Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are long life, energy saving light bulbs which are much more efficient than both incandescent and halogen bulbs. However, they require fittings with appropriate lamp holders, and an appropriate ballast (a device used to provide the starting voltage and regulate the current to the pins on the lamp). 4 pin lamps can be dimmed when operated on an electronic dimmable ballast. If you want to use a CFL with a dimmer switch then look out for dimmer compatible bulbs which should be clearly marked, the bulbs in the Osram DINT LL range are a good example of a dimmable CFL.
Compact fluorescent bulbs use less energy than standard incandescent lamps, turning up to 25% of the electricity they use in to light (20% more than incandescent bulbs) as well as lasting up to 20 times longer. A 20w CFL produces the same amount of light as a 75w incandescent bulb, so it’s easy to see how you can save energy by switching to this type of bulb.
Although older style CFLs can take a little while to warm up, around 30 seconds, newer style lamps are now being designed which light almost instantly.
At Lamp Shop Online we hold vast stocks of all types of compact fluorescent lamps, including branded CFLs at low prices.
For more information on the environmental benefits of CFLS, check out our article Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs and the Environment.
CFL –Frequently Asked Questions
Why would I swap to CFLs from traditional incandescent bulbs?
The main reasons why you would switch to CFLs from incandescent bulbs (which are now scarcely available), is for the environmental and economical benefits. CFLs use far less energy than incandescent bulbs, which not only cuts down on greenhouse emissions, they also use far less energy in the home and therefore reduce bills significantly.
To put this into perspective, a CFL uses around 80% less power to achieve the same light output as a traditional bulb. It has been estimated, that if all of the households in the UK swapped two of their incandescent bulbs for CFLs, it would only take a year to make a considerable energy saving, so much so that this saved energy would be enough to supply all of the UK’s street lighting.
Will my existing lamps house CFL bulbs, or do I have to replace all of my light fittings?
Some CFL bulbs will fit in your existing light fittings, however some bulbs may require a specific lamp holder. Here at LSO, we stock a range of reasonably priced lamp holders and converters which should help you adapt your fitting to suit your chosen CFL.
Do CFLs pose any safety risks?
CFLs are actually a much safer method of lighting than traditional incandescent bulbs, mainly because CFLs can reach the equivalent brightness whilst barely generating any heat. This means that the bulbs are far less likely to pose any risk of burning the lampshade, or any nearby objects if the lamp is accidently placed too close to curtains, bedding or furniture.
There is also the added benefit of the glass globe on CFLs being protected by a silicone plastic skin, which keeps it cooler to the touch and more difficult to break than traditional bulbs.
As with all LED bulbs, CFLs are made of glass and contain a small amount of mercury, so due care needs to be applied when disposing of and handling them.
Are all CFLs big and ugly in appearance?
Most CFLs are designed to fit into even the most compact light fittings. Many bulbs are constructed with their tubes either curled or folded to minimise the amount of space needed to house them.
Are low energy CFLs as bright as traditional light bulbs?
The older, traditional light bulbs were rated on how much power the bulb used, rather than how much light it emitted, so it is easy to assume that the high number of wattage refers to the brightness of the bulb.
The best way to compare the brightness of incandescent bulbs to CFLs is to look at the lumens, which refers to the actual brightness. With this in mind, it is clear to see that low energy CFL bulbs produce far more light output than incandescent types for the energy used.
How do I determine the wattage needed for CFLs?
When replacing a traditional bulb with a newer CFL bulb, it can be confusing to know what light output will be needed. It is always worth consulting a conversion table, but as a general rule, you would need to replace a 60 watt incandescent bulb (producing approximately 800 lumens) with a 14 watt CFL, or an 8 watt LED bulb.
It’s important to note that wattage equivalents also depend on the quality of the manufacturer. For example an Osram CFL that is 11w will be equivalent to 55w but a budget brand will only be equivalent to 40w.