CFL light bulb dilemna

wildturkey450February 20, 2010

I have a number of recessed ceiling cams which state inside the cam the total wattage of bulb allowed--for example 75 watts. Say one buys a 19 watt CFL that is equivalent to a 75 watt bulb, does that mean I can go to a lot higher wattage than 19 since I'm using a CFL? I have read that wattage is energy used but lumens is light emitted. Do lumens also indicate temperature emitted? I don't often see the number of lumens emitted on a bulb package and furthermore wouldn't know how to interpret this as it relates to my recessed cams. I would prefer to use in my cams a CFL of 25 watts that is equivalent to 100 watts as I think this gives off better light. Can I do this safely? Is there a rule for using CFL wattage in a fixture that only stipulates incandescent wattage?

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As stated on the fixture, it has been tested to use UP TO a 75 watt lamp and still meet safety requirements at the factory.

CFLs can be misleading, as most state "equals a 75 watt lamp" but what it equals exactly is the question. You want to find a lamp that has a high CRI(color rendering index) above 81 if possible, as well as a high lumen output.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 1:45AM
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Yes, the fixture is rated to hold a light runing at 75W. Your CFL is only running at 19W, the "equivalent" rating is trying to tell consumers that this 19W bulb puts out the same light as an incandencent 75W bulb, not that it burns that much energy. You can easily step up to the 23w CFLs if you want more light ourput. I persoannly have tried several CFLs and can't find one we find acceptable from a color quality standpoint. Maybe when LED becomes more affordable.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 3:29AM
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Watts is what creates the heat. With a 75 watt limit on the fixture, you're right-on that a 19 watt CFL can be increased to a 25 watt CFL and still run much cooler that a 75 watt bulb.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 10:46AM
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Recessed incandescent light fixtures are limited in wattage and lamp type (PAR, R, ER, BR, etc.) in order to avoid exceeding the heat limit of the fixture and possibly tripping the thermal limit protection built into it (as tested for safety by UL, etc.)

A compact fluorescent lamp with an integral ballast will also create quite a bit of heat in a recessed fixture but whether it will exceed the safe limit of the fixture is impossible to tell since it wasn't tested with that type of lamp.

As a practical matter you can try the CFL lamp and see if it trips the thermal limit protection in the fixture. If the lamp generates too much heat it should turn itself off and then restart when the lamp cools.

If you want a UL tested long lasting energy efficient recessed light fixture consider one designed for a CFL lamp with the ballast in the fixture housing.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 9:24PM
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Been away from my computer since I posted question. Macy, what do you mean when you said, "If you want a UL tested long lasting energy efficient recessed light fixture consider one designed for a CFL lamp with the ballast in the fixture housing"? For my recessed light fixtures which stated no more than 75 watts, I used a spotlight CFL with the fluorescent tubing encased within the bulb. I believe it was equiv. to a 100 watt bulb. Is this what you are talking about? So far, no recessed light bulb has gone out.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 10:31PM
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The ratings IMHO merely reflect what a normal incandescent light fixture max wattage is due to the heat these lights generate.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 4:00AM
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