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Increasing light wattage with low wattage compact fluorescents?

Increasing light wattage with low wattage compact fluorescents?

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Old 02-21-06, 09:58 AM
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Increasing light wattage with low wattage compact fluorescents?

Is it safe to increase my wattage output by replacing 60 watt incandescent with 100 watt low voltage energy saving compact fluorescents?

I figure since the wattage is lower but the light is supposed to be the same, that putting a higher "wattage" would be ok.

I did find out that the compacts don't work with dimmers, the switch started to hum when I tried.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 10:08 AM
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The wattage is what's important. The compact fluorescents provide more light for the equivalent wattage, or, as the packages tend to promote, the same light at a lower wattage. Off the top of my head, a 100 watt equivalent fluorescent uses 26 watts and a 150 watt equivalent uses 42. Thus, you could increase the light by switching to 100 or 150 watt equivalents and still be under the 60 watts you had with incandescents.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by mitch17
The wattage is what's important. The compact fluorescents provide more light for the equivalent wattage, or, as the packages tend to promote, the same light at a lower wattage. Off the top of my head, a 100 watt equivalent fluorescent uses 26 watts and a 150 watt equivalent uses 42. Thus, you could increase the light by switching to 100 or 150 watt equivalents and still be under the 60 watts you had with incandescents.
I would disagree that only wattage is important.

Heat is also a major factor. I have two enclosed front porch lights that say 60 watt max on them. If a 150 "watt" fluorescent uses only 42 watts (which is probably accurate), that still doesn't tell me how hot the fluorescent bulb gets. I would be gambling by putting those bulbs in there.

The point is your wiring might be able to handle the demand, but that doesn't matter if the housing melts.

Be careful here - I have a hard to reach light that has three 100 "watt" fluorescents in it and they get extremely hot!
 
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Old 02-21-06, 10:31 AM
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Might just be the pessimist in me, but when I look at them I don't see light equivalent to the incandescents, this is why I increased the wattage. I checked the heat and they seem to be cooler even with the higher "wattage", and the light has definitely improved.

We have an older home that apparently Abe Lincoln lived in, so I'm trying to increase light without adding new fixtures.


Thanks.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by XS6DFG0
If a 150 "watt" fluorescent uses only 42 watts (which is probably accurate), that still doesn't tell me how hot the fluorescent bulb gets.
Yes it does. A compact fluorescent bulb which draws 42 watts of electrical energy can dissipate no more than 42 watts of heat energy, period. Given the greater surface area and higher light energy output of a CF bulb compared to an incandescent one can know that the surface temperature of the CF bulb will be less than an incandescant bulb of equivalent wattage. You can therefore replace any standard bulb with a CF bulb of equivalent wattage.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by XS6DFG0
I would disagree that only wattage is important.
And you would be wrong (if it has a UL listing).


> Heat is also a major factor.

Heat is measured in wattage.

> that still doesn't tell me how hot the fluorescent bulb gets.

It tells you how much heat it gives off per unit time.


> I would be gambling by putting those bulbs in there.

Wrong. A lower wattage bulb is an improvement.


> I have a hard to reach light that has three 100 "watt" fluorescents in it
> and they get extremely hot!
They do. But they don't give off the amount of heat per unit time that incandescents do.

So the bulb can be hotter even. That doesn't matter.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Stumped1
when I look at them I don't see light equivalent to the incandescents,
They do take a while to warm up. Once they have warmed up, I find them to be too bright to look at.


> this is why I increased the wattage.
That's fine.


> I checked the heat and they seem to be cooler even with the higher "wattage",
This is very true.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 12:21 PM
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I had just pulled one that had lasted about 7 years, so I wanted to make sure it was safe before converting the rest in the house to CF with higher wattage. I'm not going ridiculously higher, just 40 to 60, 60 to 75, etc.

Thanks to everyone.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 12:42 PM
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Stumped, you aren't increasing the wattage at all. You are increasing the light output. The wattage is actually decreasing.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 12:58 PM
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> I had just pulled one that had lasted about 7 years

Please reveal the brand name and style. I've not had a good experience with CF longevity.


> I'm not going ridiculously higher, just 40 to 60, 60 to 75, etc.

Even 150W equiv. is fine provided that it fits in the fixture without the glass touching anything.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 02:46 PM
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It was a Syvania 30W Compact Fluorescent DULUX EL, only problem is that they max at 30W. It was a freebie sample I got when I used to work for them.

I've had good luck with the GE line, which has the higher wattages.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 04:55 PM
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When you use CFL lamps you must refer to the actual wattage of the bulb not the EQUIVALENT wattage. A 23 watt CFL is EQUIVALENT to a 100 watt. You use the 23 watt rating when claculating what bulb to put in a fixture.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 05:08 PM
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A small caution:

Some CF _bulbs_ are not particularly tolerant of heat. If you put a CF bulb that uses 42W in a fixture rated for a 60W incandescent, then the _fixture_ might be fine, but the _bulb_ might get too hot.

-Jon
 
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Old 02-21-06, 05:37 PM
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Joed is correct, this is from the Sylvania website:


Rule of Thumb for Compact Fluorescent Lamps: Divide wattage of incandescent lamp by 4 to determine approximate wattage of compact fluorescent lamp that will provide similar light output.



These particular CF's are a bit more expensive because they include the electronic ballast, which accounts for the longer bulb life.
 
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