In the days of the incandescent bulb, special bulbs were made for use in
vibration prone lights such as ceiling fans. How about these new fluorescent
bulbs? Special bulb or are they all pretty long lasting?
Fluorescents should be fine. The "heavy duty" issue with them is the
mechanical bond between the tube and the base of the bulb. I've seen some
bulbs that were pretty weak here. Still, they should be fine to get bumped
With incandescent, the filament is fragile, so heavy duty bulbs provided
I have been using them in my droplights for several years. They are
actually cheaper than the rough service bulbs made for droplights and
last far longer too. I think the only ones I have had fail were those
that I dropped or banged enough to break the glass. Larry
The CFLs marketed as "ceiling fan" models tend to be lower wattage ones
with outer bulbs. Wattage is often 9 watts, and they tend to be
equivalent to a 40 watt "standard" incandescent, or to a 60 watt 130V
vibration-resistant superlonglife model being operated at 120 volts.
The low wattage is preferred because ceiling fan sockets are typically
within somewhat flower-shaped downlights that can accumulate heat around
the heat-vulnerable ballast housing portion of the CFL.
Such "ceiling fan CFLs" also tend to have outer bulbs. I see the
purpose being to allow people to screw the bulbs in and out by the bulb
rather than by the base without stressing the fluorescent tubing that
The main downsides of "ceiling fan CFLs" are light output only being
about that of higher-output name-brand 40W incandescents, and CFLs with
outer bulbs tend to start dim and take a minute or two to warm up.
For brighter starting and faster warmup, use bare spiral CFLs. Just
screw them in and out by the ballast housing as opposed to the tubing.
If you have to screw them in and out by the tubing, keep your fingers
crossed - doing that can crack or break the tubing.
Also beware that even bare spiral CFLs of more than 14 watts may
overheat in ceiling fan fixtures, and CFLs of more than 18 watts can
somewhat easily overheat in ceiling fan fixtures.
CFLs over 13 watts that better take the heat of downlight use are Philips
SLS/"Marathon" triple-arch non-dimmable of wattage 15 to 23 watts. These
may not fit your ceiling fan fixture, and may be hard to screw in without
manhandling the tubing, but 23 watt ones get at least halfway from bright
side of 75 watt incandescents to bright side of 100 watt incandescents.
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
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