead: fumbling thru the insufficiently illuminated
fridge will cause all your room air to warm up the fridge and the
compressor to run more to cool it back down. -b
The amount of energy that went into making that one CFL compared to a
regular bulb outweighs any energy you save anyway. The supply chain
for a CFL has capacitors, triacs, transistors, resistors, many kinds
of metal, phosphors, chemicals, mercury, gasses, etc. and those
complex parts have even longer supply chains,etc. The supply chain
for a light bulb has a roll of tungsten wire, some glass, some thin
aluminum or brass, a rivit, and some springy metal to hold the
filament. I'm still not convinced that CFL's are a not net energy
loss, just like ethanol is. And besides I think the last time I
changed a fridge bulb was 10 years ago. CFL's dont last much longer
to make them compensate for their humongous supply chains and energy
in manufacture, I change blown CFL's quite frequently in fact. And
they are in the nearest landfill.
Agree. Seems pointless. To use a $2.50 to $3.00 bulb save a miniscule
amount of energy; seems silly?
Also the effect on the environment in the manufacturing of a CFL lamp,
including its minute mercury content and electronic bits and pieces,
even though it may last 5000 hours or something, is more significant
than the neg legible amount of energy saved.
The fact that a CFL costs some ten times ($2.50 versus 25 cents for a
regular bulb) that of a conventional bulb is surely an indication of
its greater industrial production requirement.
Even if a fridge was opened 100 times a day for half a minute each
time (with consequent loss of cold air, causing the fridge compressor
to cut in consuming way more energy than the lamp); a typical 25 watt
appliance lamp would consume at 10 cents per k.watt hour; only 10 x
(100 x 25 x 0.5 /60) /1000 = less than one quarter of one cent per
day. Maybe 75 cents per year? Which you could reduce to maybe 27 cents
per year by using CFL? Not worth thinking about.
BTW CFLs are rated as hazardous waste by some jurisdictions. Not
'supposed' to chuck them, when they do wear out, in regular garbage!
Some of these 'energy efficiency' policies are foolish especially when
implemented by politicians and others who have no concept of the
technicalities or basic physics involved. Then others jump on the
bandwagon cos. it's the fashionable thing to do!
We have a neighbour who has gone heavily in CFLs at considerable cost;
however since we we both use electric heating he doesn't seem to
realise that the 'wasted' heat from his old lamps contributed slightly
to his home heating! Since lights are typically on winter and other
Interesting that you say they don't last long. I've been doing some
selective replacement with CFL's here too. Put two of them in the
kitchen. Besides taking 2 mins to get any reasonable light output,
one already went bad after 2 months. So far, I'm not impressed. If
the dopes that make them were more honest, I think the acceptance
would be greater. They could start by specing how long they take to
reach say 75% of rated output. Then you wouldn't have to buy them to
find out if they work in your application. A slow turn on time is
OK for an area where you are going to turn them on and leave them on
for a long time, but unacceptable for a kitchen, where you want to
walk in, turn on the light and find something.
Watching a TV series called Modern Marvels yesterday, the show was
about modern technology for energy savings. Very good show about
current, in development, and future technology for energy savings. Just
before commercial breaks, they have a text screen that the narrator
reads. One said, If every American house replaced just one incandescent
bulb with a CFL, it would be the equivalent of taking 800,000 cars off
I don't know if that's accurate or not, but it's what it said.
As one poster pointed out, you have to consider the whole life cycle of
the cfl including energy to make it so one would seriously doubt that
this is correct. Overall there is probably an energy savings as they
would not be able to sell them and make a profit if they did not save
the consumer enough on his electric bill to make buying them worthwhile.
Poster also pointed out the flim-flam act of ethanol where I believe
there is little or no net gain of energy. At least the cfl makers have
not convinced the government to force us buy them like they have ethanol.
As for the mercury question, op can google it up. I believe there is
only a few ppm mercury used which should only worry those that intend to
eat the bulb after it wears out ;)
From experience, their emissions controls are not so hot. Those fumes
can wander over The Pacific to a region near you! Seriously, a CFL
cannot be a feasible option for a fridge. How often have you replaced a
fridge light? Do you keep the fridge door open for extended periods
wasting energy. I do think the OP was trolling.
It's a shame that any people believe this rubbish!
How about a wild wacky extreme outside limit on amount of energy
required to turn raw earth into a CFL on a store shelf with packaging:
Go to a home center, and chances are you can find a $10 or $9.95 4-pack
of 14 or 15 watt CFLs that replace 60 watt incandescents. Also look at
Target, where the everyday price for a 4-pack of 26 watt CFLs (replace 100
watt incandescents) is about $18.
Let's assume the extreme that 100% of the $2.50 for a 15 watter or $4.50
for a 26-watter is energy.
Of course, some of that is for shareholders, some for employee wages
some of which never get spent on energy, some for wages of those
extracting raw materials and some of those wages never get spent on
energy, some goes for rent, some for insurance, some to pay engineers,
truck drivers, assembly workers, taxes along the chain, etc.
But back to what if all that cost was energy cost: At $70 per barrel,
this works out to:
.0357 barrel for a 14-15 watt CFL
.0643 barrel for a 26-watt CFL
A barrel of petroleum has 5.8 million BTU according to the 43rd edition of
the "CRC Handbook" (in the "Thermal Conversion Factors for Competitive
Fuels" table). This is about 1710 KWH.
At this rate, this works out to:
a 14-15 watt CFL takes 61 KWH to make, and
a 26 watt CFL takes 110 KWH to make,
using the wacky outside upper limit assumption that 100% of the retail
price represents energy requirement at rate of $70/bbl petroleum to make
one, package it, put it on a store shelf, and have the cashier check it
Now for energy savings: Let's assume the darn thing only lasts 4,000
hours, possibly reasonable average residential life expectancy. (Rated
lifetime is in 25 degree C ambient with 3 hours of on-time per start,
usually 6,000-10,000 hours.)
The 14-15 watt CFL saves 45-46 watts, to save 180-184 KWH.
The 26 watt CFL saves 74 watts, to save 296 KWH.
Even if they only last 2,000 operating hours, their energy savings
exceed the energy requirement from raw material mining to out the retail
store door in packaging even if 100% of a lowish retail price is energy
cost at roughly past-year petroleum commodity market price.
Now, consider that electric power generation and delivery is nowhere
near 100% efficient. Figure more like 35-40%, with most of the loss being
in conversion of heat energy to mechanical energy at generating stations -
with 50% efficiency at converting heat energy to mechanical energy being
something to be very proud of, and it appears to me that most fuel-burning
generating stations achieve less.
Now, assuming 40% (optimistic) efficiency of converting fuel chemical
energy to electrical energy in your home, a 26 watt CFL only has to last
about 595 operating hours to save more energy than is in the amount of
petroleum that at $70 per barrel has same price as the per-unit price of
26 watt CFLs in a 4-pack at Target.
Better point is to argue that a fridge is not where CFLs achieve
savings. CFLs usually don't make good returns on investment in most
closets nor in most restrooms that are used mainly for short trips
(though some short-trip-frequented restrooms do well with a 4-foot
fluorescent or two).
If you have them blow out a lot, then I suspect any or any combination
of the following:
1. You are using ones of brands other than Philips, Osram/Sylvania or GE,
worse still if they do not have "Energy Star" approval and are not a major
brand that a major home center chain is promoting (and the home center has
some need for its customers to be happy!).
1a. You are using a brand that I had lots of bad experiences with (mainly
before/during 2001, after which I largely stopped using that brand), and
your current experience matches my past experience. That brand is Lights
of America. However, I do suspect more likely now than was my experience
during and before 2001 is that they are/got better, otherwise I have a
hard time imagining them still being in business.
1b. You are/were using junkers/sub-junkers from dollar stores.
2. You are using CFLs where some do not do well or where most do not do
2a: Recessed ceiling fixtures - those are heat hellholes. Screw base
CFLs 15 watts or more can have problems from heat there.
For that matter, I know of a series of screw base CFLs claiming
specifically that they are good for recessed ceiling fixtures - the
Philips SLS series, and then only the 15 and 20 watt ones, the
non-dimmable version of 23-watt, and not the 25-watt nor the dimmable
As a result, I have low expectations of any screw base CFL over 23 watts
to have good life in a recessed ceiling fixture.
Keep in mind that an incandescent lamp is about 40-50% efficient at
producing non-radiant heat (also produces quite a bit of "radiant heat"),
while a CFL is 75-80% efficient at producing non-radiant heat. CFLs have
close to all output other than visible light being non-radiant heat, while
incandescents produce plenty of infrared (which becomes heat, but mostly
after it escapes the fixture).
Also, CFLs with built-in ballasts tolerate heat less than incandescents
2b: Small enclosed fixtures, ceiling fan lights, downlighting desk lamps
- also heat buildup problem areas, may overheat CFLs of wattage over 18-19
watts or so, though the best 23-watt ones (such as Philips SLS
non-dimmable) probably do well there.
3: Frequent on-off use - shortens CFL life. Worst on those that blink
during starting, second-worst to those that start instantly (whether or
not taking a minor sudden "jump" in brightness a fraction of a second to
nearly a second after starting), not as bad if there is a delay of a
fraction of a second and/or the light "fades on" over a fraction of a
second (more likely with "Big-3" brands).
With severe on-off use, cold cathode models work better - but those are
more-specialty types, mainly of wattage near or under 8 watts, and they
are less efficient than the usual hot-cathode types (though still
producing light of an incandescent of roughly 3 times their wattage).
However, they still have the same warmup issues as hot cathode ones -
the advantage of cold-cathode is lack of wear from starting.
Beware, most sub-9-watt CFLs are hot cathode. Cold cathode ones
either brag about being cold cathode, have rated life 20,000-hours-plus
and brag about lack of dimming and frequent-start problems, or both.
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
The turn-on delay is the biggest issue with a lamp intended to be used
for a short period. No CFL that I have found comes on initially at full
brightness, often taking a full minute to get up to maximum. Many start
up quickly, but a number of them take one to two seconds before you get
There are LED bulbs now on the market and I suspect that we will see
more of that technology available as an alternative. LEDs have a rapid
rise time for their brightness - in fact they come on faster than
incandescent bulbs (not something you would notice, but if you were
driving 60 mph behind a vehicle with LED brake lights, you would travel
about five yards in the extra time that incandescent lamps take to come
to full brightness).
How often do you break the bulb in a fidge?
"I really think Canada should get over to Iraq as quickly as possible"
On Sep 17, 7:40 am, email@example.com (Calvin Henry-
FYI ... I was not trolling. I have the CFLs already so the issue of
cost is zero as it applies to me. The bulb was already burnt .. so I
ended up going to Home Depot and buying a new incandecent light for
$1.43. I looked at the makers web site and they did not say it was
safe, so I did not want to take a chance.
I don't drink tap water.. lol.. I certainly do not want any extra junk
in my body.
Seems quite clear the issue is simply one of performance . .and
assuming that is the case, my question is answered.
I do think the OP was trolling.
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