4 - 2008

Lights update

Last night, we stopped at Wal-Mart (we had a gift card to redeem for a set of weights, so Mr. Cheap can pump iron at home instead of paying to [not] go to the gym).

I had heard about Wal-Mart’s campaign to get everyone to change one light bulb to a CFL (read the good, the bad and the potentially misguided here). So I figured it was a good place to stop in at the CFL aisle for my can light quandary.

Indeed, I found a selection, though not much stock, of CFL flood lamps. I bought a two-pack of standard compact fluorescent flood lights for $11, and a single dimmable CFL bulb for $11.

Initial thoughts:

  • Regular CFL: Philips Energy Saver 65, Energy Star, Reflector Flood R30. Cost $5.50 each. 16 watts, 750 lumens, 8,000-hour lifespan.  Verdict: It takes a minute to come to full brightness, and it’s notably dimmer than the 75-watt incandescents in the room. The light is “soft white.” It is almost uncomfortably dim in the hallway where I tried out the first bulb.
  • Dimmable CFL: Lights of America Energy Saver Dimmable Reflector Flood. Cost $11 each. 14 watts, 520 lumens, 6,000-hour lifespan. Verdict: The light is very pleasant and just as bright as the dimmable incandescent flood lights. As for dimming, it goes dimmer … dimmer … a little less dim … OFF. Not a very large dimming range. At a point where the incandescents are casting a pleasant, pale glow, the CFL is fairly bright, and when the incandescents go slightly dimmer, the CFL turns off.

All in all, I don’t think I’m going to like the Philips bulbs, and I’m not crazy about the dimming function of the other. It doesn’t matter much in the family room (where the lights are usually on or off) but it will make a difference in a dining room fixture, the only other bulbs not converted to CFLs because that fixture is dimmable.

I’m wondering if the more expensive flood lamp CFLs will cast a better light. More research is in order.

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