There are actually two ways that CF lamps can be used with a
dimmer. (I did not want to get into this, but I will.) If
you have recessed light fixtures designed with dimmable
ballast (which you probably don't) you can use a CF and a
If you have regular recessed fixtures, you can purchase CF
bulbs with a dimmable ballast on board. You must then use a
dimmer that is specifically for CF bulbs. This is the
expensive solution, although both are a bit pricey.
The bulbs with a dimmable ballast at my elecrical supply house
are 16 bucks each. The CF dimmer is $39.
But you need to read the packaging. Certain CFs should not be mounted base up. I
discovered after the fact that the 150w equivalent ones must be mounted base
down or they burn out in very short order.
"Tell me what I should do, Annie."
"Stay. Here. Forever." - Life On Mars
Better to use only ones that are rated for such use and claim to be good
for such use. Ones that I know with such ratings - Philips SLS
non-dimmable units up to 23 watts. There are even snap-on reflectors to
fit those, R30 (3.75 inch diameter) and R40 (5 inch diameter). The
smaller one appears to me more seriously compromised optically to get it
to fit - use the larger one if it fits with a bit of clearance to let air
flow to cool things.
After that, I suspect overheating gets often-bad above 23 watts, and
next-lower-level of lack of overheating appears to me to be staying below
18 watts. After that, it appears to me that most 13 watts or less do not
overheat in such fixtures.
One more thing to keep in mind: In commercial buildings, most CFL
recesed ceiling fixtures take ballastless bulbs and have their own
ballasts outside the "baking zone" which is at the top of the reflector.
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
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