Compact Flourescent Recommendation

I’ve had this long-standing project of changing all the lights at Homeport to Compact Flourescent, or CF bulbs. These are very small flourescent lights in the shape of a normal lightbulb. Typically they put out about as much light as a 75 watt bulb, but only use 15 watts of power.
The problem has been finding bulbs that have a decent “temperature”. It’s easy to get very bright white CF bulbs, they tend to be sold in bulk piles, but it’s hard to get ones that have a nice ‘soft’ feel to them.
We picked up a packge of ‘GE Soft White 75’ bulbs – this is a 4 pack in a nice cardboard box. The bulbs are -small-, and have fit into every lamp I’ve tried, have a perhaps 1/2 second power-up cycle, and have a BEYOOOTIFUL color. I keep having to check to make sure they’re CF bulbs, but I’ve installed all 4 now, and will most likely be getting more.
The specs on the package say ‘GE Softwhite 75 long life” “Light output 1150 lumens” “Energy used 20 watts” “Life 6000 hours”
Highly recommended! If I find a way to identify different kinds of bulbs, I’ll try and post it, but that’s all the information I’m finding on this packaging.
We’re up to about 25 bulbs in the house now, perhaps half the total lighting in the house. I have yet to need to replace any of the CF bulbs I’m using, and I’ve been at this about 4 years. I know I’ve replaced some of the incandescent bulbs 2-3 times in that period. (mostly because I didn’t have CF bulbs handy 🙂

Dave Shevett


A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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7 thoughts on “Compact Flourescent Recommendation

  1. 1. Does the quality of the lighting really compare to incandescents? Too many of those fluorescent bulbs I’ve seen have that awful sodium-orange color to them.
    2. Where’d you find them?

  2. Yes! The quality of light is outstanding. The problem is finding bulbs that do this, that don’t look like the sodium glare you mentioned. Almost all of the bulbs say ‘natural light’ or ‘full spectrum’ or ‘soft’ or whatever, but these are absolutely beautiful in their color and tone.

  3. That’s the problem! I don’t remember! 8) I think Cat may have gotten them at Trader Joe’s, but I’m not sure. 🙁

  4. Here’s one from experience: give those puppies adequate ventilation. I live in an older house with some recessed and enclosed ceiling fixtures in bathroom and kitchen (where I REALLY need to cut down the watts), and, thanks to those fixures, I’m slowly building up a collection of burnt-out CFs.
    I haven’t done postmortems beyond cracking one open to look for anything obvious, but there is a largish electrolytic capacitor in there along with some kind of triac and some other components. If I had to guess, I’d say that the ‘lytic is getting cooked, after which the rest of the circuitry starts misfiring because of a crappy supply rail, leading to early death of components and/or tube.
    Bottom line, I’m now looking for ways to hold open the glass shells of those fixtures to let some air in, and you should probably try to do the same to get it right the first time like I didn’t. I get the cheap CFs on sale at the local hardware store, but, still, when they die faster than incandescents, the cost mounts up.

  5. About the light-temperature of the lights… All of the ones I’ve used start out with dim output and lousy sodium-like color. Remember than you need to let ’em shine for 10 minutes or so, long enough for the tube to reach equilibrium, before you pass judgment on their spectral output.

  6. You’re in Bolton. O’Connor Hardware in Billerica center, an Ace Hardware outlet, is always having sales these days on CFs (currently $0.99 for 15-watt minis). Check the Ace place nearest you; if they don’t have good deals, the ride up 495 and down 3 as far as Concord Rd. might be worth the trip when next you’re looking for CFs.

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