How to calculate comparable CFL/incandescent wattage?

31 07 2008

I was researching lights today to make sure that it would be bright enough at a client’s hallway when I came across this little web page.

It seems that the rule of thumb is to multiply CFL wattage by approximately 5 for an equivalent incandescent wattage output.

For a primer on which types of bulbs go in which types of fixtures, click on the big button that says “choose a light guide” from our friends at Energy Star.

When purchasing a CFL, you need to pay attention to a few factors:

Shape: What type of bulb: spiral, covered, globe, tube

Base: Screw-in (there are several different diameters), Plug in 4-pin, bi-pin, etc….

Color: The color is listed by temperature, 2700 degrees is a little yellower than incandescent, 3000 degrees a little whiter. Everything we wanted to say about CFL color, we posted here.

Dimmability: If you want the fixture to dim, make sure you buy a dimmable bulb. This may sound obvious but if you are used to incandescent light bulbs, you never needed to think about this before.

Lifetime rating: This is the projected number of hours the bulb is expected to last. Remember, though, that if you turn the light on and off a lot, it will reduce the bulb’s expected lifetime. Unlike with incandescents, if the light is going to be off for a short time (less than 15 minutes, you are better off just keeping it on)

Recycling CFL’s: here’s everything you want to know about recycling CFL’s.




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