Do dimmer switches work with Low Energy Bulbs?

We wanted to be able to vary the brightness of the lights in the dining room depending whether we were having visitors or trying to work in there. I replaced the switch with a dimmer switch and it meets our needs perfectly. But, even when I was fitting it I did wonder if I was wasting my money given that we won't be able to get incadescent bulbs for much longer, so will I need to remove it again when we're forced to use CFL bulbs or is there an alternative that will still work with the dimmer?
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Switch to multiple sets of small lamps (downlighters?) and switch them separately, with each lamp either full on or full off.
Some CFLs will work with some dimmers.
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wibbled on Tuesday 27 October 2009 09:42

CFLs are not the problem - Megaman and Varilight both make dimmable CFLs
http://www.varilight.co.uk / http://www.megamanuk.com /
There are three categories of dimmers IME:
a) Brain dead knob, diac and triac. These are fairly simple and *can* work OK with the above.
b) Smart dimmers - ones with buttons, IR receivers, radio receivers. These can be more finnicky as they need to draw a tiny amount of power when "off" to keep the circuitry ticking. This residual current can cause CFLs (even dimmable ones) to flash occasionally. The dimmable CFLs try to cope with this, buy YMMV
c) "LV" dimmers. Designed for small loads and dimmable SELV PSUs. Obviously the best choice, but you are usually back to a knob dimmer with not smart features.
The dimmable CFLs are getting better. Otherwise, just buy loads of tungsten bulbs and stockpile them.
--
Tim Watts

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http://wiki.diyfaq.org.uk/index.php?title=Dimmers_%26_Switchbanks
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this to say:

Stock up with incandescent bulbs now - while you can still get 'em.
--
Frank Erskine

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That's my plan, on the other hand we will run out at some point and it's useful to know what the options are.
Thanks for the replies. The Wiki is especially informative, I wish I'd realised it was there earlier.
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Kevin wrote:

I am going to try and miss out the cfl stage for dimming lights. I believe that LED are the medium term future.
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this to say:

Well if you get sufficient, by the time they 'run out' there'll possibly be some sort of _effective_ replacements.
--
Frank Erskine

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On Tue, 27 Oct 2009 10:27:09 +0000 someone who may be Frank Erskine
I encourage people to do this too. The sooner those inefficient lamps are cleared from the shelves the better.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
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On Tue, 27 Oct 2009 11:05:43 +0000, David Hansen

;-)
T i m
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David Hansen wrote:

If enough people bulk buy, then the inflated sales figures will convince the manufactures there is enough demand that cares about bulb type to carry on making them. Profit will always win out against the greenwash.
--
Cheers,

John.

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On Tue, 27 Oct 2009 14:26:32 +0000 someone who may be John Rumm

You mean the manufacturers will break the law?

It is always good when the best people can do is "sloganise".
Manufacturers may try and get the law changed, they do have a lot of power in the undemocratic halls of the EU. However, I doubt if they have the power to change this particular and very sensible law.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
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David Hansen wrote:

They will - however they won't need to really since the laws bend. You make them in areas without controls - import them for "specialist purposes" - high temperature lamps, heating lamps, rough handling lamps etc.

Its not the best I can do - I could give you many detailed and reasoned arguments as to why current alternative technologies are not *yet* adequate replacements for incandescent bulbs in a broad range of applications. However there is no need, since they have been well rehearsed here in the past. The fact that an inappropriate and immature technology is being mandated over another would seem to come down to politics without much in the way of sound scientific foundation, and this is being promulgated and excused under a "green" agenda. Hence greenwash seems to be an appropriate description.

As is usually the case, the law will do whatever they lobby it to do ultimately. Even assuming we can move to the point where there is a viable replacement that works in a range of applications, there will still be some ongoing specialist demand that can't be met from alternative technologies. While that exists, a grey market for traditional bulbs[1] will exist with it.
[1] Even if that means halogen based alternatives.
--
Cheers,

John.

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wibbled on Tuesday 27 October 2009 14:54

Ah, like that famous compost accelerator, ammonium sulfamate. Not a weedkiller at all.
--
Tim Watts

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Or that excellent patio cleaner Armillatox. No way would you consider that as a garden fungicide.
Pete Shew
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peteshew wrote:

You would if you had honey fungus.

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On Tue, 27 Oct 2009 14:54:46 +0000 someone who may be John Rumm

They have certainly been well rehearsed and shown to be invalid here in the past.

We must wait for the best, instead of going ahead with the good enough, has been an argument for inaction for a long time. However, other than in a few circumstances it is not a convincing argument.
There are indeed some applications where compact fluorescent lamps are not the best choice at the moment, but engineering continues to advance. For instance, the earliest "glass jar" lamps were no use on stairways, due to the long start time. However, for the past decade or so lamps have been available which start rapidly enough for people not to break their limbs on stairs. Many of the arguments rehearsed here might have been valid 20 years ago, but are not now.
Compact fluorescent lamps will probably never be suitable for all uses and even better lamps will undoubtedly come into use. However, that is not an argument for slowly banning inefficient old lamps, which is what is happening.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
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wrote this:-

I hate the people who like to ban things. All it means is that they think they know how better than me how I should live. They can bollocks. If I want to use traditional light bulbs I will. I've got 50 years' supply, so they can't stop me. If there was any real connection between the type of bulb I use and global warming it might be different, but there isn't.
I see that they want to stop us eating meat as well. Sounds like I'll be rearing lambs in secret then.
Is there any aspect of our lives that these morons don't want to mess around with?
How the hell do they think they can get C02 emissions down when the world's population is increasing like it is? Not a prayer.
Bill
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On Wed, 28 Oct 2009 03:41:10 -0000 someone who may be "Bill Wright"

I take it you are against the ban on murder?

If we wish to decrease population in order to reduce emissions then it makes sense to start with those who are emitting the most? Yes?
That means starting with rich westerners.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
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wrote this:-

That isn't remotely comparable and you know it. Use your bloody common sense.
Bill
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