CFL in dimmer. Afraid to use light now

boomerangboomMarch 12, 2013

Ok. I'm a new young homeowner and I didn't have a clue you couldn't put CFL bulbs in a dimmer light. The light is one in the ceiling with a dimmer switch on the wall. The light takes three bulbs. Two of the bulbs were burned out so I replaced them with CFL and left one of them a reg bulb at 60w. I came in my living room and heard a buzzing noise after the light being on for a couple of hours. I immediately turned it off then turned it back on. I thought maybe the mixing of different bulbs was causing it so I removed the regular bulb and turned the light back on. The buzzing continued and I couldn't get the light to turn off. I panicked because I thought I saw it spark so I jumped up there and pulled out both bulbs and turned the dimmer to off. The buzzing stopped. I ran up to turn the breaker off but my breakers aren't labeled and I have no clue which one is which (I know very dangerous!) So do you think the fixture is usable again? I'm scared to turn it on. It should be noted that my 2 yr old had a flashlight and the "spark" i saw might have been his light hitting the light. Thanks for reading and your time!

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elltwo

Put the 60W bulb back in by itself and operate the switch and the dimmer. It should be ok.

If it is, get two more 60W bulbs and you should be good to go. I just replaced a kitchen fixture and used Halogena bulbs by Phillips. They look great and use just 53W and use a regular dimmer.

Don't use a higher wattage than what the sticker near the sockets calls for. 3X60W is probably right for a kitchen ceiling fixture.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 6:22AM
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mike_kaiser_gw

You can dim compact fluorescents, but you need the right dimmer and lamps. Changing out the dimmer isn't that complicated nor are the ones rated for CFL's particularly expensive.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 8:19AM
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Ron Natalie

Note that even when the bulbs are dimmable and the right dimmer is used, they typically don't dim all that well especially on the low end. The ones I have get to about perhaps 25% brightness and attempting to go further just shuts them off.

The only real rub with the CF-compatible dimmers is that they usually require a neutral connection at the dimmer and older switch loops may NOT provide that.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 9:54AM
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boomerangboom

Thanks for all your responses! Once I figure out what breaker the fixture is on I'm going to stick the 60w back in. I really don't like the CFL bulbs!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 11:50AM
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weedmeister

the cfl bulbs are your problem at the moment. Remove them. You've probably fried them anyway. Put the incandescent back in. Breath easier.

Then when you're in the mood, go get a dimmer rated for fluorescent, and CFL bulbs listed as dimmable.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:52PM
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greg_2010

The buzzing continued and I couldn't get the light to turn off.

Is this a typo? Even when the switch was in the fully off position, the light was still on?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 10:55AM
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brickeyee

"Then when you're in the mood, go get a dimmer rated for fluorescent, and CFL bulbs listed as dimmable."

Check with the CFL maker about EXACTLY what dimers (by brand name and type, and by dimmer part number is better) the CFL is compatible with.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:03PM
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boomerangboom

I put regular bulbs back in the fixture and it has been working fine for a month now. I think I'll not buy CFLs any more.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 1:22PM
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brickeyee

I think I'll not buy CFLs any more."

sarcasm] You are going to overheat the planet.[/sarcasm]

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 1:41PM
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