Mood Lighting: Get Quality Light from Your CFL Bulb

February 25, 2011 at 5:57 pm Leave a comment

Next up in our on-going series about energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL bulbs), we discuss the issue of quality. (Read our past posts on CFLS.) While CFLs use much less energy to produce the same amount of light as traditional, incandescent bulbs, as they have become more popular the chorus of consumer complaints has grown wider. One common criticism is that CFLs put off a dimmer or less appealing light than incandescents.

CFLs don’t always mimic the “shade” or “mood” of light that incandescent bulbs give off – for this reason, they are sometimes perceived as less bright or less appealing. The fact is that CFLs are available in a wide range of shades, and you can find one that suits your needs.  In fact, in a Popular Mechanics test conducted  in 2007,  the panel preferred the light put off by all seven of the CFL bulbs tested to the light put off by a common incandescent bulb.

In general, most resources on CFL lighting recommend using bulbs labeled “soft light” for most purposes (for outdoor lighting, recessed lighting and specialty lights, other shades may be more appropriate). “Soft light” CFLs come in all wattages, and the term means that the bulb will give off a warmer, more “yellow” light that many consumers prefer. Other common lighting shades are “bright light” and “daylight” – at Energy Star’s webpage on color and mood, and at TCP’s product website, you can view pictures of the different lighting moods and their ideal usage within the home. Another common piece of advice – if you’re finding it difficult to read under the light of your CFL, try upping the wattage a little bit – a 20-watt CFL bulb should allow you to read with ease.

Wondering which bulbs are right for you? Check out the results of the Popular Mechanics test we mentioned above. Along with rating the quality of the light, they note which bulbs are ideal for reading and other activities, and include pricing. And get in touch with us to let them know how they work for you!

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