The Energy Grid

Compact Fluorescent Lamps

The compact fluorescent lamp is a miniaturized fluorescent tube with built-in ballast in a standard screw base that can be installed in a conventional socket.

compact fluorescent lamp

They have a much longer life than incandescent bulbs – usually 7500-10,000 hours, but often as much as 20,000 hours compared to 750 to 1,000 hours for a standard incandescent.

When Choosing a Compact Fluorescent Lamp, these are some considerations:

Size: Some lamps have a size or shape incompatible with existing light fixtures.

Warm-Up Time: Many lamps do not produce total output until they warm up for a minute or two. This can be a factor on dark stairways when the light switch is turned on immediately before using the stairs. There may not be enough light for safety.

compact fluorescent lamps

Color: The color of the light from compact fluorescent lamps differs from that of incandescent bulbs. This can cause colors to show up slightly differently.

Dimmers: Compact Fluorescent bulbs are incompatible with the dimmer switches used for incandescents. Unique Dimming lamps must be used.

compact fluorescent lamp

Temperature: Like other fluorescents, operation at cold temperatures (under 50 degrees F) may cause reduced light output or erratic operation. Some models work well down to about 35 degrees F; others may get noticeably dim below 60 degrees F. The optimum temperature range of a particular lamp may vary with the burning position, generally preferring cooler temperatures if operated base-down. Compact fluorescents may also not like excessive heat. Some ballasts are unreliable in ambient temperatures much over 120 degrees F. This is sometimes a problem in enclosed or recessed ceiling fixtures if the heat in the fixture builds up.

Compact Fluorescent lamps are essential to homes and the nation’s energy systems. Many state agencies and utilities are so convinced of this that significant rebates are often available.