Fluoresent light fixtures
January 28, 2007 1:55 AM   Subscribe

Hi: I am getting ready to replace my regular incandescent light fixtures with fluorescent ones. If you know of a good online company that has a good selection, please let me know. I am looking to replace the Kitchen, bathroom fixtures and also thinking about replacing the lamps in the bedroom. The reason for doing this is during the summer months in Houston it gets really hot. Thanks
posted by Noodles to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you're going for low-consumption long-life fixtures, you might check out some LED fixtures. They're much cooler than incandescents, and besides, fluorescent light is bad for the soul--ask anyone who has to work in a cubicle.
posted by The GoBotSodomizer at 3:06 AM on January 28, 2007

When I did this I looked online, but ended up buying them at Home Depot because the selection was decent, the prices were about as low as online without having any shipping cost, and they have a good return policy in case you don't like them after you plug them in. Walmart has also had a high-profile move into compact flourescents, so their prices and selection are probably also decent, and again you can return unwanted bulbs without dealing with return shipping.
posted by Forktine at 4:53 AM on January 28, 2007

If you intend to use compact flourescents in the bathroom, you'll get diminished life. For some reason, they don't like high humidity. I use them everywhere I can, however.

Here in Vermont, they've been subsidized by the power company for a long time, but recently, I have been buying them for $1 each. Apparently, there's a pretty big push nationwide to encourage their use. I am sure $1 is below cost.

Chief advantage is long life (except as noted above). Second is their drop-in nature.. no fixture changes needed.

Disadvatange is that they don't IMMEDIATELY put out their full light output... they ramp up as the lamp warms. I don't mind the spectral differences between them and incandescents, and they are getting better every year.

I can usually replace 5 incandescent bulbs for the same power. You are quite correct in noting that the cooling load will decrease, particularly if you run the lights a lot.
posted by FauxScot at 5:01 AM on January 28, 2007

Just to clarify, after reading some of the comments, are you buying new fixtures or new bulbs? Obviously is it easier and less expensive to simply put compact fluorescent bulbs into existing fixtures reather than replacing the entire fixtures themselves.

I'll also add that many fluorescent fixtures in kitchens that are similar to the types in offices look hideous and 80s retro. Please don't tear up your ceiling to install one of those things with big long tubes. That may also hurt your resale value on your house.
posted by Robert Angelo at 6:49 AM on January 28, 2007

One more thing: We live in Galveston and have almost the same weather you do. To deal with the hot summers, we actually put a ceiling fan in the kitchen -- most other rooms have them too. This type of fan, as an example, looks good with compact fluorescent bulbs, since the bulbs are not visible.
posted by Robert Angelo at 6:56 AM on January 28, 2007

You certainly don't need to replace the fixtures to use compact fluorescent bulbs. I am actually planning to replace the (plain old round 1-bulb) fixture in my kitchen today because it eats bulbs, and from a survey at Home Depot yesterday it does sort of come off as if you have to replace the fixtures if you want to switch bulbs (there were two that came with CF bulbs and made a big deal about it, as if you couldn't put those bulbs in any old medium-base fixture). That's just marketing.

I've only got a few incandescent bulbs left in the house, all the rest are CF from Home Depot or Costco (the warehouse stores are your best deal, assuming you've got a membership already). Until I searched just now, I didn't even know you could get 3-way CF bulbs, but they exist so that's two more lamps I can swap out.

Be careful if you're buying multipacks of bulbs that you don't get stuck with a bunch of 40-watt-equivalent ones. They are exactly as useless as a 40-watt light bulb. Don't go any lower than 60w-equivalent.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:06 AM on January 28, 2007

The GBS, most compact fluorescents are light-balanced so they don't make you feel office-bound and suicidal. But of course, it's important to make sure whatever you buy isn't in the dreadful old-tyme spectrum.

LEDs are great for certain uses (I have them under my kitchen cabinets and they're great) but I'd hate to have my entire apartment filled with light that sharp.

Noodles, seconding (or whatever) the response that you don't need to get new fixtures, just new bulbs. CFs are great and well worth the money. Instead of ordering online, though, you'd really be better off going to a lighting specialty store where you can actually see the output from the bulbs you're considering. Buying a bunch of these bulbs at once ain't cheap and you don't want to end up with something that makes you unhappy every time you flip the light switch. I bought my bulbs in a store here and the price was about the same as anyplace I found online.

Here's a google listing of lighting stores in Houston. One or more of these places should have a range of options for you to take a look at.
posted by vetiver at 7:35 AM on January 28, 2007

Are you replacing the fixture or bulbs? IKEA has good prices on the bulbs.
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:37 AM on January 28, 2007

Avoid IKEA's bulbs like the plague. CFL aficionados (there's fan clubs for everything on the internets) unanimously agree they're the absolute bottom-of-the-barrel worst in terms of color quality.

We like the Harmony Lightwiz series, available from EFI.

They perfectly match incandescent color - and, unlike IKEAs rather dim offerings, are available in brightnesses exceeding 100W equivalent.
posted by dmd at 8:02 AM on January 28, 2007

you might check out some LED fixtures. [...] fluorescent light is bad for the soul--ask anyone who has to work in a cubicle.

You know that white LEDs are basically florescent lights, right? Light from a UV LED hits a phosphor.
posted by Good Brain at 9:25 AM on January 28, 2007

Sorry to piggyback, but does anyone (dmd, perhaps) know how to tell how close the spectrum of a cf is to incandescent? Do you look at the "color temp," or what?
posted by walla at 10:52 AM on January 28, 2007

Piggybacking on this question, if I may-- After looking at dmd's answer, I'm now looking into this as an alternative, and upon seeing this This bulb is not suitable for use in enclosed fixtures, emergency exit lights, in outdoor locations where it would be exposed to the elements, or in conjunction with dimmers or photocells, I'm wondering, do they make bulbs like this that are suitable for enclosed fixtures?

I have a drafting lamp that I'd LOVE to fit with one of these. Is a drafting lamp an "enclosed fixture"? Or are we talking about highhats and recessed lighting, or glass-shaded lights, or what? Any suggestions?
posted by exlotuseater at 11:54 AM on January 28, 2007

walla - yes look at the color temp in Kelvins. Higher temps are more blue, lower more orange.

Noodles - Walmart is your place, they're selling almost exclusively CFLs and for cheap cheap cheap.

If its cooling load you're looking to reduce, be sure to shade the windows your not enjoying, either from the outside with trees, bushes, or awnings or inside with good blinds/curtans. Also paint your roof white or be sure to get light colored "cool" shingles when you replace them next time. This and this look like they'd help.
Good luck.
posted by sauris at 12:08 PM on January 28, 2007

I second sauris's recommendation for Wal-Mart. I don't have access to a huge number of places, but they easily have a better selection than anywhere else I've seen.
posted by claxton6 at 12:30 PM on January 28, 2007

You want bulbs that are 3000K or lower, if you want them to look like warm incandescents. I prefer 2700K lamps.
posted by dmd at 3:42 PM on January 28, 2007

For the month of February our electric company (Gainesville, FL) is subsidizing a sale with Home Depot to make the florescent bulbs super-cheap -- $1 each. Maybe give your local power company a call?
posted by iurodivii at 7:31 PM on January 28, 2007

Walla: You'll want to look at the CRI as well as the color temperature. Lower color temperature will mean more yellowish light, which is really a personal preference. A bulb with a low CRI, on the other hand, will make some colors look "off." This is because flourescent lights don't produce a flat color spectrum. There is a pretty big difference between cheap flourescents and ones with CRI ratings about 90. These use more types of phosphor and produce a more even color spectrum.
posted by cameldrv at 9:58 PM on January 28, 2007

There is a light bulb store on I-10 around Heights Blvd. Not real sure about it's location. I remember that it has a red awning. It is on the north side of I-10. Just look for it between Studewood and Shepherd.
posted by nimsey lou at 6:10 AM on January 29, 2007

« Older Drop-down menu assistance, please.   |   Hair Removal Cost by Method Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.