CFL or similar for recessed lighting?
January 5, 2008 3:29 PM   Subscribe

What's the best CFL or similar for recessed lighting? A previous question didn't quite provide the direct recommendation I'm looking for.

Basically, I'd like to replace the recessed flood lights throughout my apartment (there are 13 total) with something more energy efficient. But options like these come with warnings about poorly ventilated fixtures (the very definition of recessed lighting) and indoor use.

Further, they're quite expensive. I don't mind making the investment, but getting the cost down a bit would be helpful.
posted by aladfar to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've used Globe mini-spirals, 13 watt, in my basement recessed light fixtures (about a dozen) for almost a year. No problem.

Bear in mind that each CFL saves quite a bit of money in electricity expense each year. It's incandescents that are expensive.
posted by danwalker at 4:09 PM on January 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you thought CFL's were expensive, I doubt you're going to like LED lighting either($100/ea), but they're recessed socket safe, higher efficency than CFLs (7w vs. 15w for same output), instant-on and long lasting(50,000hr/8hrDay/365Days=17+yrs.)

You can use CFLs in cans, but you've got to buy ones rated for it.
posted by Orb2069 at 4:36 PM on January 5, 2008

If you have screw-in recessed fixtures, one option would be Sylvania's Dura-One CFLs. They are specifically designed to be installed base-up in recessed fixtures.

Here's the pros and cons of Dura-Ones:


-The Dura-Ones put out warm white light, and don't look like CFLs at all. I've shown people a lit Dura-One and they didn't realize it was a CFL.

-The lamp lasts a really really long time, even for a CFL. CFL's are generally rated to last 8000 hours or so, whereas Dura-Ones are rated for 15,000 hours.

-Because of the "electrodeless" design, these lamps can be switched on and off with impunity, whereas normal CFLs that are frequently switched on and off will wear out sooner.

-As I mentioned, they are designed specifically to be installed in recessed fixtures. They will get hot while being used, but the most heat-sensitive part is encased in a solid ceramic ring that I assume is designed to be a heat sink.


-The lamps are expensive. The first vendor listed in a google search for Dura-Ones sells them for $32 each.

-The lamps are hard to find. I've never seen one at a Home Depot or similar store. You would have to special-order them through a contractor's supply house or order them on the internet.

If these fixtures currently contain floodlamps, two other options would be ceramic metal halide lamps or halogen IR lamps. Ceramic metal halide floodlamps use the same technology as larger high intensity discharge lamps used in places like gymnasiums and warehouses, but shrunk down to fit into PAR fixtures. They take a few minutes to warm up, so I wouldn't use them unless you're replacing lamps in fixtures that are turned on and left on for hours on end.

Halogen IR lamps are about 30% more efficient than halogen lamps of the same output, and look exactly the same as normal halogens. Google searches can find all the information you could want about these lamps.
posted by zompus at 5:01 PM on January 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

If any of those recessed fixtures are on a dimmer switch, you'll need to use CFLs that are compatible with dimmers.
posted by pmbuko at 10:10 PM on January 5, 2008

warnings about poorly ventilated fixtures (the very definition of recessed lighting)

Those wil be absolutely fine in recessed cans. "Poorly ventilated" means more like "completely enclosed".

That's about as good as you'll do, pricewise, for a good dimmable CFL flood. The non-dimmable versions are much, much cheaper.
posted by trevyn at 4:11 AM on January 6, 2008

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