Dimmable compact flourescents? - Complications Ensue
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I see that Australia has just passed legislation to ban sales of incandescent bulbs. Pretty cool for the environment. A bit scary for me because I have the entire loft on dimmers. Help me, hive mind: are there dimmable compact flourescents? Do they really work when dimmed? How can I tell the difference between them and the kind that start flaking out whenever the voltage (or is it amperage?) drops?

Labels: , ,

13 Comments:

They evidently exist. I looked at this Google search:

http://www.google.com/search?num=30&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=aWK&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=dimmable+compact+fluorescents&spell=1

But good luck finding them locally.

By Blogger Mark, at 7:39 PM  

Yes, I can Google too. But do they work?

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 8:00 PM  

Don't know Montreal but you should be able find them at Home Depot or Rona. Maybe the Tire. If not google "Solar Goods" for their website and you can order online.

I swapped over about a year ago. There's a slight dip in luminance but nothing major. They also seem to last far longer.

By Blogger jimhenshaw, at 8:29 PM  

And the dirty secret behind flourescent lights is the mercury inside them.

Sure, they last longer than incandescents, but when you get rid of them, they poison the land and sea.

LED lighting is the future.

By Blogger Webs, at 12:16 AM  

Yeah, but until they can soften the glow of the LEDs people won't want them in their homes.

By Blogger Jason, at 12:55 AM  

I don't know what a "dimmable compact flourescent" -- if that's some special thing -- but I have regular off-the-shelf CFL bulbs from Costco in my lamps, two of those lamps are plugged into dimmers, and I adjust the light to different levels all the time and have never noticed any weirdness.

By Blogger Walter, at 1:00 AM  

Environmental Defense has a good, extensive online guide for compact fluorescents of all sorts of varieties (including dimmable ones):

http://www.environmentaldefense.org/page.cfm?tagID=632&campaign=mts

By Blogger Porter Mason, at 3:06 AM  

webs: In Ottawa, we have a "Take It Back" program that covers precisely these kinds of light bulbs for safe(r) disposal. Unfortunately , there's only two places in the whole city that take them just yet. One of my pet projects is to nag the local Canadian Tire outlet just enough to get them on board. Considering how many such bulbs they - and their competitor neighbours - sell, it seems only just that they contribute to the interim solution until a mercury-free successor technology hits the stores.

By Blogger Dwight Williams, at 9:15 PM  

You could always use halogen, although that would require replacing your light fittings most likely. But at full strength you can use them to recharge your solar-powered calculator.

By Blogger David Peterson, at 10:07 AM  

I'm already using halogens, but they don't provide the same savings as flourescents, do they?

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 10:22 AM  

@webs
Problem with blogLinx duly noted and resolved! Please try to login again. Thanks for bringing it to my notice.

By Blogger abhishek, at 11:40 AM  

No, halogens are not efficient. In fact, they're energy hogs. The 300w halogen bulb I use in my office costs more to run every month than all the other lights (all CFL) in my house. That's literally true, I've done the math. But I love my halogen lamp way too much to give it up...

By Blogger Walter, at 10:19 PM  

webs said: "And the dirty secret behind flourescent lights is the mercury inside them.

Sure, they last longer than incandescents, but when you get rid of them, they poison the land and sea."

That isn't exactly true.

A modern compact fluoro contains less than 5mg per bulb .. that's about 0.002% mercury.

If you wander around Northern California and pick up a lump of a particular naturally occurring reddish rock, you'll find it contains about 1%-2% mercury ... that's about a thousand times the level in a 'dirty' compact fluoro !

If your local electricity is generated by coal, you can be sure that the amount of mercury dumped in the atmosphere during coal burning for an old fashioned incandecant bulb will far outweight the few mg per bulb!

See a comparison graph here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:CFL_bulb_mercury_use_environment.svg

Mac

By Blogger Mac, at 4:00 AM  

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