It depends on the bulb. Many CFL's won't last long if mounted upside down
or in an enclosed fixture. I installed some in our enclosed ceiling
lights and they only lasted about a month before burning out.
However, in recent years, I have been buying inexpensive "N:Vision" CFL
bulbs at Home Depot (made in China of course) that work fine in our
enclosed fixtures. I also use them upside down in our outdoor porch
lights with no problems.
Also, you may want to look into LED lights for your recessed ceiling
I don't know about X-10, but my CFL's work fine with our "Insteon" relay
switches (just on/off, no dimming). The Insteon switches recognize X-10
codes, but have been a lot more reliable for us.
We don't have lights in our ceiling fan, so can't help with that one. I
think the vibration would be a bigger problem than anything. As for the
brighter bulb, I routinely install "75 watt equivalent" CFL bulbs in
fixtures rated for 60 watts. They draw far less energy than the original
60 watts, and don't produce anywhere near the heat of a 60 watt bulb.
We don't have any touch lamps, but I would assume you would need CFL's
designed for dimming.
Like you, I have replaced most bulbs in our house with CFL's. The
exceptions are fixtures with exposed bulbs (dining and kitchen pendant
lights), or rooms we rarely turn lights on (hallway, laundry, etc.). I
would really like to install CFL's or LED's in our living room, but they
are all wall sconces with exposed bulbs on a remote controlled dimmer.
So far I haven't found an "attractive" CFL that supports electronic
I once used some Sylvania CFLs in an enclosed fixture. The package
said (yes, I read it before using!) not to use the bulb in an
"enclosed recessed fixture", which I took to mean both recessed (and
therefore insulated) and enclosed.
After a few months, the base melted down. I contacted Sylvania, talked
with someone who requested that I mail in the bulb for evaluation (but
not feedback), and I did. Later I corresponded by email with someone
else who said I should not use the bulb in an enclosed fixture. I
asked several times about the conflict between that advice and the
package instructions, and never got an answer.
I quit using Sylvania CFLs.
Like another poster, I've found the HD n-vision (I think they changed
the name recently) to be reliable.
The rating is to protect the fixture from overheating AND the
fixture's wiring from overload. Thus you use the actual power (watts),
not the light output (lumens or incandescent W equivalent) to judge
whether you can use the bulb.
However, related to the question about recessed fixtures, note that
CFLs are more sensitive to heat than incandescents, so if the fixture
is enclosed, it's possible for the CFL to overheat where an
incandescent would be OK (albeit at a higher temperature), although
the fixture itself would be OK.
Philosophically, this is similar to the fact that your circuit
breakers are there to protect the wiring, not to protect you from
electrical shock. The fixture rating protects the fixture and wiring,
not the bulb.
That's not perfectly true.
CFLs are more efficient at producing non-radiant heat than incandescents
are. Incandescents produce a lot of infrared, most of which escapes the
In one experiment I tried, a 42 warr CFL heated a fixture to a slightly
higher temperature than a 60 watt incandescent did. So, CFLs of more than
23 watts may overheat a fixture rated for maximum 40 watt incandescent.
Meanwhile, CFLs over 18 watts can overheat themselves in ceiling fan
fixtures unless they are rated for such fixtures, small enclosed fixtures
or recessed ceiling fixtures. I have seen this happen. Personally, I do
not like putting CFLs over 13 watts in ceiling fan fixtures unless they
are rated for such fixtures or recessed ceiling fixtures or smal enclosed
On Tue, 28 Sep 2010 23:47:44 +0000, Don Klipstein wrote:
Hey there, guess you didn't read my post about the 4 100 watt equivalent
CFls two of which hang upside down completely enclosed outdoors that run
from dusk to dawn year-round. The other two are outdoors in a motion
fixture and hang at a 45 degree upside down. One of the enclosed failed
after 2 years. I opened it up and replaced the main filter cap and two
series filament caps and it was repaired. Problem with heating the base
to 60c when upside down is cheap capacitors rated at 60c or under. More
expensive CFLs or those rated to operate upside down would have
components rated at or over 80c. At least that's how I see it in other
electronics subject to high power heat dissipation.
Is this a specification I'd find on the packaging? I've been trying to
read packages, but don't remember seeing that mentioned. Actually I also
couldn't find any instructions re base up/down on the packages, although
I'll admit that the bifocals don't quite cut some of that small print!
And bottom line - are we talking about the bulb just failing from the
heat or is it actually dangerous to have them upside down, as in fire?
That may be true for some. I bought five CFL bulbs, 49 cents each for
a test run.
Two in the garage door opener, horizontal / plenty of vibration, etc.,
and they still work fine.
One I put in the garage ceiling ceramic socket, upside down and it
failed in a few months. By fail I mean it was only half as bright.
I've not yet tried that bulb again in a table lamp. It may work again,
but upside down it had problems illuminating brightly after awhile.
Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who responded... I knew I was
asking on the right group! (And I'm replying to myself because I didn't
know which of the helpful and informative replies to tack this onto
without slighting anyone).
Two clarifications: the ceiling fan lights - what makes them tricky is
that they have a funky sized base, somewhere between candelabra and
"normal" sized. I actually did see them CFL-icized online, but since I
can still buy the incandescent ones locally I'll stick with that for
now. On the enclosed light, it's one of those 1950's types of hallway
ceiling lights, with the tacky little metal grill covering it. I'm
guessing it's metal inside although I haven't looked, but that's what
they were in my old house. (You can tell I don't use it too often since
I haven't yet been motivated to drag out the ladder).
I am bummed about the touch lamps, since I have several of them. In fact
I was considering buying another pair recently. Home Depot has a well
mounted one that sounded handy. Glad I thought to ask about that! Maybe
I'll become one of those people who hoards bulbs, LOL.
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