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Bulb Madness - R vs BR vs PAR - outdoor cans

Posted by pjhorst (My Page) on
Thu, Dec 10, 09 at 14:14

Looking for some clarification on appropriate bulbs for outdoor cans.

At my new (soon to move in) home, I have 14 of them. 6", Juno cans. The same as were hung indoors in hallway, entry, kitchen, etc....

6 on back patio, 4 on front porch, 4 over garage doors.

The standard line on outdoor bulbs seems to be "must be PAR. must be rated for wet conditions". But I never see any clarification of the whys/whats.

So, I'm just wondering what would happen if a person choose to use a BR/R rated bulb instead? Is there a hazard? Or simply that the bulb may not last long?

Couple of thoughts/examples.

At my current home I have 4 fairly standard outdoor fixtures, hanging on the wall, cover with glass on 3 sides, open bottom, dispursing their light to God and everyone else. They have had 'indoor' rated, standard coil CFL's for about 3 years. No known issues. They work great. I use them every night.

At the new home and into the world of outdoor cans, I've noticed that a R/BR 30 style CFL has a much better light footprint when compared to say a PAR 50 Halogen. It's softer, distributes the light better. Not the narrow spotlight affect of Halogen. Also, light travels up walls better, over garage, over front door, etc.... all in all much more appealing in my opinion. (I've got a fair amount of stone on the exterior walls, so it's nice to show it off at night).

If indeed PAR is critical, I've considered going down the PAR rated CFL path but I'm afraid I'll get the same spotlight affect of the PAR Halogen.

So, again, what is the problem/risk associated with an R or BR bulb in a standard 6" can, that happens to be hung under an outdoor soffit.

Thanks for your help in understanding this!

- Peter

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Bulb Madness - R vs BR vs PAR - outdoor cans

You don't have to use PAR's in your fixtures.
Par's are much more efficient in light output mainly due to a very efficient parabolic reflector.
The down side is that you get a less diffuse light than a R or BR lamp, as you have noticed.
Some inexpensive PAR's are glued together with a glue that breaks down over time in a damp location,hence the need for PAR's that are damp or exterior rated.
You can also use CFL's but remember that in cold conditions the start time is longer and the light output is diminished

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