Posts in the compact fluorescent category

In the Spotlight #7: Choosing the Right CFL Shape

By BulbAmerica Editor

As CFLs become the go-to replacement for incandescent bulbs, they continue to multiply in the number of shapes they are offered in. What shape should you choose and why? These are good questions and in this article I will answer them for you, so let’s get started. CFL shapes can be broken down into two general shape categories, open shape CFLs and closed shape CFLs. Open CFLs refer to CFLs where the glass envelope is plainly visible such as in twists, mini-twists, and triple tube lamps. Closed CFL bulbs refer to CFLs where the envelope is concealed by another envelope such as with A-shape CFLs, globes, candelabras, bullets, and others.

The criteria you should use for deciding between closed and open shape CFL is the bulb’s application. Are you going to be using it in an enclosed fixture or in a partially exposed application like in certain wall sconces? For enclosed fixtures, most people go with open CFLs for two predominant reasons. The first is that open CFLs, such as mini-twists are often less expensive and less appealing to look at than closed bulbs, so people try to use them wherever they can get away with it. Furthermore, closed CFLs are often enclosed in an additional frosted glass envelope, further diffusing the light. Enclosed fixtures often come with frosted plastic or glass diffusers, therefore by using an A-shape CFL, or other such closed CFL, in an enclosed fixture you could be softening the light excessively or simply using redundant diffusers and wasting money. Put simply, my rule of thumb is that forclosed fixtures use open CFLs, and for open fixtures use closed CFLs. This should give you the light bulb and light you want.

When it comes to choosing between the different open CFL bulbs, you’ll again, want to take application into consideration. For lamps with shades, you’ll likely want to choose an open CFL with a smaller, more slender profile, such as a quad or triple tube bulb or a mini-twist. For larger fixtures, twist bulbs are a good choice. Similar considerations should be made when choosing among closed CFLs. Globe and Candelabra CFLs are typically used in more decorative or specialty applications like bathroom lighting or wall sconces, where the shape of the bulb itself is important. A-shape bulbs are good in many applications. Don’t forget about closed R (reflector) or BR (bulge reflector)bulbs either, they are typically used in recessed applications or ceiling fan fixtures. Hopefully this guide has been helpful and will assist you in navigating the numerous CFL shapes available.

Don’t forget to make BulbAmerica your one stop shop for CFLs. No matter what CFL you need, we’ve got it! As usual, leave us a comment or question on our blog or our Facebook. Also don’t forget to give us a call at (888)505-2111 with any further inquiries you have.

By Victor Lopez | | candelabra, compact fluorescent, globe, light, news | 0 comments | Read more

Say Goodnight to Odor with Compact Fluorescent Light

By BulbAmerica Editor

Air purifiers a great way to get rid of odors in your home or office. Unfortunately, they can be both cumbersome and expensive. Sunlite has recently come up with an inexpensive and compact solution, a compact fluorescent solution to be exact, to this problem. Sunlite’s O-ZONElite is a CFL twist bulb, available in 23w and 42w versions, coated with titanium oxide which is activated in a photocatalytic reaction as light passes through it. This reaction eliminates odors, bacteria, and fungi in rooms up to 10ft X 10ft.The O-ZONElite is a great choice in bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, basements, smoking rooms, and other spaces that are frequently exposed to odors, germs, and bacteria. With the Sunlite O-ZONElite, you are not only getting an odor/bacteria remover, but you are also getting a high quality CFL with a medium screw base and excellent color rendering. These bulbs are rated at 6,000hrs, so you will be keeping bright and odor free for a long time.

We have plenty of O-ZONElites for you to choose from, check it out today! As always, do not hesitate to leave a comment or question on the blog or give us a call at (888)505-2111.

By Victor Lopez | | compact fluorescent, light, news | 0 comments | Read more

Dimmable CFLs: Are they Really a Bright Idea?

As CFLs storm the lighting world, one sustained criticism of them has been that they cannot dim like incandescent bulbs. This was true when magnetic ballasts were the sole ballast technology for CFLs, but as electronic ballasts have become the standard,dimmable CFLs are now on the market, though not in as large numbers as non-dimmable CFLs. In this article I will take a look at the pros and cons of dimmable CFLs versus dimmable incandescent bulbs and help you decide whether they are worth your money. But first, I think it would be helpful to understand exactly how a dimmer works with an incandescent bulb, and why it is problematic when applied to a CFL. The concept of dimmer is simple, it simply reduces the voltage to the bulb and the bulb’s brightness increases or decreases accordingly. In an incandescent bulb this method of dimming works well because the reduction in voltage simply reduces the amount heat given off and therefore reduces the amount of light as well. This doesn’t work in CFLs because CFLs generate light by exciting a gas, which then yields light. If you cut the amount voltage the CFL receives it will more often than not simply go out because there is not sufficient current to excite the gas.

Today dimmable CFLs are offered by GE, SunLite, and Ushio among other manufacturers. Though dimmable CFLs are certainly an innovation, there are certain limitations to these bulbs. First, dimmable CFLs do not usually dim below 10%-20% brightness because the bulb cannot sustain light at that point. Another complaint surrounds the fact dimmable CFLs, and all CFLs for that matter, can take up to a minute to reach full brightness. This means that you cannot dim the bulb until it has reached full luminosity. Lastly and most importantly, there are limitations regarding the type of dimmer you can use with your CFL. As a rule of thumb never use photo cells or timers with any CFL unless you can do so as indicated on the bulb’s packaging. Dimmers are built to work within a certain power range. Dimmers that are designed for primarily incandescent bulbs, and especially older dimmers, will be engineered to work with wattages above 40w, this is too great for dimmable CFLs and could be problematic. More recent dimmers, particularly those released in the 1990s, have a wider wattage range and are therefore most likely compatible with your dimmable CFL. The point is that if possible, you try to find out what type of dimmer you have and what its range is before you dim your dimmable CFL. One final point is that as incandescent bulbs are dimmed their color temperature typically gets warmer and more ambient; this is not really the case with CFLs. The benefits to dimmable CFLs, however, are that they are more efficient and longer lasting and better for the environment. It is also likely that as the incandescent bulb phase-out approaches dimmable CFL technology will only improve, and rapidly. Dimmable CFLs will save you significant amounts of energy and you will not have to change your light bulb as often as if you use incandescent bulbs.

BulbAmerica has a wide selection of dimmable CFLs and regular CFLs in addition to other energy saving lighting products. We also have many, many dimmers. Check out what we have to offer!
By Victor Lopez | | bulb, compact fluorescent, dimmable, incandescent, light, lights, news | 0 comments | Read more

CFL Retrofits Hit a Home Run in Home Lighting

Compact fluorescent light (CFLs) bulb technology has now reached a point of significant maturity. Every bulb in the home, from the bulb for the basic lamp in the family room to the vanity lighting around the mirror in the bathroom, that was once the exclusive turf of the standard incandescent now has a CFL retrofit that will save you energy, money, and may even save the environment too. In this article, I will go through the most common household lighting situations and explain the appropriate CFL retrofits in each of them. Lamps are among the most common fixtures in the household so they are a good place to start. Generally there are two shapes of lamps that are most common, the harp lamp and the clamp lamp shade lamp. A lamp with a harp shade features typically features a screw in base and a piece of metal, the harp, which outlines the bulb and secures the shade. I would recommend replacing your incandescent with a twist CFL with a bright light or day light color temperature to get a natural and well diffused light. For lamps with a clamp lamp shade you’ll want to choose an A-shape CFL so the shade can easily clamp with out a problem.

For the bathroom, CFLs are very handy. Vanity strips, the set of light bulbs that often frame mirrors in bathrooms, most often use incandescent globes. There are wide variety of globe CFLs with medium screwbases that can easily replace incandescent globes. A soft white light is generally preferable in this application because the light will naturally be reflected by the bathroom mirror and other reflective bathroom surfaces. Recessed lighting is also common in bathrooms and there are plenty of CFLs to retrofit your incandescent recessed lighting. I would recommend bulge reflector (BR) bulbs for this application. The different sizes that BR CFLs come in guarantee a good fit in your recessed can. Again, soft white light is a good choice in this application but light temperature closer to day light is also sufficient. Throughout the home there are usually numerous mounted ceiling and wall fixtures in the form of track lights, ceiling fixtures, and sconces. For track lighting I would again choose bulge reflectors for a good indoor flood. BR20s through BR40s will be ideal depending on your track lighting fixture; color temperature choice is also flexible in this application and really depends on your taste. For ceiling fixtures I would recommend A-shape or twist bulbs because many ceiling fixtures are originally outfitted with screw in A-shape incandescent bulb and you will want a good fitting bulb. Like track lighting, there is no right color temperature answer in this application, particularly because many ceiling fixtures feature some sort of glass or plastic diffuser that will change the appearance of your light some what. If you can, I would recommend you play around with your color temperature a bit. Ceiling fans also fall within the ceiling fixture category. Your choice of ceiling fan style will change depending upon the fan’s fixture. Usually any bulb from a twist (if an enclosed fixture) or a candelabra or globe (if exposed bulb fixture) will do. Color temperature is flexible with ceiling fans, I happen to like soft white in this application so that is what I could go with to provide an even mellow light. Lastly wall sconces will most likely require a twist or candelabra CFL depending on whether the sconce is enclosed or features an exposed bulb.

Outdoor home lighting can also benefit from CFLs. Use PAR 38 CFLs with a cooler color temperature for outdoor floods and twist, A-shape, or candelabra CFLs for any lantern lighting you may have, any color temperature will do here! Remember that not all CFLs can dim, and many of those that can, cannot dim 100%. BulbAmerica has great deals on all the CFLs mentioned in this article and the best brands too, check us out!
By Victor Lopez | | candelabra, compact fluorescent, led, light bulbs, lights, news | 0 comments | Read more

Dress Up Your Home or Restaurant with CFL Globe and Candelabra Light Bulbs

Globe and candelabra style light bulbs have long been some of the most popular decorative light bulbs. These light bulbs have typically been incandescent, and thus inefficient and not environmentally friendly. Globe light bulbs are typically used in indoor applications where an exposed bulb cannot be avoided or is desired. Globe bulbs are used in bathrooms frequently to surround mirrors in light. This is an iconic image of the mirrors of Hollywood dressing rooms featured in innumerable films. Globe bulbs are also used in outdoor signs and marquees. Globe CFLs are not the brightest of the CFLs, and for this reason they are usually used in applications where using multiple bulbs is possible and/or favorable. Globe CFLs come in a wattage range of 5w to 30w. The color temperatures of Globe CFLs range from 2,700K to 6,500K, allowing you flexibility in applying them in indoor or outdoor applications.

Candelabra CFLs are typically used in sconces, chandeliers, night lights and other fixtures.Candelabra CFLs typically come with medium screw bases making them very easy to replace incandescent bulbs with. For candelabras, color temperature is especially important because they are often place in areas of homes or the restaurant that are important for creating ambiance. Osram and Sylvania offer candelabras with a comprehensive range of color temperatures to help you create the light ambiance you want. CFL candelabra bulbs have another important advantage over incandescent bulbs in that their improved life hour rating means less scrambling up ladders and disrupting delicate sconces to change light bulbs. CFL candelabras have life hour ratings ranging from 6,000hr to 8,000hr, a considerable improvement over incandescent bulbs.

Just because you should replace your incandescent light bulbs with CFLs, does not mean you have to sacrifice your ability to use decorative light bulbs in your home or restaurant. We have catalogs full of decorative globe and candelabra bulbs, check them out today!
By Victor Lopez | | bulb, CFL Globe and Candelabra, compact fluorescent, light, lights, news | 0 comments | Read more

Cold Cathode Compact Fluorescent Bulbs: Getting the Green Light for Environmentally Friendly Lighting

In the past, cold cathode compact fluorescent technology has been used in laptop and photocopier displays. Now, the cold cathode compact fluorescent lamp (CCFL) is the latest CFL technology to hit the lighting market. There are numerous important differences between CCFLs and ordinary compact fluorescent bulbs that make them an exciting and interesting new technology. Cold cathode lamps have a much longer life hour rating than CFLs do, they are rated at around 25,000 hours which brings their lifespan close to that of LEDs. Another important advantage they have over standard CFLs is that they reach peak luminosity almost as soon as they are turned and they are also almost fully dimmable. The excellent dimming performance of CFLs allows them to be used with all sorts of dimmers, including digital dimmers which is a first for CFL bulbs.

CCFLs are not without their disadvantages. CCFLs do not produce as many lumens as traditional CFLs and for this reason are not ideal for home interior unless you are planning using them in clusters or are using them in a space in which you do not require that much light. CCFLs produce lumens in the range of 200lm to 1050lm at wattages between 3w and18w. Some household applications of the CCFL have included outdoor and garden lighting in which you are lighting a path that does not require bright illumination. CCFLs are great outdoor light options because they are also very durable. CCFLs have been typically been used most widely in outdoor signs and marquees.

CCFLs are an exciting new fluorescent lighting technology that is already proving to be a great innovation to outdoor lighting and sign lighting. Ushio is the foremost manufacturer of CCFLs and we stock their entire line, check it out today!
By Victor Lopez | | Cold Cathode, compact fluorescent, news | 0 comments | Read more

Compact Flourescents, LEDs, and the Search for Greener Lighting

Recently great progress has been made in the development of environmentally friendly and efficient light bulbs to replace the traditional incandescent bulb. The compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) and the LED represent two of the most the common green bulbs being used in the home, office, automobile, and airplane, and other areas. Though CFL bulbs are very durable, lasting 8 to 15 times longer than the typical incandescent bulb, they contain mercury and pose a risk to the environment upon their disposal. The LED bulb is therefore a more environmentally friendly alternative to the CFL.

LED bulbs are particularly environmentally friendly because they do not contain any toxic chemicals. The most notable feature of the LED is its long-lasting light. The LED bulb can shine for more than 100,000 hours before its light dims. The outstanding lifespan of the LED is clear in comparison to the 6,000 to 15,000 hour lifespan of the compact fluorescent bulb. In addition to its shine, the LED bulb’s lack of a filament and strong construction guarantee a long life. Furthermore, LEDs produce lots of light using a very little wattage, making them energy efficient while cutting your energy bill. Whereas a 60-100 Watt incandescent bulb produces roughly 15 lumens per Watt, a 5 Watt LED can produce up to 18-22 lumens per Watt. The LED bulb’s capacity to produce large amounts of light by using minimal amounts of electricity is extremely promising.

LED bulbs can be found in nearly all lighting areas. LED PAR cans such as those by American DJ, Chauvet, and Optima can be found colorfully lighting up theaters and concert venues. The controllability and wide color spectrum possible with LEDs makes them a great choice for DJs and clubs. LED lighting is also common light sources in kitchens, candelabras, and flood lights. LEDs are currently found in most lighting applications and will likely expand into others soon. The only immediate difficulty with LED bulbs is their price. LED candelabra bulbs, for example, range from $18.06 compared to $5.89-$13.22 for CFL candelabra bulbs. Though LED lighting is still early in its development it promises to be a cost effective, environmentally friendly, and efficient lighting option.
By Victor Lopez | | compact fluorescent, led, lights, news | 0 comments | Read more

Timers and Wall Dimmers: Bright Ideas for Green Lighting

Today, homeowners and business owners alike are always on the look out for ways to save energy and save on their energy expenses. Many people look to the latest and greatest in LED and compact fluorescent bulbs first for ways to go green. There are however, other extremely simple ways to save on your energy use, namely the use of timers and dimmers. Timers have come a long way from the plastic mechanical dials that you would plug into power outlets, now, though these simple dimmers are certainly still used, there are more technologically advanced timers that are capable of handling multiple lighting programs. Sunlite’s T500 7 day timer is a wall-mounted timer with 36 on/off settings for full control over your lights. By using a timer, you can set your lights turn on and off when you’re not home, or while you are asleep, or at times when the office is empty. By using timers you can have lights on only when you need, saving you serious energy and money.

Wall dimmers are another way to not only save electricity, but to make your existing lamps last longer. By setting your lights to burn at a lower intensity, you can prolong the life all your bulbs including your incandescent and halogen light bulbs. Wall dimmers are easily mounted and come in a variety of styles to suit your decorative and functional needs. It is important to note, however, that combining wall dimmers and environmentally friendly bulbs, particularly CFLs, is not always so simple. Not all CFLs are dimmable and those that are, like cold cathode compact fluorescent for example, are not 100% dimmable. This means that you many not be able to use them on certain dimmers, and you should consult the manufacturers literature on the subject. Or, as always, you can contact me by leaving a message on my blog, or BulbAmerica with any questions you have by dialing 1-888-505-2111.

Save energy and money now—go green and save green! Invest in timers and dimmers today!
By Victor Lopez | | compact fluorescent, dimmers, light bulbs, lights, news | 0 comments | Read more

The Truth about CFL

How Much Mercury Is In One CFL?

About As Much As A Few Cans Of Tuna

The amount of mercury in a single compact fluorescent light bulb is about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. CFLs these days contain about 2 to 3 mg of mercury, most of which adheres to the inside of the glass coil bulb and cannot be ingested. Think of the old silvery mercury thermometers that used to be in every...
By Victor | | Bulbs, cfl, compact fluorescent, free, green, lamps, Light, mercury, truth | 0 comments | Read more