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Changing out a fluorescent bulb

Posted by schoolhouse (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 25, 10 at 12:20

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.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Changing out a fluorescent bulb

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.


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RE: Changing out a fluorescent bulb

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.


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RE: Changing out a fluorescent bulb

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.


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RE: Changing out a fluorescent bulb

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.


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RE: Changing out a fluorescent bulb

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.


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RE: Changing out a fluorescent bulb

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


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RE: Changing out a fluorescent bulb

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


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RE: Changing out a fluorescent bulb

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.


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RE: Changing out a fluorescent bulb

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


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RE: Changing out a fluorescent bulb

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.


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RE: Changing out a fluorescent bulb

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


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RE: Changing out a fluorescent bulb

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. :-)


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RE: Changing out a fluorescent bulb

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.


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