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Customer Discussions > Home Improvement forum

dimmable CFL light bulbs

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Showing 1-25 of 70 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 18, 2008 11:52:28 AM PST
Otto says:
Do they work? I tried a couple of CFLs that I got locally, however when attempting to dim them, they flicker a bit and then go out. This makes the bulbs utterly worthless to me.

If CFL's are not dimmable, then I'm going back to incandescent and that's that. However, I see some dimmable bulbs here and there, but all the ones on Amazon look rather shady.

Where in the heck can one get dimmable CFL's that actually work, don't flicker, and don't buzz?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2008 1:28:08 PM PST
Arp says:
I bought 7 of these through Amazon:

3 are in a dimmable chandelier over our dining room table. The 4th bulb has to remain a 40W incandescent due to clearance issues. Another is in a dimmable bedroom overhead light. And a 5th is in use in a standard lamp, non-dimmable.

All are working fine except one in the dining room chandelier started to flicker on and off and had to be replaced. No buzzing or flickering otherwise.

The minimum dim is not all that dim, looks like 33% to 50% light output.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2008 1:55:24 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 18, 2008 2:05:25 PM PST
Dave says:
yes these ULA ones on Amazon really are dimmable and work.

I was using a light sensor switch socket, and didn't realize that I could not use non-dimmable cfl. All of the regular "do not use with dimmer" cfl burned out within days.

I purchased these U Lighting America bulbs thru Amazon about 3 weeks ago. I was kind of concerned because of the huge price difference - normally $10 a dimmable bulb vs. these but I figured worst case I'd end up with regular CFL. They are still working fine for me.

Really a fantastic bargain..... I can't understand why everyone else is charging so much for dimmable cfl bulbs. wish ULA made dimmable reflector bulbs.... (found this posting while looking for a reasonable price dimmable cfl reflector) I think I'm stuck paying a ridiculous price for those.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2008 4:34:39 PM PST
RJW says:
I bought 12 dimmable CFLs through one of the Amazon resellers recently. They work perfectly. They are 23 watt bulbs, 100 w equivalent. Using them side by side with incadenscents I can't tell the difference (make sure you buy 2700 degree color temperature bulbs). The dimming range is slightly different but it works just fine.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2008 7:25:03 PM PST
Also HD (in No. VA) now sells 3W candelabra dimmables They work too. $6.50 or so each.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2008 9:29:00 AM PDT
Jose Cuervo says:
Are you using a truly dimmable CFL? Are you using a mechanical or electronic switch? The CFL needs constant power and a mechanical switch would provide this.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 13, 2008 9:11:17 PM PDT
o-namae desu says:
Most CFL's aren't dimmable, but if they say so *on the package*, then they are. My personal favorite brand is not cheap, but works: Philips "Marathon". (I use Lutron "Diva" dimmers, the standard 600W. incandescent type.) I have no choice other than the Philips Marathon at my local home center store, because reflector-style bulbs for ceiling cans in *dimmable* CFL aren't common. (Supposedly GE makes a "Genura" reflector CFL bulb that is dimmable and has a slightly different color, but I have only seen a non-dimmable one.) Also, FYI typically you get 4 levels of brightness, not a true dimming slope. If you use a "home controls" type of system rather than standard dimmer switches, tune the dimmest setting to 25%. A quick catalog search says that Philips makes a variety of Marathon bulbs; you want only 2 of them: "Marathon Dimmable" (23W., parallel U-shaped tubes, 6 5/8" long) or "Marathon Dimmable Flood" (20W., R30 or R40 size, reflector housing).

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2008 2:48:56 PM PDT
Nina Cornett says:
Can you give me the specs so that I can find the same bulbs? I need R-40 dimmable floodlights for recessed fixtures. The best I've been able to find are 90, not 100 watts, and I can't find any specification relating to brightness. I understand that the range in that is 2700 K (warm and cozy but less bright) to 6500K (full spectrum like sunlight and appearing brighter but with less glare). I also understand that there is a color rating and that you want 60 or higher.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2008 2:52:39 PM PDT
Nina Cornett says:
What type of CFLs are these? I need dimmable R40 floodlights for recessed fixtures and I would like the highest wattage and lumens I can get. If that's what you got, then please give me the spec, title, item #, or whatever I will need to find them on amazon.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2008 12:13:29 PM PDT
Snowbrocade says:
Hi all:

what about the issue of buzzing when dimming? Can anyone recommend a CFL that is quiet?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2008 12:59:30 PM PDT
I have a switch in my utility room thats not a dimmer, but is triggered on by motion sensor, and goes off after it senses no motion for a while. CFL's lasted a few days with that switch.
Would a CFL marked 'dimmable' work in these situations?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 24, 2008 5:05:05 PM PDT
CFL's should not be used with motion sensor unless they came equiped with them. CFL's generally need a few minutes to reach full intensity. Lights last longer when they aren't switched on and off excessively. I do have fluorescent motion sensors but I set the minimum on time to 5 minutes to reduce unnecessary cycling.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 24, 2008 5:30:45 PM PDT
PPP, thanks for the info on the motion sensor. Which motion sensor could I purchase which goes with CFLs?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2008 2:38:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 26, 2008 2:40:40 PM PDT
Any x-10 users out there know what works with those dimmers, appliance module, etc.? We've had it for too long to go back now but I am going through too many CFL's and have found a batch of GE Reveals at a clearance price (.48/4 pk) to get by while I research this and here y'all are...

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2008 11:51:02 AM PDT
Please be careful with the CFLs - they have significant toxic (mercury) content, and must be disposed of as hazardous waste (not in the landfill).

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2008 12:42:38 AM PDT
G. Himes says:
Most dimmables do work quite well. I think my first was nearly 10 years ago, and were several Philips that had "Dimmable" clearly labeled on their square bases. They still work, even through 4 moves. I think they are rated 26w and are freaking bright at full and dim to about 15% at the lowest, but I think this varies by the dimmer used (some reuire over 100 watts of draw to work right and tend to drop off rapidly if below that rating, so you'd require 6 dimmable cfls to get some dimmers to work right >.<
When I moved into my new house, all the fans and wall sconces were hooked up to dimmers, so I replaced all the incandescents with the ULA bulbs from California, and they work perfectly. The sconces do tend to buzz, but again, that's actually a function of the dimmer switches used, which seem to want more draw.

One warning that doesn't seem to appear much is: It can actually be dangerous to use non-dimmable cfls with dimmer circuits. The old ones (cfls and dimmers) tended not to work well together at all and could and would catch fire or blow up a component (my mother without thinking switched one into a chandelier dimmer and was quite surprised when it started burning -- this was about 18 years or so ago). I believe the new ones are protected against this, but I'm not willing to waste the money or test my luck by experimenting.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2008 7:31:58 AM PDT
Same as with fluorescent lights people have in the kitchens, closets, etc. In CFLs, the amount of mercury is about the size of the tip of a pen. Check the EPA web site for proper disposal techniques (try not to use vacuum, ventilate if possible). The energy usage of incandescents arguably puts more mercury (and other harmful toxins) into the atmosphere. Be informed, but don't be paranoid.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2008 10:17:36 AM PDT
J. Smith says:
I bought 60 dimmable cfl for a building that we have. I sent all of them back after 3 days. 24 had totally quit, 10 more was flickering. I would turn the lights on full bright for 5 minutes before I used an electronic dimmer to dim them down to 50%. also as an interesting note the dimmable cfl do use less electricity when at full bright than they do at 50% I put an amp meter on the string of bulbs. full bright 2.5 amp 50% 3.5 amp standard bulbs pulled 9.5 amp

the product is a great idea but the qualilty is not there yet

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2008 12:05:03 PM PDT
Lost Gecko says:
to J. Smith,
Which brand of dimmable cfl bulbs did you buy? Which store (or online seller) did you buy them from? Was this recently?

From reading the messages on this forum, I get the impression that some of the current brands/models work OK, and some do not.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2008 3:34:46 PM PDT
J. Smith says:
I bought the Westinghouse dimmable cfl on 12/20/2007 from
returned them a few days later

I bought the GE dimmable cfl in Janurary from a local store and returned them a week later
I am currently trying several different bulbs to see if any will last
currently trying TCP and Neptun Light

I have not give up trying different bulbs yet because when I find one that works I have over 180 bulbs to change out

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2008 8:46:17 PM PDT
Where you need bright light, like the kitchen I don't dim. In the dinning room and bed rooms I do like to dim and I have found the the cold cathodes work the best. The dimming range is from 1%-100%. The only set back is that cold cathodes max out at 8 Watts. They are equivalent to a 40watt incandescent. Hot cathodes just don't dim very well and don't last that long. They use heat to excite the florescent. The cold cathode last 18000 hours and it uses high voltage to excite the florescent which makes dimming easy. Cold cathodes are the same as the lights in LCD screens. Litetronics is the only brand that has cold cathodes at the moment. Stick with 2800K or 2200K because if you go any higher they get very gray when they are dimmed. The 8Watt cold cathodes take about a minute to reach full brightness. In my can lights I have air tight trims that have a built in reflector so I don' have to buy par lights. Standard a19 bulbs is all you have to put in them. I bought the trims at Home Depot. They have an 1-1/2 black or white baffle and polished AL on the top 2/3's. Where I don't dim I just use a 10 watt Hot Cathode CPF 3000K. They look just like 75Watt Halogens. The 2200K cold cathodes look like real bright candles and work great in the dinning room, as they are dimmed they still keep their candle color.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 29, 2008 2:06:10 PM PDT
We have recessed can flood lights in the ceiling all over our house (R30 bulbs). We use halogen in most areas as we like the clean yet not too blue light halogen gives and it has an excellent CRI (color rendering index). Although they burn hotter than regular incandescents they are more efficient, but not nearly as efficient as CFL's. To keep temps in the kitchen down I installed dimmable R30 CFL floods. They are not common, only a few companies make them. The model I got was Neptune and they work with standard dimmers, no digital dimmer necessary like on some. In short, they suck. Their dim range is very narrow as when you get down past like half on the dimmer the shut off. Plus they've burnt out in about half the time the should have. Steer clear of Neptune. And I'd be skeptical about using CFL's in ANY situation that you want dimming as CFL lighting, even at 2800-3000K color temp is just so artficial compared to halogen. And it seems most areas where you will use dimmable lights are like formal dining room, etc. You want good quality light there. Put CFL's in areas of the house (closest, garage, storage room, office) where lighting quality isn't a big issue from an interior design standpoint.

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2008 4:46:25 PM PDT
Most CFLs are not designed for frequent on-off switching, which also makes them a bad choice for lighting circuits activated by motion sensors. If you would like to use an energy efficient 'bulb' (in the lighting industry they are called 'lamps') then i would recommend either a cold-cathode fluorescent or a LED bulb. There are several manufacturers that offer cold-cathode bulbs in 3 or 5 watt varieties, which should be comparable with standard 40 or 60 watt incandescent bulbs respectively. New 8 watt cold-cathode bulbs are just coming to the market and will be 75 watt equivalents.

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2008 4:55:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 3, 2008 4:56:38 PM PDT
Regular CFLs can not be used on dimming circuits and I do not recommend any dimmable CFLs currently on the market. If you want energy efficient dimming bulbs, search for cold-cathode bulbs. Currently TCP and Litetronics brand cold-cathode bulbs, though I'm sure there are other companies out there as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 1, 2008 9:49:16 AM PDT
Diddy says:
I purchased 6 GE dimmable CFL flood lamps to replace the existing incandescent lamps from Amazon 2 months ago. I have several "CAN LIGHTS" in my house. The dimmable GE lights do not work ...They flecker and hiss noise and they will only dim just a bit or they go out until you turn the dimmer switch on max. I am replacing these w/ the old incandescent bulbs.....By the way I paid around $14 each!
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Discussion in:  Home Improvement forum
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Initial post:  Feb 18, 2008
Latest post:  Jan 8, 2013

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