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Thread: compact fluorescent enclosed fixtures

  1. #1
    Enlightened
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    Default compact fluorescent enclosed fixtures

    I noticed that most of the compact fluorescent bulb state on the package "not for use in totally enclosed or recessed fixtures." What exactly do they mean by a totally enclosed fixture? For example my bathroom light is a frequent use light but the fixture has a glass cover on it, would that be considered enclosed. Fluorescent bulbs produce much less heat than an ordinary incadescent, so shouldn't be a problem about heat or fire hazard. I remember Home Depot used to carry the Panasonic compact fluorescent bulbs which are approved for totally enclosed fixtures. They seemed to have discontinued them. Are there any bulbs that can safely be used in enclosed fixtures? Thanks. Any comments appreciated.

  2. #2

    Default Re: compact fluorescent enclosed fixtures

    I replaced a couple hundred bulbs in my care facility with fluorescents. The light quality is excellent and I'm saving a lot of money. The color temp that I went with is 2700 Kelvin and it is a very warm, pleasing white.

    I asked the bulb maker if I could put their fluorescent bulbs in our kitchen hood...they are enclosed in a thick glass jar for safety. The bulb maker said no problem and this is a very hot environment. It worked fine until about a month ago and they both died. They lasted about 8 months and were the first fluorescents to die on me. Not too bad.

    I plan to put fluorescents in my shower when I get around to it. I would not buy from Home Depot. I'd suggest going to a place that specializes in bulbs and can get you the color that you want.

    Good luck,
    Dave

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* jar3ds's Avatar
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    Default Re: compact fluorescent enclosed fixtures

    lol... this is exactly what I'm researching right now ...

    I was curious to why the packages say not for enclosed environment... it doesn't really seem like it would matter....

    i did notice as a side note that these bulbs say a 10% loss in lumens if the screw part of the bulb is up?

  4. #4
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: compact fluorescent enclosed fixtures

    Thanks for the replies. The Warm White or Soft White are the most common color temperatures 2700-3000K. Cool White, Daylight, Full Spectrum are a little more rare. But I found that the Soft/Warm white are the best choice around the house. I actually replaced the bulb for the stove underhood with fluorescent, made for appliance use (Lights of America brand), works fine. I'll look into places that sell bulbs and see if they have what I need.

    Another thing they put on the package is not to use where it gets exposed to water, that I can understand. The 10% light loss when bulb is up (ie table lamp) they put that in fine print on the back. I guess its the design of the bulb since the base covers some of the light.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: compact fluorescent enclosed fixtures

    I think the restriction to non-enclosed fixtures is the build-up of heat. Of course they get much less hot than the old incandescents, but the electronics in the CFL will have a shorter lifetime as their temperature goes up. The one good thing about incandescents is they are simple. No electronics.

    I use nothing but CFL. I have a 15 watt CFL in the kitchen range hood and now that's the brightest place in the house. This light is not enclosed.

    Well there is one place I wouldn't put a CFL. There is a burned out incandescent light bulb in the oven, and it's going to stay there. If I ever decide to use the oven, I can use my Arc AAA EDC.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* jar3ds's Avatar
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    Default Re: compact fluorescent enclosed fixtures

    do you know? Or know of a place that lists the color temperatures for the cool bulbs and day/white light that are for sale at home depot? The packaging just says 'cool' or 'white' and doesn't give the acually K readings ...

    Thanks for any help you can offer!

  7. #7

    Default Surprise.

    They are 6500 Kelvin colour temperature according to the home depot website.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: compact fluorescent enclosed fixtures

    As has been stated, compact fluorescents do generate less heat, but are more sensitive to heat. If they are operated too hot, the life is shortened.

    I have used a few in totally enclosed fixtures. But, they are small bulbs (13 watt), and are horizontal. Using a large (>20W) bulb in a enclosed fixture, especially if base up, will almost certainly lead to really short life...

    I've read other opinions, but my experience with about 20 of the Home Depot Commercial Electric lamps has been very good so far (about 3 years).
    Jim

  9. #9

    Default Re: compact fluorescent enclosed fixtures

    Cracking open the ballast of expired CFLs reveals some electrolytic capacitors that can dry up with heat, and I guess the insulating dope on transformer windings could fail too. Everything else looks pretty heat-resistant.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* jar3ds's Avatar
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    Default Re: compact fluorescent enclosed fixtures

    Quote Originally Posted by brickbat
    As has been stated, compact fluorescents do generate less heat, but are more sensitive to heat. If they are operated too hot, the life is shortened.

    I have used a few in totally enclosed fixtures. But, they are small bulbs (13 watt), and are horizontal. Using a large (>20W) bulb in a enclosed fixture, especially if base up, will almost certainly lead to really short life...

    I've read other opinions, but my experience with about 20 of the Home Depot Commercial Electric lamps has been very good so far (about 3 years).
    i just bought a 3 lamp track lighting system... Inside each 'reflector' (where the bulb screws in) around the opening is a plastic black ring... I removed this ring because black sucks in light rather than reflecting it... with the black ring gone its white under the ring...

    however, i wonder if its there to help keep heat down? I'm about to run some fairly large CFL upside down (base up) inside of these white reflectors... will be interesting to see how long they last

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* yuandrew's Avatar
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    Default Re: compact fluorescent enclosed fixtures

    I think that black "ring" is just a baffle to help diffuse the light.

    I just looked at my collection of CFLs that I have in the cabinet over the washing machine and most of the cheaper Chinese ones (TopLite and Sunpack) I got for free from Asian Supermarkets clearly say "Do not use in downlights or enclosed fixtures" on the box.

    There are two that don't mention anything about use in recessed lights which are made by MaxLite and Greenlite but the Greenlite one says "Outdoor use requires an enclosed fixture" (most likely to keep the rain off)

    I have one made by Philips; an old EarthLight Dimmable that says "This product is appropriate for use in recessed cans but use in recessed cans or totally enclosed fixtures may result in shortened life"

    Above that, it says the same thing Greenlite says about using CFLs outside "Outdoor use requires an enclosed fixture"


    I've read here that certain "Commercial Electric" models sold at Home Depot worked very well in enclosed fixtures. However, I think Home Depot stopped selling that brand; they replaced all the Commercial Electric CFLs at my Home Depot with a different brand; I think it's NuVision or something like that.

    Commercial Electric brand CFLs were made by the Japanese based firm TCP (Technical Consumer Products) and there are several online retailers that sell TCP bulbs so one could look at those as an alternative.

    I've heard some Panasonic Gen IV Compact Fluorescents (the ones with bare tubes; not the ones with the diffuser over the tubes) can be used in enclosed fixtures as well.

    I remember during the Power Crises, the same Home Depot sold many different brands of CFLs; Lights of America, Philips, MaxLite, Panasonic, Sunpack, TCP, and maybe two others I don't remember but now they seem to have their own brand.

  12. #12

    Default Re: compact fluorescent enclosed fixtures

    Well I have had the same concerns myself. I like to run mine in open fixtures with the bulb facing up. IE table lamps in the living room.

    So what can you do if help with this.

    1. Run the smallest one you can. That has been written.
    2. Modify the fixture to get more air moving in and out of it. Not always pracitcal.
    3. Modify the bulb. Find a way to get the heat off of the base, update to better parts.
    4. Buy good bulbs that have some testing behind them that can take the heat. Anyone have a good link to add to this? This may cost more than running the old bulb.
    5. Do nothing and inspect the bulb at least once a week and look for failure.

    Good luck

  13. #13

    Default Re: compact fluorescent enclosed fixtures

    I noticed that most of the compact fluorescent bulb state on the package "not for use in totally enclosed or recessed fixtures." What exactly do they mean by a totally enclosed fixture?

    *No air flow in or out.

    Are there any bulbs that can safely be used in enclosed fixtures?

    *I believe they exist, but don't know of any special source for them. I think it's not that it's dangerous, but that the heat will kill the electronics in the base, and then you'll be unhappy about how quick that expensive bulb died.

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