Changing out a fluorescent bulb

schoolhouse_gwOctober 25, 2010

Some years ago after much searching, I was talked into buying a fluorescent ceiling light fixture (schoolhouse design) by a friend who told me that the fluorescent bulb could be changed out to a regular bulb. I don't know the term for "regular bulb",sorry, just know I do not like fluorescent light.

My question is, can the switch be done or was I just gullible. The kitchen remodel still hasn't begun, so I have time to find another light fixture, tho I really like the one I bought.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Billl

A "regular bulb" is called incandescent.

I assume you are talking about a compact bulb that you screw into a base, not the long tubes? If so, you can screw in a regular lightbulb. The only "catch" is that the fixture will have a maximum wattage rating - eg 40,60,75 etc. Since incandescents use much more power than CFL's, the "regular" bulb might not be as bright as you were hoping for. Do not use a higher wattage bulb than the fixture states. Regular bulbs create a lot of heat and you could create a fire hazard that way.

You may as well get used to CFL's though. The regular bulbs are being phased out starting in 2012.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 12:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
DavidR

If the fixture was specifically designed for a fluorescent lamp, it's unlikely that you can exchange it for an incandescent without extensive modification.

Replacing it with a conventional incandescent fixture will let you use an incandescent lamp.

It would also let you use a retrofit (screw base) compact fluorescent. And in fact there's a wider choice of different fluorescents (light quality and color) in the retrofits than in dedicated fluorescents, so you might yet find something you like that way.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 2:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
smithy123

actually, it is pretty easy. i just did it over the winter.i ripped the sockets and ballasts out, installed new sockets and a thermal fuse. works fine. just dont use a high wattage bulb.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 7:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
schoolhouse_gw

I was going to say "incandescent", but wasn't sure. Thanks.
Well, that's interesting about the wattage not being able to be high. Good thing to know.

It was so long ago that I bought the light fixture, but I'm guess it was because I couldn't find a reproduction schoolhouse pendent that wasn't fluorescent. Now that I understand there are choices in fluorescent light quality and color, I don't feel as disappointed. Thanks davidr. In fact, since the fixture has never been installed, I really don't know what type of light it gives off.

Thanks everyone for the replies.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 9:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mike_kaiser_gw

Now that I understand there are choices in fluorescent light quality and color, I don't feel as disappointed.

There's two components you should be aware of. The first is the Color Temperature (that shouldn't be confused with actual temperature or heat the lamp may give off). It's expressed in degrees Kelvin and you'll see something like 2700K or 6500K printed on the lamp or packaging (with the higher numbers being towards the blue end of the spectrum and lower numbers towards the red). Manufacturers also use terms like "Warm" or "Daylight" to describe the color but those terms are subjective and what is warm to one manufacturer may be slightly different than another manufacturer's warm and even different within the same manufacturer's line. Which, depending on how fussy you are, can be a little annoying when you use multiple lamps in the same fixture.

The other component is Color Rendering Index (CRI) or how accurately the lamp reproduces color. This is very important to stores where, say, a blue shirt needs to appear to be the same blue in the store and at the customer's home. CRI is measured on a 100 scale and higher is better. The only way to improve the CRI is for the manufacturer to use better (read more expensive) phosphors when making the lamp. While very few manufacturers give that information on the packaging, generally speaking more expensive lamps reproduce color better. Most fluorescent lamps have a CRI in the low to mid 80's which is fine for most purposes. If you are sensitive to color or want better color rendering in, say, a dressing area then look for lamps with a 90+ CRI.

Unfortunately, with the eventual phase out of incandescent lamps, picking a light bulb just became a little more complicated.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 7:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
smithy123

ifr they are phasing out incand lamps, i better start buying!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 4:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
schoolhouse_gw

I thought the same thing last night after reading that. I might have to go to Dollar General and stock up on light bulbs.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 6:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
weedmeister

GE (Sylvania?) closed their last plant making incandescent bulbs in the US a few months ago. They're trying to stay ahead with LED bulbs but the Chinese are taking over.

Today I was at Costco and saw a 4-pack of Chinese CFLs for $1.99 after instant rebate.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 7:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
smithy123

i like leds better than cfls. leds do not break or have mercury, and many of them are ROHS compliant.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 8:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Billl

Did you know that most CFLs from China are actually hand made? That is one of the biggest hurdles in getting any consistency from these things.

The LED's are great technology, but the prices are out of this world.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 10:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
smithy123

the price is rediculous, bit it is well worth it.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 9:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mike_kaiser_gw

The LED's are great technology, but the prices are out of this world.

I'm not going to spend $30 - $40 - $50 on a lamp that might or might not last for the next couple of decades. If nothing else, I don't want to be bothered keeping a receipt that long. :-)

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 4:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
DavidR

I'm not going to spend $30 - $40 - $50 on a lamp that might or might not last for the next couple of decades.

Guess it depends on your priorities and expectations. I paid about $20 for my first compact fluorescents in 1993. That's over $29 in 2010 money. FWIW, none of those first CFs is in service today, but I'm still using a Philips "Earth Light" from the second batch of 1994.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 8:55PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Please Critique Low-Volt (Home Automation) Plan/Proposal
GW/Houzz Community, As always, I want to thank this...
Andrew K.
electrical outlet distance to radiator
how far from a radiator should a wall electrical outlet...
amsayan
Motion sensor that doesn't click
I have a motion sensor very much like the picture attached...
drmeow3
How to get garage freezer to work in cold weather
I have a 7-year-old GE refrigerator/freezer in my unheated,...
amyf5
Light boxes on/in 6X8 timber floor joists for log home
Just trying to figure how to wire a couple light fixtures/chandelier...
yota_85
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™