Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
This article is a work in progress & is going to be part of
my informational services aimed at home energy evaluation &
Standard incandescent bulbs currently used in your home or business
have changed very little from Thomas Edison's first light bulb in
1879. Only about 10% or less of the energy used by incandescent
bulbs becomes visible light; the other 90% is wasted as heat. Florescent
bulbs are about 4 times more efficient than incandescent bulbs (florescent
bulbs are at least 40-45% efficient) & can therefore save a
lot of electricity costs, as well as operate cooler. In recent years
many manufacturers have come out with a compact line of florescent
bulbs with the ballast built in, which are designed to replace incandescent
bulbs in screw based sockets. Prices for these screw based, compact
florescent lamps (CFLs) have come way down & quality & practicality
has gone way up, to the point where it is far more economical to
use florescent bulbs than incandescent bulbs, once you take the
electricity costs into account.
SAVING ELECTRICITY COSTS
Most people look at the price of a screw base, compact fluorescent
lamp (CFLs) (usually $2. to $9. CDN each) & they choose the
incandescent bulb which is often well under $1. but this is false
economy. They fail to notice that florescent bulbs can last 3 to
13 times longer than incandescent bulbs AND that florescent bulbs
only require 22 - 25% as much electricity for the same brightness.
At the high prices of electricity these days, the huge savings when
using florescent bulbs are primarily because of the reduced electricity
requirements. For example, if your total cost of electricity in
your area is $0.10 per kWh (kilo Watt hour) (including all the extras
on your bill), then a 100 Watt incandescent bulb would use $100.
worth of electricity over 10,000 hours (longest life of most florescent
bulbs). Even if you used 6000 hours (the shortest rated life of
any florescent bulb) as the comparison base, there would still be
a $60. electricity cost for a 100 Watt incandescent bulb over 6000
hours. Since florescent bulbs only use about 25% of the electricity
of an incandescent bulb, the above 100 Watt incandescent bulb if
changed to a 25 Watt florescent bulb will save $45. to $75.
in electricity costs over the life of that bulb. A 60 Watt
incandescent bulb if changed to a 15 Watt florescent bulb
will save $27. to $45. in electricity costs over the life of that
bulb, depending on how many hours it's rated for &
your kWh price for electricity. So it's not hard to see how the
savings can add up for all the light bulbs in your house or business.
Even if florescent bulbs are slightly more expensive to buy than
incandescent bulbs based on a given number of hours, the cost is
way more than made up by the enormous savings in electricity.
Screw base, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) do still have some
technical limitations but not many any more. Most models of CFLs
do not work with dimmers, though some do, but those ones don't dim
as low as an incandescent bulb. Florescent light packaging often
has a disclaimer saying "May cause interference with radio,
TV's, telephones, or remote controls. Not intended for use with
emergency exit fixtures or emergency exit lights. Not for use with
timers, photocells, dimmers and motion control devices." The
manufacturer Luminus told me that their CFLs were designed to operate
between 100 - 130 Volts & that they would burn out prematurely
if the Voltage was below 100, but not cause a safety issue. Luminus
also said that many but not all "electronic timers" &
"electronic photocells" lower the Voltage too much, but
that "mechanical timers" work fine with CFLs. If you have
a Volt meter, measure the output of the electronic timer or photocell
to see if it drops the Voltage too much for use on CFLs (normal
Voltage is usually 117 VAC) & to see that it doesn't feed any
Voltage to the CFL when it is off.
Inexpensive inverters that
create AC Voltage for household appliances from a battery are usually
square wave AC (manufacturers call them modified sine wave) &
this can cause a CFL to burn out prematurely, if you must use an
inverter for a CFL, only use the more expensive full sine wave inverters.
Many manufacturers of CFLs make their bulbs TOO TALL,
so a 25 Watt CFL may not fit in a fixture that a 100 Watt incandescent
came out of. It is unfortunate that more manufacturers don't
find ways to make these bulbs fit the same height profile as the
incandescent bulbs they are designed to replace, such as make the
spiral wider so it doesn't have to be as tall. Some 14
Watt spiral shaped CFLs (Commercial Electric or Luminus brands)
are as small as a 60 Watt incandescent bulb & fit almost anywhere.
Incandescent bulbs are typically 3 7/8" - 4 1/4" or 9.9 - 10.7 CM tall. General Electric, Sylvania & Philips
seem to have lagged behind in getting their CFLs down to the same
size as an incandescent bulb.
Most CFLs do not flicker or hum like models of several years ago
& most now come on nearly instantly (within 1/2 second), though
there are a few notable exceptions such as some models from Globe
that take 1-2 seconds to turn on, which can sometimes be quite annoying
if you're rushing into a room as you turn the light on. All CFLs
are a bit dim when they first turn on, but most are up to full brightness
within 1 minute. The ballast of CFLs typically use a switching frequency
of about 40,000 Hz, so they do not cause headaches like the 60 Hz
ballasts of 4' florescent ceiling fixtures.
temperature of CFLs come in a range from 2600° Kelvin (very yellow warm)
to 6500° Kelvin (slightly bluer than daylight). Personally I
like CFLs in the mid range of 3500 to 4000° Kelvin. Incandescent
bulbs are typically 2700 to 3000° Kelvin & daylight at noon
on a sunny day is 5500° Kelvin. Most people have a sense that
a higher color temperature (more bluish) might be better for reading.
Some CFLs use 3 types of phosphors to give a better more even spectrum
of lighting, or better Colour
Rendering Index (CRI).
Most CFLs however, have a rather low CRI rating of about 80. Future
improvements should be made in CFLs to bring them up to perhaps
a 92 CRI index which renders colors much more accurately.
CFLs are available to fit 3-way (trilite) fixtures (3 separate
brightness levels), but they are sometimes expensive in Canada.
In my opinion, CFLs have evolved to the point where they are usually
identical in functionality to incandescent bulbs, last longer &
they will continue to get smaller, better, more efficient, safer,
better Color Rendering Index & less expensive.
ARE THEY SAFE?
I would have presumed that screw base, compact fluorescent lamps
(CFLs) were always safer than incandescent bulbs because they operate
so much cooler, which should minimize the chance of combustible
material igniting should it touch the bulb. However I received a
report by a consumer who used a 14 Watt Luminus brand CFL purchased at Costco which went defective & started
to smoke, here is what he said. "There was no actual flame,
but it filled the globe (sealed light fixture) with very acrid smoke
and then the smoke began to fill the hall. We were moving about
in the hall at that particular moment and discovered the problem
almost immediately. Whether the bulb will actually flame if left
in a socket I don't know. It was powerful hot in that globe when
I took it out and still actively belching smoke..."
This was the potential first fire hazard incident I had heard of
with CFLs, but it illustrates that a problem can occur. I have heard
of fires caused by incandescent bulbs that were too high Wattage
for the fixture they were installed in, or where they came in contact
with combustible material (drapes, covers & lampshades, etc).
Besides problems with some Luminus brand CFLs, some Pricemark bulbs can be a hazard too. Note any bulbs listed below as having
a safety hazard in
red. CFLs that belch smoke, usually do so from the white base that
contains electronic components (ballast). General Electric formerly
had on their web site an explanation of "End Of Life"
sensing protection that can prevent smoke, something all CFLs should
incorporate. As a general rule, a CFL bulb that smokes does not
catch fire because it is contained within the white ballast, but
it sometimes scares consumers enough that they don't want to use
Safety Authority has issued a warning about the way CFLs expire at the end of their life. The Ontario
Fire Marshal's Office also looks into CFL safety. If you have the FCC ID number from the
base of the CFL, you can go to the U.S. Federal
Communications Commission site & often see pictures of the
parts used on the inside of these CFLs. Another organization to
complain to if you are a U.S. citizen & have a CFL safety issue
is the U.S. Product
Some CFLs packaging indicates that the bulb contains mercury,
which should be disposed of according to your locals laws, or call Lamp Recycle at 1-800-555-0050
or 1-800-435-4448. The mercury is contained in the sealed glass
tube & presumably is not a safety hazard unless the glass gets
broken (in which case don't breath near the tube). The amount of
mercury is extremely small (5 mg or less, which would cover the
head of a pin), but the bulb should not be disposed of with regular
household garbage. Do
CFLs pose a threat of mercury poisoning if they break?
brand CFLs sold in dollar stores are not
safety rated & are an extreme safety hazard. One model
of Globe brand CFL has a UL stamp of safety approval,
but UL says the bulb is NOT approved & is a potential safety
hazard. If you have a CFL that you believe is a safety hazard &
if it is CSA approved, send it to CSA
178 Rexdale Blvd., Toronto Ontario, M9W 1R3 or Phone (416) 747-4277.
All CFLs should have either the CSA (Canadian Standards Association)
or UL or cUL (Underwriter's
logo of safety approval & if they do not have a safety rating
as noted by the CSA or UL logo, then don't buy them. In Ontario
& probably other Canadian provinces, ANY electrical device that
operates on 32 Volts or more, must have either the CSA or UL logo,
or be approved by the ESA (Electrical
as long as there is a standard for the product (which there is for
CFLs), presumably states in the U.S.A. have similar laws.
It is assumed that CFLs can be put almost anywhere that an incandescent
bulb can be put, but judging by the safety reports below, it is
clear that some CFLs overheat & burn out early or cause potential
safety issues when installed in a recessed or enclosed fixture.
Read the manufacturers packaging for instructions of where &
where not to use CFLs.
LIFE EXPECTANCY OF BULB
Screw base, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) at a warm color temperature
of about 2700° Kelvin have an advertised life of 6000 - 10,000
hours (250 - 417 days on constantly, or 4.7 - 7.8 years at 3.5 hours
per day) which is substantially more than incandescent bulbs which
are usually rated for 770 - 2000 hours (32-83 days on constantly,
or 0.6 - 1.56 years at 3.5 hours per day). Having used CFLs for
some time now,I am quite skeptical of some manufacturers
claims for number of hours. Indeed, how would any typical
consumer even know how long a bulb actually lasted unless they left
it on constantly & took note of when they installed it &
when it burned out. My own limited experience using at least 45
screw base compact fluorescent bulbs (as of 2003) in intermittent
use (only occasionally turned on) in the last 18 months, is that
5 of them have burned out way too early (that's at least a 11.1%
early failure rate using this small sampling & is likely to
be higher). One person has reported to me that 19 of 21 Luminus
20 Watt CFLs purchased at Costco have burned out significantly prematurely.
Another reported most 14 Watt Luminus
CFLs burned out prematurely. At least one manufacturer has tried
to convince me that less than 1% of CFLs fail prematurely, but I
don't believe it, so keep your bill so you can return any
bulb that burns our prematurely. In particular I've found
that Sylvania brand CFLs routinely don't last very long. I've heard
one report of Pur-lite bulbs burning out in a month or two. I received
a report on poor customer service regarding Globe Electric Co. I
have observed that using a florescent bulb in a pull chain fixture
might shorten their life, possible because of the vibration. CFLs
used in totally enclosed fixtures or florescent floods will also
result in shortened life, probably because of heat build up in the
sealed fixture. Bulbs routinely turned on in sub freezing temperatures
(below -23°C or -10°F) may also shorten bulb life expectancy. Even if the manufacturers claims of life expectancy for
CFLs is only half of what they claim, I still feel they are excellent
value because of the huge cost in electricity they save.
Light output is measured in lumens,
but it is generally assumed that you will get approximately the
same output of an incandescent bulb if you use a CFL bulb of 25%
the Wattage. For example, if you found that you needed a 100 Watt
incandescent bulb to provide enough light, then use a 23-27 Watt
CFL to do the same job (if it fits in the fixture). If you were
using a 60 Watt incandescent bulb, then switch it to a 13-15 Watt
CFL for similar light output. The rated light output of some CFLs
is based on the bulb being upside down (i.e. screw base at top),
but sometimes in a sealed fixture that actually decreases the life
of the bulb because heat rises to the ballast area causing over
heating. If the screw base is at the bottom, the light output may
be as low as 92 - 95% of rated brightness (I have not verified this).
At a given light output, CFLs create a lot less heat than incandescent
bulbs which is a bonus. Florescent flood lights that shine in only
one direction tend to be a little less efficient compared to CFLs
that shine in all directions, because floods are forced to reflect
the light in one direction which isn't as efficient use of the light.
So which brands of CFLs seem to be generally better than others?
Read below & you will see many specifics listed, but so far Philips brand is the only brand I have listed here
that I have not received a potential safety hazard report for. Phillips
being 1 of the big three domestic manufacturers, has some interesting
CFLs. I formerly had a personal preference for the Commercial
Electric brand (sold at Home Depot) (made by Technical
Consumer Products Inc.) because their designs seem well thought
out, they work very well, but I have since received several bad
reports. Essentially similar CFLs to Commercial Electric may also
sell under other brand names like N:Vision & DuraBright. Globe brand
CFLs often seem unrefined, turn on slowly & are too tall, but
otherwise seem to function ok. The 13 Watt Globe brand bulb listed
below says it is UL safety rated, but in fact it isn't. I would
avoid buying Globe brand CFLs when they violate UL standards. Luminus brand CFLs are a mixed bag, with some earlier models failing prematurely
& some models being a definite safety hazard, so I would avoid this brand. Luminus
seems to be one of those companies who does their product testing
on the public rather than in the lab before they release the product
to the public. Rona Hardware stores is a brand
I have limited experience with. Sylvania being
another of the big three domestic manufacturers seems to have it's
share of premature burn outs & several possible safety hazard reports, so I would stay
away from this brand. Pricemark brand of CFLs present
a possible safety
hazard, sometimes burn out prematurely & show
no advanced characteristics. Pur-lite brand CFLs
are a definite safety hazard & don't seem to be stocked by Canadian Tires stores any more
& they have non standard descriptions of product (color
sometimes flicker when off, no web presence & only have a 1
year guarantee for a bulb that's supposed to last up to 7 years. Light of America brand of CFLs seems unremarkable,
with premature burn outs reported, possible safety hazards & CFLs that are too tall. General Electric being the other of the big three domestic manufacturers but I have
little experience with this brand so far. GE is the only brand I
could find that formerly described on their web site an "End
Of Life" sensing safety protection, that shows they care about
their customer's safety & about proper research. "Fieldbreeze"
brand of CFLs can be an extreme safety hazard & has no safety
rating (CSA or UL) & uses flammable plastic, under no circumstances
should you buy this brand if you value your life & your house. IKEA I only have 2 reports on this brand &
it mentions a potential safety hazard. NOMA is a CFL brand now selling in my area, but
I haven't tried them yet. Note any bulbs listed below as having
a safety hazard in
Additional reading: Wikipedia
Good article http://www.savethebulb.org/Home.html
Some info on banning incandescent bulbs http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=236304
The Green Guide article on safety & other CFL
Below are some brands & models I've bought along with
comments from other users.
|Philips 9 Watts Vanity GLOBE shaped. Rated for 8,000
hours or 7years (3.1 hours per day), 500 lumens. Operating range
-30°C to 60°C (-22°F to 140°F). 4 3/8"
or 11.1 CM tall from tip to base. Made in China. cUL certified.
Comes on dim, but brightens within a couple minutes.
|Philips Marathon 11
Watts SPIRAL shaped. Rated for 8,000 hours or 6 years
(3 hours per day), 674 lumens. Operating range -20°C to
60°C (-4°F to 140°F). 4 1/4" or 10.8 CM tall
from tip to base. Made in China. UL & CSA certified.
|Philips Marathon 15
Watts SPIRAL shaped. Rated for 10,000 hours or 7 years
warranty (3 hours a day), 860 lumens, 2700 °K (yellow warm color) & 82 CRI (Color Rendering Index). Operating
range -20°C to 60°C (-4°F to 140°F). 4 13/16"
or 12.3 CM which is rather tall. Comes on instantly. Made in
China. cUL & CSA certified.
|Philips shaped like a NORMAL bulb in 2 sizes (smaller one almost same shape as an incandescent
bulb & 5 3/8" or 13.7 CM tall) 16 Watt = 60 Watt, 6,000 hours, 5 years based on 3.3 hours per day,
actually uses 15 Watts, 825 lumens, manufacturer says color
temperature 2700°K & that's exactly
what I measured, 82 CRI, $14.99 CDN for one bulb & more
recently about $7. CDN for other (smaller bulb), good to -10°F
or -23°C (newer version says -25°F or -45°C) because
of it's sealed outer bulb (not good for putting in a sealed
fixture), made in Poland, head office New Jersey. Might not
make proper electrical contact with the base of all sockets
because of wide ballast & slightly stubbier screw base.
Bulb comes on rather dim, but eventually brightens up. Good
for when you have a lamp shade clipping directly on the bulb. Bulb is CSA & UL certified.
|Philips is 25 Watts & has 3 U
shaped stems. Made in Mexico. Measured 2800°
Kelvin. 6 1/8" tall (15.6 CM). Inside of tube
tends to darken with age. Is UL & CSA certified.
|Philips Marathon 27
Watts SPIRAL shaped. Rated for 10,000 hours or 7 years
(3.1 hours a day) guaranteed, 1620 lumens. Operating range -20°C
to 60°C (-4°F to 140°F), rather tall. Made in China.
cUL & CSA certified. Slightly bluer than daylight at 6500°K with an 80 CRI (Color Rendering Index).
|Philips SLS15 15 Watts 3U shaped.
Made in Mexico. Customer comments.
Electric 9 Watt GLOBE shape for kitchen
chandelier or vanity, 2 for $20. CDN at Home Depot. Package
says 9 Watts = 40 Watts & interestingly they actually are
slightly brighter than 40 Watt incandescent bulbs. Bulb initially
comes on dimmer, but gets brighter quite fast (within a minute).
No significant wait before bulb turns on. Says 495 lumens output,
6000 hours (5 years based on 3.3 hours per day). Suitable for
enclosed fixture. Minimum starting temperature -20°F or
-28.8°C. I'm amazed they got the ballast in such a small
fixture, it doesn't even look like a florescent bulb. Color
temperature measured 2800° Kelvin. So
far I really like this bulb. Bulb is not CSA certified,
but is UL certified. Made in China. Contact info for Commercial
Electric is, 426 Ellesmere Road, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
M1R 4E7, Phone 1 800-378-6998
|Commercial Electric 14 Watt SPIRAL (measured 13 Watts) rated for 10,000 hours, 7 years based on
3.9 hours per day & the packaging actually says "This
product is under warranty for 7 years". Rated at 900 lumens
which might be slightly over rated because it is not as bright
as the 13 Watt Luminus spiral. Strength is that this
bulb is very small (4 5/16" or 11.0 CM tip to
base) so it can fit anywhere that a conventional incandescent
bulb would fit. Turns on more instantly than most florescent bulbs & has a minimum starting temperature of
-20°F (-29°C). Color temperature measured 2800° Kelvin. $19.98 CDN at Home Depot for 4 bulbs. Bulb is not CSA
certified, but is UL certified. Made in China.
|Commercial Electric 14 Watt FLOOD (measured 13 Watts) (indoor/outdoor) with fogged glass face,
sold by Home Depot for $20. CDN for two. Rated for 6000 hours
(5 years based on 3.3 hours per day), may have overestimated
light output saying 14 Watt = 65 Watt. Outdoor temp minimum
-20°F (-29°C). Strength is that this bulb is
suitable for use in wet outdoor locations, rated at
640 lumens (I'd guess that light output is over rated). This
bulb takes 1-2 seconds to turn on which can be annoying &
it takes awhile to come up to full brightness. Color temperature
measured 2600° Kelvin (yellow warm color).
Bulb is not CSA certified, but is UL certified. Of 6 Commercial
Electric Flood bulbs I bought, 1 burned out very prematurely.
The competitor Luminus floods (145454 & 145453) appear to
be brighter bulbs, at a lower cost & rated for more hours,
but they're not for wet locations. Made in China.
|Commercial Electric 23 Watt SPIRAL (measured 19 Watts after warming up for a few minutes) SKU #
415-413 & 358-875, models EDXO-23 & C8PESL23TM, rated
for 10,000 hours, 7 years based on 3.9 hours per day & the
packaging actually says "This product is under warranty
for 7 years". Rated at 1600 lumens although it probably
is less because it burned at a significantly lower Wattage than
rated. Warm white light. Strength is that this bulb
is very short especial in it's brighter class range (4 11/16" or 11.8 CM tip to base) so it can fit almost
anywhere that a conventional incandescent bulb would fit. Turns
on more instantly than most florescent bulbs &
has a minimum starting temperature of -20°F (-29°C).
$17.99 CDN at Home Depot for 3 bulbs. Bulb is not CSA certified,
but is UL certified. Made in China. Potential safety
|Commercial Electric 32 Watt (incandescent equivalent
of 40/75/150 Watts) SPIRAL
3-way tri-lite, also sold under the DuraBright
brand & manufactured in China by Technical Consumer Products
Inc., of Aurora, Ohio, has a safety
hazard recall from http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml05/05064.html
|Commercial Electric 42 Watt SPIRAL advertising claims similar in brightness to a 150 Watt incandescent
bulb (measured 35 Watts when first turned on & rises to
about 36 or 37 Watts after warming up for a few minutes) Rated
at 2600 lumens, but since Wattage isn't what is claimed, brightness
might not be what's claimed either. SKU # 167-190, rated for
10,000 hours, 7 years based on 3.9 hours per day & the packaging
actually says "Guaranteed, based on average of 4 hours
per day". Warm white light. Bulb is quite tall, so it comes
with harp extensions. Turns on more instantly than most florescent bulbs & has a minimum starting temperature of
-20°F (-29°C). About $12.95 CDN at Home Depot for 1
bulb. Bulb is not CSA certified, but is UL certified. Made in
|Luminus (Imported by Conglom Inc.)(item 867867) 13 Watt SPIRAL super bright Micro T2, 3 11/16" or 95
CM ultra compact sized to fit in almost any fixture, 900 lumens,
color temperature 2700° Kelvin (yellow
warm color), rated for 10,000 hours up to 9 years, warranty
for 3 years, operates down to -23°C or -10°F, cUL approved,
made in China. $14.79 for 8 bulbs at Costco Nov. 2007. Comes
with a nice reusable case that protects the bulbs.
Luminus (item 145456)(new ultra
bright mini spiral, also called professional series) 13 Watt SPIRAL shaped but
not as short as above model (this model is 9/16" taller
& is 4 15/16" or 12.5 CM base to
tip), rated for 10,000 hours, lasts up to 7 years based on
3-4 hours per day (actual 3.91 hours per day if you do the
math) although it only has a 3 year limited warranty, 900
lumens (it is quite bright for 13 Watts), Luminus claims this
model is more efficient than their 145457 model & I believe
that claim (this bulb is 78% less electricity than a 60 Watt
incandescent bulb). Suitable for indoor or outdoor (outdoor
must be dry), $15.69 CDN for 3 bulbs at Costco ($4. off Aug.
4-17/2003). Starts below -23°C (-10°F). Manufacturer
says colour temperature 2700° Kelvin (yellow warm color),
I measured 2800°K. This model might be safer than the
145457 model because it clearly is a different design. Strength
is that it starts instantly & brightly. Might be too tall
for some fixtures. Bulb is not CSA certified, but is UL certified. Customer comments.
|Luminus (item 865983)(P17713 DH08) Super
Bright Ultra Mini SPIRAL 13 Watts. 4 1/16"
or 10.3 CM base to tip (nice & short).
Rated for 10,000 hours, lasts up to 9 years (at 3.04 hours per
day) warranty for 3 years from date of purchase. Light output
900 lumens, 2700° Kelvin (yellow warm color). Suitable for
outdoor use in dry location (down to -23°C or -10°F)
(will start at temperatures below this but may affect lamp life).
Bulb cUL certified, but not CSA certified. Of 8 bulbs in package,
1 failed shortly after installation. There are two versions
of this bulb with the same item number but slightly different
shape. The newest one is slightly taller 4 3/16" (10.7
cm) & has a much smaller ballast (1.5" diameter) that
145457) 14 Watt SPIRAL shaped (measures 13 Watts), rated for 9000 hours (don't
believe it), 6 years based on 3-4 hours per day (actual 4.1
hours per day if you do the math), 800 lumens, Luminus says
14 Watts is equal to 60 Watts, suitable for indoor or outdoor
(outdoor must be dry), $18.79 CDN for 3 bulbs at Costco in 2002
& 2003. Luminus claims their energy efficient CFLs convert
about 50% of the electricity used into light (it's probably
more like 40-45%). I had one burn out very prematurely,
out of about 15 & other people have reported significantly
higher failure rates. This is a nice spiral shaped
bulb that is exactly the same size as some of the larger incandescent
bulbs (4 3/8" or 11.2 CM base to tip).
Starts instantly. Color temperature measured 2700° Kelvin
(yellow warm color). Initially I liked this model because of
it's small length which fits anywhere an incandescent bulb would
fit & instant start, but it might be a fire hazard. Costco
stopped carrying this model in the spring of 2003 & now
carries the 13 Watt model below. This 14 Watt CFL is CSA certified,
but not UL certified. I have had one safety
hazard report from another user of this bulb
that after 1-2 years of use, the
built in ballast started to burn up & smoke causing a possible
fire hazard. CSA
is looking into a possible recall of this bulb. The
numbers listed on the defective bulb are as follows: FCC ID:
OTZ-91535 CSA-206256 2814-DO2 Customer
145454) 14 Watt FLOOD (actually measures 13 Watts) with clear front & highly polished
reflector inside & out, with a 3 stem inner bulb. Turns
on more instantly that competitor (Commercial Electric) &
might be slightly brighter, but is slow to get bright. Rated
for 8,000 hours at 530 lumens. Can be used outdoors (down to
-23°C or -10°F) in dry locations (Commercial Electric
flood can be used in wet locations). $15.99 CDN for two at Costco.
Color temperature measured 2800° Kelvin. They probably overestimate
Wattage equivalent by saying 14 Watt = 65 Watt requiring 78%
less electricity than incandescent floods. Low manufacturers
estimate of 5 years based on 3-4 hours per day (actual math
if bulb last 8000 hours is 4.38 hours per day). Value &
functionality of this bulb initially seem very good. Bulb is
CSA certified, but not UL certified. I have had one safety
hazard report from another user of this bulb
that said, "We just built a new home and installed 12 of
the 14w flood bulbs indoors (item 145454). We have lived in
the house for a month now. We have had to replace 3 bulbs. They
all cracked at the base and the reflector glass broke and a
piece actually fell off onto the floor which is very dangerous
as we have a 9 month old. These bulbs burned for maybe 3-5 hours
a day for a month. The one bulb we put in to replace the one
where the glass fell on the floor lasted for 10 minutes before
it cracked. It still works but we are afraid of glass falling
again." I examined the unused bulb I still had in the package
& also found that the glass reflector was cracked (very
thin glass near base). I have
asked CSA to consider a recall of this bulb. I now see that Costco is selling a substitute (see item number
145453 below), so maybe the defective version is already off
the shelves. Customer
|Luminus (item 145453) 15 Watt FLOOD (actually measures 16 Watts) with clear
front & highly polished reflector inside & out with
a 4 stem u shaped inner bulb. Although this is a flood bulb,
light is not evenly distributed, there is a bright spot in middle.
Turns on more instantly that competitor (Commercial Electric)
& is brighter, but is slow to get bright from a cold start.
Rated for 8,000 hours at 600 lumens (noticeably brighter than
14 Watt bulb above). Can be used outdoors (down to -23°C
or -10°F) in dry locations (Commercial Electric flood can
be used in wet locations). $15.99 CDN for two floods at Costco.
Low manufacturers estimate of 5 years based on 3-4 hours per
day (actual math if bulb last 8000 hours is 4.38 hours per day).
Value & functionality of this bulb initially seems very
good. Bulb is CSA certified, but not UL certified. I've experienced
1 new bulb that simply didn't work at all. Customer
|Luminus (item 145464) 15 Watt FLOOD with flogged front glass reflector & a spiral inner bulb.
Rated for 8,000 hours at 725 lumens. Suitable for outdoor use
in dry location (down to -23°C or -10°F) (will start
at temperatures below this but may affect lamp life). Manufacturer
claims bulb can last up to 7 years (at 3.13 hours per day) &
is warranty for 3 years from date of purchase. Bulb cUL certified,
but not CSA certified.
Watt SPIRAL I haven't used this bulb myself,
but I received the following safety
hazard warning from another user "This
light bulb started to smell really badly and we feared it may
flame out. The model is 4001-F04." Customer
|Luminus (item 145458) 25 Watt SPIRAL shaped (actually 23 Watts) rated for 10,000 hours,
7 years based on 3.9 hours per day, 1600 lumens, quite tall
(6 3/16" or 15.7 CM base to tip) (too
tall for some fixtures). $20. CDN for 3 bulbs at Costco. Ok
for outdoor use in dry location. Color temperature measured
2600° Kelvin (yellow warm color). Bulb is CSA certified,
but not UL certified. Customer
Electric FLE10HT3/2/SW 10 Watts SPIRAL, soft white,
520 lumens, 8,000 hours, 4 5/16" or 11 CM tip to base in
height, guaranteed to last 5 years at 4 hours per day. Reliable
cold starting down to 5°F (-15°C). UL certified. Made
in China. $8.96 CDN for 3 bulbs in Wal-Mart.
|General Electric FLE13HT3/2/SW 13
Watts SPIRAL, soft white, 825 lumens, 8,000 hours,
4 13/16" or 12.2 CM tip to base in height, guaranteed to
last 5 years at 4 hours per day. Reliable cold starting down
to 5°F (-15°C). UL certified. Made in China.
|General Electric made in Hungary, 15
Watts = 60 Watts ELONGATED CANDLE shaped, 850 lumens, 12,000 hours, cool blue daylight
color of 6500° Kelvin (slightly
bluer than daylight), $21.99 CDN at Canadian Tire for one bulb.
I have not actually tried this one, but listed it because of
it's unusual blue colour temperature, which might be handy for
some lighting situations.
|General Electric made in Hungary, 15 Watts STEM shaped, Biax, 250 mA FLE15DBX/SPX27, UL code. FCC ID: BLD3431.
I haven't used this model, but received the following potential safety hazard comments & picture.
|General Electric made in Hungary, 20 Watts,
Biax, FCC ID: BLD 20 HLT. I haven't used this model, but received
the following potential safety
|General Electric FLE26HT3/2/SW 26
Watts SPIRAL, soft white, 1700 lumens, 8,000 hours,
5 1/16" or 13 CM tip to base height, guaranteed to last
5 years at 4 hours per day. Reliable cold starting down to 5°F
(-15°C). UL certified. Made in China. $8.96 CDN for 2 bulbs
|Globe Electric Company Inc.
Electric Company Inc. 11 Watts double STEM shaped, very
tall 5 15/16" or 15.1 CM (too tall for
many fixtures). Purchased at Wal-Mart for $6.48. CDN 660 lumens,
6000 hours, 5 years based on 3.3 hours per day. Color temperature
measured 2800° Kelvin. Bulb is not CSA
certified, but is UL certified.
|Globe Electric Company Inc. (#27514) 13 Watts = 60 Watts, SPIRAL but not quite as small as an incandescent bulb or the competition
(Luminus & Commercial Electric). This bulb is 5" or 12.6 CM base to tip. 10,000 hours (7 years based on average
of 3.9 hours per day), 780 lumens. Made in China by the
Fujian Joinluck Electronic Enterprise Co. Ltd. I found
this bulb annoying in that it takes almost 2 seconds to turn
on. Two bulbs for $9.96 CDN at Wal-Mart. I would recommend
the Commercial Electric 14 Watt bulb over this model. Bulb is
not CSA certified, but says it is UL certified (E197131). Note
that this CFL from Globe Electric has been found by Underwriters
Laboratories to not conform to their standards authorized by
the UL logo mark, due to a production error that occurred in
manufacturing which used a non-compliant internal component.
UL says this bulb "may
pose a potential fire and electric shock
The Electrical Safety Authority has had a recall too. As does
Fire Marshal's Office.
Several users of this CFL sent me pictures
& made comments about this CFL. If you have
any of these bulbs in service, take them back to the store you
bought them at for a refund or exchange, or contact Globe Electric
at email@example.com or phone (514) 694-0444 (ext 151)(Montreal Canada) for a 2 for
|Globe Electric Company Inc. (Montreal), 15
Watt = 60Watt, SPIRAL but very tall,
10,000 hours, 7 years warranty based on 3.9 hours per day, 900
lumens, green package bought at Home Depot I think for
about $7., manufacturer says color temperature of 2700°
K, I measured 2800° Kelvin, CRI of 82,
made in China. Bulb is not CSA certified, but is UL certified.
One person reported: One
leg was totally blackened and deformed. Smell was horrible.
It was in a floor standing, open fixture. Dave from Kanata Ontario
Electric Company Inc. 23 Watt = 60 Watt, SPIRAL pictures & comments.
|Globe Electric Company Inc. (#08303) 25
Watt = 100 Watts, SPIRAL but very
tall (6" or 15.2 CM base to tip)(too tall
for many fixtures), 10,000 hours (7 years based on average of
3.9 hours per day), 1500 lumens. Color temperature 2700°K,
CRI 82, made in China. Bulb is not CSA certified, but is UL
|Globe Electric Company Inc. 12/20/26 Watts tri-lite type. I have not used this bulb, but received the following
comments. "This is about 3 tri-lite style bulbs I use in
the living room table lamps. The model is Globe 3-Intensity
12W/20W/26W. The first suddenly stopped working despite being
rarely used. Not surprisingly it was the electronics that failed.
Both transistors and the fuse were bad (The fuse would have
blown when the transistors shorted). A trip to the electronics
store and $3 later it was working again. I have another of the
same model that flickers on the low setting. I do not feel like
trying to troubleshoot that one. The third one (Which has seen
the most use) is working perfectly. I would say they are around
a year old at most. I am not too impressed with this model and
will pick a different brand next time. I also have 6 of those
recalled 13W ones that I need to get replaced and a 26W 'dimmable'
one that buzzes like crazy when dimmed. Overall, not a great
|Rona ultra mini 23 Watt (bulbs
averaged 19 Watts after several minutes), 1600 lumens (probably
lower), SPIRAL, 4 7/8" or 98 CM tall, 10,000 hours, 7 year warranty, color temperature
"cool white" or about 4100°K which is a nice color half way between incandescent
& daylight possibly good for reading, cUL approved, made
in China. Minimum operating temperature is -15°C or 5°F.
Packaging & bulb seem extra fragile & I broke one bulb
before I even opened the package. $17.99 for four bulbs Nov.
|Sylvania CF9EL/G25 9 Watt Globe type good for bathroom
vanities, equivalent to 40 Watt. cUL certified, 495 lumens,
8,000 hours, lasts 7 years (at 3 hours per day). Temperature
range 0°F (-18°C) to 100°F (40°C), color temperature 3000°K, CRI 82. Made in China. Comes on
dimly at first which may not be a bad thing for bathrooms at
a night. $6.99 for 1 bulb Oct. 2007
|Sylvania CF13EL/SuperMini is a 13
Watt SPIRAL (measures 12 Watts), 3500°K (Sylvania calls it "Daylight Extra") which is actually
nowhere near daylight color but a nice in between color that is not too yellow or too blue. 8000 hours (based on 3 hours
per day), 7 years, 850 lumens, 0°F (-18°C) to 100°F
(40°C), made in China, 4 3/16" or 11.7 CM tall, some
bulbs flicker when first turned on & cause electronic interference,
cUL approved, does not have vent holes in ballast base like
model below, 2 bulbs for $5.99 Nov. 2007.
is a 13 Watt SPIRAL. 3000°K. cUL approved, has vent holes in
ballast base. I did not try this bulb but received the following safety hazard warnings with comments
& pictures from other users.
Sylvania Deluxe EL13W 13 Watt double STEM type, burned out after
6 months of very light duty use in vestibule enclosed
fixture. 5 1/2" or 14.0 CM tall, may
not fit in some fixtures. Bulb is CSA & UL certified.
|Sylvania SRS-13W is a 13 Watt SPIRAL.
I did not try this bulb, but received the following comments
about it. "We've had four SRS-13W Mini Spirals fail after
brief (one month or less) use. The last one became very hot
near one end of the coil. The first time I advised Sylvania
they sent replacements. Now that its happened again with the
replacements I'm not sure if I want Sylvania products."
EL20W 20 Watt triple STEM type, burned
out probably prematurely. 6 3/16" or 15.6
CM tall. CSA & UL certified. A comment from another user
of this bulb made the follow possible safety
hazard warning "Sylvania EL20W lamp overheat
at one end of the tube, resulting in some melting of plastic
and a little smoke. I caught it quickly, so I don't know whether
or not it would have become more serious." Another comment
"One of the bulbs started smoking at the base. It is a
Sylvania CF 20EL/830 model bulb. David"
|Sylvania Deluxe EL23W 23 Watt triple STEM type, bulb burned out in
a few months when on a pull chain. 6 7/8" or 17.4 CM tall, won't fit in many fixtures. Bulb is CSA &
|Sylvania (Osram) CF30EL is a 30 Watt
SPIRAL. Is 4 7/8" or 12.4 CM
tall which is nice & compact for such a
bright light (claims to be 14% brighter than a 100 Watt incandescent
bulb). Bulb is UL approved. Claims to be 2000 lumens in brightness
at 3000° Kelvin. Life claim 6000 hours or 5 years warranty
(3.3 hours per day). Made in China.
by OSL of Mississauga L5S 1S4) & manufactured by Chuan
Shih Industrial Co. Ltd.,
in CHUAN HUA, Taiwan.15 Watt SPIRAL but tall 5" or 12.7 CM (too large for some fixtures),
red box bought at Home Depot I think for about $7., color temperature
3000°K, 10,000 hours, this light burned out (became
intermittent) after only a few months (several hundred
hours) of use over the stove. Here are pictures
& comments from another user. Bulb is not CSA certified,
but is UL certified. Pricemark bulbs can be
a safety hazard
by OSL of Mississauga L5S 1S4) & manufactured by Chuan
Shih Industrial Co. Ltd.,
in CHUAN HUA, Taiwan. 20 Watt spiral but tall 5 3/16" or 13.2 CM (too large for some fixtures), red box bought at
Home Depot I think for about $7., 10,000 hours, color temperature
3000°K. Bulb is not CSA certified, but is UL certified. This bulb burned out (stopped working) long before (several
hundred hours) it's rated number of hours (10,000). Pricemark bulbs can be a safety
hazard Here are pictures &
comments from another user.
by OSL of Mississauga L5S 1S4) & manufactured by Chuan
Shih Industrial Co. Ltd.,
in CHUAN HUA, Taiwan. 23 Watt = 90 Watt, SPIRAL but tall 5
7/8" or 14.9 CM (too large for some fixtures),
red box bought at Home Depot I think for about $7., 10,000 hours,
manufacturer says color temperature is 3000°K but I measured
2700 Kelvin, ballast turns yellow with heat after awhile. Bulb
is not CSA certified, but is UL certified. I had one burn out
prematurely. Pricemark bulbs can be a safety
hazardHere is what a Pricemark
bulb looks like when it's gone up in smoke. Here are pictures &
comments from another user.
Pro-Image (TM) by Reusable Technology Inc. (USA) made in China.
This is a 3-way (trilite) SPIRAL
20/11/26 Watt bulb for trilite fixtures purchased
at Canadian Tire on sale for $21.99 CDN for a package of two
(Pro-3000) ($11. per bulb) (regular price $24.99 CDN for 2).
The manufacturer says the 20 Watts = 75 Watts incandescent or
1250 lumens (but it really uses 18 Watts), the 11 Watts = 50
Watts incandescent or 660 lumens (it really does use 11 Watts),
the 26 Watts = 105 Watts incandescent or 1700 lumens (but it
really uses 22 Watts & is less bright than claimed at the
brightest setting). There is very little difference in brightness
between the 20 & 26 Watt settings, probably because they
are really 18 & 22 Watts. Note that unlike tradition 3-way
(trilite) bulbs that have low/medium/high order settings, this
one orders them medium/low/high, which I don't like as much.
The package unfortunately comes with two bulbs each with a quite
different colour temperature, so if you are buying bulbs for
a pair of trilite fixtures in your bedroom or living room &
you want the colour temperatures to match, you will have to
buy two sets. The packaging says that one bulb is called "soft
white" (model SS3-105-15) (with the silver coloured screw
base) & is about 3000° Kelvin or about the same warm
colour as a normal incandescent bulb (my measurement said 2900°
Kelvin) & the other bulb they call "brite white"
(model SU3-105-16) (gold coloured screw base) is more bluish/white
& my measurement was 4000° Kelvin or what some florescent
tube manufacturers might call "daylight" colour, although
daylight color is actually 5600° Kelvin. The manufacturer
claims this colour temperature of 4000° Kelvin (they call
it "clear color technology") is better for reading
& hobbies (I have my doubts). It's unfortunate that when
colour coding the bulb base, the manufacturer didn't make the
warmer "soft white" bulb use the warmer gold colour
base. The bulbs are 5 3/4" or 14.6 CM
tall which is taller than the incandescent 3-way bulb it replaces,
but not nearly as tall as the Lights Of America 3-way bulb.
You may have to buy a 1" taller harp for your fixture before
this bulb will fit. I found that occasionally this bulb
flickered dimly for some time after it was turned off & I've had 3 other people report similar flickering of Pur-lite
bulbs after they are turned off. The bulb is UL certified but
not CSA certified & manufacturer claims that it has an average
life expectancy of 10,000 hours or 7 years if used 3.9 hours
each day, but only warranties it for 1 year.
I found that the soft white bulb burned out after 8 months of
use at no more than 10 minutes use per day. Furthermore, while
the bulb showed no visible signs of burning, the base
was extremely hot after it had burned out, which I consider
to be a safety hazard.
Pro-Image (TM) by Reusable Technology Inc. (USA) made in China.
This is a 15 Watt SPIRAL bulb purchased at Canadian Tire on sale for $14.99
CDN for a package of four (Pro-9000X) ($3.75 CDN per bulb) (regular
price $17.99 CDN for 4). The bulbs are a mixture of two different
colour temperatures of 2900°& 4000° Kelvin (see
description above for 3-way bulb). The bulb is UL certified
but not CSA certified & manufacturer claims that it has
an average life expectancy of 10,000 hours or 7 years if used
3.9 hours each day, but only warranties it for 1 year.
I have not personally bought & tried this model bulb, but
others have provided user
comments including pictures of a possible safety hazard for model SSX-070-00. I've had 3 other people report flickering of Pur-lite
bulbs after they are turned off.
Pro-Image (TM) by Reusable Technology Inc. (USA) made in China.
This is a 26 Watt SPIRAL bulb purchased at Canadian Tire on sale for $16.99
CDN for a package of three (Pro-9500X) ($5.66 CDN per bulb)
(regular price $19.99 CDN for 3). The bulbs are a mixture of
two different colour temperatures of 2900° & 4000°
degrees Kelvin (see description above for 3-way bulb). The bulbs
are 5 3/4" or 14.6 CM tall which is taller
than the incandescent bulb it replaces, but not quite as tall
as most competitors florescent bulb of similar Wattage. The
bulb is UL certified but not CSA certified & manufacturer
claims that it has an average life expectancy of 10,000 hours
or 7 years if used 3.9 hours each day, but only warranties
it for 1 year. I have not personally bought & tried
this model bulb, but I did receive some safety
hazard warnings from other users & I've
had 3 other people report flickering of Pur-lite bulbs
after they are turned off. User
comments including pictures
|Lights Of America model 2213 LPF (328) 13 Watt FLOOD.
I haven't used this bulb myself, but received the following safety hazard warning from another user &
Of America model 2215-2VP, purchased in USA 15 Watt 4
U shaped STEMS which are taller than a standard
incandescent bulb (this bulb is 5 1/16" or 12.8 CM base to tip) which may be too tall for some fixtures,
good to -20°F (-29°C), 820 Lumens, 8000 hours, 6 year
(based on 3.65 hours per day). Color temperature measured 2800°
Kelvin. Bulb is CSA & UL certified.
|Lights Of America model 2425-2VP, purchased
in USA & says "made in U.S.A." California, 25
Watt SPIRAL bulb but very tall (5.75" or 14.7 CM base to tip)(won't fit in some fixtures), 1,600 lumens,
10,000 hours, 7 year bulb (based on average 3.9 hours per day).
Color temperature measured 2600° Kelvin. Bulb is CSA certified,
but not UL certified. I received the following safety hazard warnings & comments
from other users.
|Lights Of America model 2433, purchased in
USA at Wal-Mart for $9.58 U.S. (about $13.80 CDN). 3
way (tri-lite) 13/23/32 Watt SPIRAL bulb for trilight
fixtures. 13 Watts = 50 Watts incandescent or 800 lumens, 23
Watts = 100 Watts incandescent or 1450 lumens, 32 Watts = 150
Watts incandescent or 2600 lumens. 10,000 hours, made in the
U.S.A. Minimum starting temperature 20° F or -7°C. Unfortunately
this bulb was so extremely tall (6 7/8" or 17.5 CM) that it would not fit in the fixture without buying
a 2" taller harp for the fixture. The incandescent 50/100/150
bulb that was in the fixture was 5" (12.7 CM) tall. Bulb
is CSA certified, but not UL certified. Unfortunately
this bulb stopped functioning less than 1 hour after installation.
|Lights Of America model
2424, 25/60 Watts.
I haven't used this bulb myself, but received the following safety hazard warning "We had two
in one lamp...each 25w/60w. Their number was 2425 and they are
both UL/CSA. Last night one of the bulbs started smoking really
bad...gave off a horrible odour...smelled like a strong "skunk"
smell. We caught it before a fire started, but the plastic base
of the bulb had melted and the glass turned black. The other
bulb in that lamp looks as though it will do the same thing
soon...dark black where the glass meets the base. VERY SCARY!
We can't figure out if these are bad bulbs or if it has something
to do with the lamp. The lamp can take up to 60w in each socket.
|IKEA 20 Watts I did not try this bulb but received the following safety
hazard warning from another user. "Recently
an IKEA 20 watt bulb burned out, got very hot, and started smoking
(open recessed cans). I was worried about a fire hazard too.
It only smoked and got very hot--I was concerned what might
have happened if I hadn't seen it. Mark from Baltimore.
|IKEA 11 Watts I did not try this bulb but received the following safety
hazard warning from another user. I just burned
myself bad enough on an Ikea screw-in CF bulb to start raising
a blister on my fingertip. The bulb had flickered mildly (but
enough to be noticed as unusual) for about 15 minutes, and then
went out. I went to unscrew it and was burned the instant I
touched it. There is no visible heat damage, but it has a faint
classic overheated electronics smell. The bulb is imprinted
on the ballast with: 2P211/E26 183ma 600lm 11W AC120V/60Hz 0345
1103 I was astonished because I have been replacing my incandescent
bulbs with CFs in part for conservation, but to a very large
extent because I consider them safer than tungsten bulbs (a
friend had a bad closet fire when a comforter fell against a
tungsten bulb). I'll admit I'm now at a loss with what to do
with the panoply of CF bulbs throughout my house... Major loss
of faith here... Charles
Feit Electric (Conserv-Energy, phone 1866-326-BULB) model CE18TM/D/6 (Costco U.S. item #238653 $9.99 for 6 bulbs Oct. 2010) 18 Watt SPIRAL (= to 75 Watts incandescent). Colour temperature is 5800°K (another part of box says 6500°K daylight which is rather bluish). Rated for 8,000 hours at 1170 lumens. Two year warranty. Operating
range -23°C to 60°C (-10°F to 140°F). Height 4 5/8"
or 11.7 CM which is rather tall. Comes on instantly. Made in
China. Bulb is cULus certified. Uses lower amounts of mercury & lead than European RoHS (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) & ENERGY STAR standards.
By Doug Hembruff.
First published May 3/2003, last updated November 9/2007.
Additional reading at http://members.shaw.ca/wiggie/Compact_Flourescent_Lights.html