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dimmable cfl/ccfl in 4 inch cans

Posted by dan_in_austin (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 18, 10 at 17:09

We asked our contractor for dimmable CFLs, and they installed a handful of 4" Lithonia Lighting L3R cans. The problem is that they can't seem to find bulbs to fit them, since the dimmable bulbs tend to be longer than others. It looks like a bulb would need to be shorter than 4" long to fit inside the can (and I assume we'd probably want it closer to 3" so you don't see too much of it).

They tried out a couple dimmable CFLs and they both stick out of the end considerably. Neither of them dim very well (I'd say less than 50%), and one of them routinely decides it would rather be a strobe light.

Any suggestions for bulbs that would fit these fixtures, give good light, and be dimmable? I hear that CCFLs tend to be smaller and give better quality light, though I haven't been able to find one shorter than 4".


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: dimmable cfl/ccfl in 4 inch cans

Would you be open to considering CREE LR4 lamps + housing?

I considered using CFLs & standard cans, but ended up with LR6 GU24 lamps + title 24 cans.


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RE: dimmable cfl/ccfl in 4 inch cans

Our architect has spoken favorably of LED lighting, though I'm not sure what title 24 is. Our contractor installed cans before finding the appropriate bulb. Our goal is not to change out the fixture/housing at this point, if possible.

A couple days ago they put in one halogen bulb that fits the fixture well and gives pretty good light, so as long as there's not a safety concern (watt usage below the fixture's limit, but equivalent wattage above the limit) we'll likely go with that.

Thanks for the input. If I had it to do over again I would have never suggested anything different from our architect's design (4" cans MR16 halogen).


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RE: dimmable cfl/ccfl in 4 inch cans

Title 24 is a California legislation that is supposed to be a nudge in the direction of energy efficiency. A consequence of title 24 (CA) is that new light cans in places like the kitchen cannot have the standard edison (screw in) base since one could screw in a standard incandescent bulb.

Another is that the total wattage used for halogen / incandescent lighting has to be a small fraction of that used for "energy efficient" lighting. (paraphrased)

All this significantly narrows down the range of lighting choices.


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RE: dimmable cfl/ccfl in 4 inch cans

Wow, that Title 24 business sounds like it could get complex. Here in Texas we are encouraged to use as much electricity as possible... just kidding. But it seems that there's not quite as many of the energy efficient and high quality options out there as we'd like.

So it seems I'll be a little on the inefficient side here for a while, though I get the impression that halogen is a little better than traditional incandescent. Besides, I've got all these perfectly good incandescent lights on the shelf to burn through before I can start using the fancy new CFLs.


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RE: dimmable cfl/ccfl in 4 inch cans

Yes, halogen lights are slightly better than incandescent lights. However, most have higher power ratings/ requirements.

By the time you've burned through your incandescents, CFLs would be the next toxic thing to avoid as they contain trace amounts of mercury and don't really last as long as advertised.

On the other hand, it seems that LEDs have reached the point where they can start displacing CFLs and incandescents.


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