Spiral Compact Fluorescent
Compact Fluorescent F.A.Q.
How do spiral compact fluorescent light bulbs save energy?
A: A standard incandescent light bulb produces light by heating a filament inside
the bulb. Only a small amount of the energy used to operate a standard light
bulb is turned into light, most is wasted as heat. A standard incandescent only
produces around 15 lumens of light per input watt. On the other hand, spiral
compact fluorescent light bulbs produce 50-100 lumens per input watt. Thus,
13 watt spiral compact fluorescents produce as much light as a standard 60 watt
incandescent light bulb (over 75% less electricity for the same amount of light).
Spiral shape light bulbs
will also save energy by producing less ambient heat than standard incandescents.
Thus, your air conditioner won't have to work as hard.
I don't like the color of fluorescent light, are there any spiral compact fluorescents
that produce similar light to incandescent light bulbs?
A: Yes! Spiral CFL light bulbs are now available in a wide range of color temperatures
(measured in degrees Kelvin [K]). The color of light a spring lamp produces
is determined by the phosphors lining the glass portion of the spiral shape
light bulb. The phosphors can be manipulated to mimic virtually any light source.
The light produced by spiral compact fluorescents with a color temperature of
2700K-2850K is virtually indistinguishable from the light of incandescent bulbs.
Compact fluorescent spirals also come in colors that replicate halogen, traditional
fluorescent, and full-spectrum light sources.
Which wattage of spiral cfl light bulb should I buy to replace my current light
A: The manufacturers of most spiral CFLs rate their bulbs for incandescent equivalency.
However, there is no agreed upon standard for equivalencies. Thus, not all 60
watt equivalent spiral compact fluorescents have equal light output. A better
measure for comparing relative light output of spiral CFLs is 'Lumen Output'.
A spiral CFL light bulb's lumen output is an actual, objective, measurement
of light output.
Can spiral compact fluorescents be used with dimmers?
A: Only spiral CFLs designed specifically for use with dimmers may be used with
dimmer switches. A standard spring lamp will not operate correctly on a dimmer
switch, and the spiral CFL light bulb will fail quickly. Use of non-dimming
spiral CFLs on dimmer switches will void all warranties.
We are often asked if non-dimming
spiral compact fluorescents may be used with dimmers if the dimmer is never
dimmed. Theoretically, a dimmer always left at full power should not harm your
spiral CFL light bulbs, however even slight or accidental dimming will do substantial
damage to non-dimming spiral compact fluorescents.
My fixture is rated for a 75 watt maximum bulb. Can I use spiral CFL light bulbs
that has an incandescent equivalency higher than 75 watts?
A: Yes. When choosing a spiral compact fluorescent only the actual wattage needs
to be considered. In the above example spiral compact fluorescents up to 75
watts may be used. Spring lamps are perfect for applications where more light
is desired than a fixture's rating will permit.
Are spiral CFLs available with candelabra bases?
A: Yes. Spiral compact fluorescents are available in candelabra base, medium
(standard) base, and mogul base. Spiral shape fluorescents may also be found
with 4-pin bases and GU24 bases.
Can spiral CFL light bulbs be used outside and in cold weather?
A: Spiral compact fluorescents may be used outdoors as long as they are not
directly exposed to the elements. We carry enclosed CFLs designed specifically
for direct exposure to weather. Spiral compact fluorescents are ideal for coach
lights or under eaves.
When choosing a spiral CFL for use in cold weather, be sure to look at the minimum
starting temperature of the spiral compact fluorescent. Most of the spiral CFLs
we carry will start at ambient temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
With all spiral compact fluorescents, the colder the temperature the longer
it will take for your spiral CFL to reach full brightness.
Do compact fluorescent spirals make a buzzing sound?
A: Older fluorescent technology utilized magnetic ballasts that would often
times emit a buzzing sound that was irritating to some people. Modern fluorescents,
including spiral compact fluorescents, use an electronic ballast that is not
only more efficient but cycles at a rate that eliminates buzzing. A properly
functioning spring lamp should operate silently. If your compact fluorescent
spiral is buzzing then there is a problem with you spring lamp, the socket,
and/or the wiring.
Do compact fluorescent spirals flicker?
A: As with the problem of buzzing, the electronic ballasts used in compact fluorescent
spirals have eliminated the flicker associated with fluorescent lighting. The
most common cause of flickering with spiral compact fluorescents is using non-dimming
spiral CFLs on a dimming circuit. In any case, if your compact fluorescent spiral
is flickering then there is a problem with you spring lamp, the socket, and/or
Are spiral compact fluorescents available for my 3-way floor lamps?
A: Yes. We stock spiral CFL light bulbs that work with 3-way switches. These
spiral CFLs offer 3 distinct light levels, but be careful of their size. 3-way
compact fluorescent spirals are wider and taller than incandescent 3-way bulbs,
so make sure you have room in your fixture. Our product line includes 3-way
compact fluorescent spirals in 5100K, a color temperature many people prefer
for reading, sewing, or any activity requiring high levels of visual acuity.
How long should spiral compact fluorescents last?
A: Compact fluorescent spirals range is rated life from between 6,000 to 10,000
hours. Most of the spiral CFLs we carry are rated for 10,000 hours. The life
of spiral compact fluorescents, for the most part, is determined by the quality
of the ballast. Cheap spiral CFLs, both in price and quality, often have an
inferior ballast. Also, keep in mind that the life rating is an average. Half
of all bulbs will last longer than the rated life but half will not reach the
rated life. All quality spiral CFLs are warrantied by the manufacturer.
Is there mercury in spiral compact fluorescents?
A: Mercury is essential to the operation of spiral CFLs. It is the mercury that
excites phosphors in spiral CFLs, causing them to glow and give light. The amount
of mercury in most spiral compact fluorescents is less than 5 milligrams (most
of our spiral CFLs contain around 3 mg), roughly the amount required to cover
the tip of a ballpoint pen. By comparison, older home thermometers contain 500
milligrams of mercury and many manual thermostats contain up to 3000 milligrams.
It would take between 100 and 600 spiral CFLs to equal those amounts.
Spiral CFLs are responsible
for less mercury entering the atmosphere than standard incandescent light bulbs,
and spiral CFLs actually work to prevent mercury from entering our air, where
it most affects our health. The leading source of mercury in our air comes from
burning fossil fuels such as coal, the most commonly used fuel in the U.S. to
produce electricity. Spiral compact fluorescents use 75% less energy than an
incandescent light bulb and lasts up to 13 times longer. A power plant will
emit 10 mg of mercury to produce the electricity to run an incandescent bulb
compared to only 2.4 mg of mercury to run compact fluorescent spirals for the
same amount of time.
It is also important to
remember that spiral CFL light bulbs release NO mercury when the bulbs are in