Printer Friendly

New styles in fluorescent lighting: energy-efficient fluorescent lighting will look great in any room--and you'll save on your electric bills.

What you get

Style: These fixtures feature handsome glass shades, not plastic. Many other styles are available through lighting stores and catalogs (see the Buyer's Guide, p. 60).

Energy savings: Fluorescent bulbs consume about one-third as much electricity as a standard incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light. Choose a fluorescent bulb in the 13- to 17-watt range to replace a 60-watt incandescent, an 18- to 24-watt fluorescent to replace a 75-watt incandescent and a 25-to 28-watt fluorescent to replace a 100-watt incandescent.

Nice light: The light looks identical to the light from an incandescent bulb. You can't tell the difference if you can't see the bulb.

Long-term savings: These fixtures use only fluorescent bulbs. The bulbs last 8,000 to 10,000 hours compared with about 1,000 hours for incandescent bulbs. You can expect to save $10 to $40 per bulb before they wear out. The list prices quoted here include the bulb. Retail prices are often lower--sometimes much lower.

Buying tips

For the biggest savings, buy fluorescent fixtures for lights that you use at least two hours a day. The electricity saved adds up quickly for lights you keep on that long. The electrical savings on heavily used lights will soon make up for the higher purchase price of a fluorescent bulb.

Estimate the amount of light you need, then go for a brighter fixture. Fluorescent bulbs dim somewhat over their long (10,000 hours) life span.

You can't put a dimmer switch on most fluorescent fixtures ... yet. The manufacturers are working on this, but for now, if you want to dim your lights, stick to special screw-in compact fluorescents or incandescent bulbs.

When you're buying an outdoor fixture, make sure the fluorescent bulb will start in cold weather. Most of these start at temperatures as low as 0 degrees F or lower. However, in cold weather, the bulb will require a few minutes to reach full brightness.

Unless you're highlighting a workbench, countertop or other work space, buy "warm white" bulbs (labeled as either 2,700 or 3,000 degrees K) for interior use. "Cool white" light (labeled as 4,000 degrees K) creates a more commercial atmosphere.

Fixtures, bulbs and ballasts

The fixtures we show in this article have a ballast and a pin-type fluorescent bulb that plugs into it (photo above). You can't screw in a standard incandescent bulb or even a screw-base compact fluorescent. The small ballast we show here is used in many of these fixtures. It accepts either spiral shape or tube shape bulbs. However, a ballast accepts bulbs of only one wattage level. You can't switch from a 13-watt bulb to an 18-watt bulb without switching ballasts.

Fixtures with higher light output utilize several small bulbs or one of several circle-type bulbs. These circle bulbs also have pin mounts.

Typically, the bulbs last 10,000 hours and the ballasts about 30,000 hours. At three hours per day, that's almost 10 years for the bulb and 30 years for the ballast! Sometimes you can find replacement bulbs ($5 to $10) at home centers and lighting stores. Pin configurations vary. Take the old bulb with you when you go to buy a replacement to make sure you get the exact same base. You can also order them through a lighting store or from an Internet source. (See the Buyer's Guide.) New ballasts cost $15 to $40. The ones shown above cost about $16. Order them through lighting stores.

Buyer's Guide


American Fluorescent: (847) 249-5970. Kichler Lighting:

Sea Gull Lighting: (800) 347-5483.


One online retailer of fluorescent bulbs is, which sells replacement pin-type bulbs as well as screw-base compact fluorescents, including dimmable bulbs. For other sources, type "compact fluorescent bulbs" into a search engine.


Photography * BILL ZUEHLKE
COPYRIGHT 2006 Home Service Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Energy-Efficient Lighting
Author:Johnson, Duane
Publication:The Family Handyman
Date:Dec 1, 2006
Previous Article:Laundry room makeover: create a fresh, clean work space. We walk you through the toughest part--reworking the plumbing and adding the new sink.
Next Article:Toasty toes: heated floors are luxurious and affordable. We'll tell you how to select the best floor-warming system for your home.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters