29 April 2009

Dimmable CFL floodlights

I did a walkthrough of the rough-in wiring with my electrician. As we talked about my recessed can lighting, he remarked to me that he had never seen a dimmable CFL flood light that worked reliably with a dimmer switch. He's not a random electrician, that's for sure -- he's clearly articulate and experienced. He has experience including some high-end houses who have been featured in Portland's annual "Street of Dreams" show.

I would like to go LED but can't afford that right now, so CFL is my choice. We've had CFLs in our kitchen for the last year (without dimming functionality) and while the CFL delay time to come to full brightness takes some getting used to -- it turns out to not be that big of a deal once you are accustomed to that pattern. But still -- I definitely would like to be able to dim my can lighting!

And when you tell me it can't be done, or even just that it's not common, that's kind of a challenge for me. :)

After some internet research, I uncovered a Lutron/Phillips combo that is supposed to work. Here is a page describing the combo:

http://www.lutron.com/CMS400/page.aspx?id=22117

I passed the info onto my electrician so that he can investigate. He was reasonably excited (passes the test for good customer service skills) and said he'd call some of his suppliers to ask for feedback on the dimmer.

Anyone out there with experience for this specific dimmer or Phillips dimmable CFL floodlights? (I don't have many readers yet, but I figured this was worth asking nonetheless!) I have used Lutron Diva dimmers before, but not this exact specific one.

12 comments:

Paul Anater said...

I used them in a job a year-and-a-half ago. I was pretty curious to see how they'd actually perform and they do precisely what they're supposed to do --dim reliably. The dimmable bulbs cost more (I specified the R40) but their energy savings will offset some of that. They do not last as long as typical CFLs though. My client loves them, loves them. He can light up his kitchen to klieg strength when he's cooking and then tone it down when it's time to serve dinner.

Ace's Lady said...

I have dimmable cans in my living room, using a switch similar to the one on the left in your link (Skylark), but not this exact model, of course. We found a three-pack of the bulbs made by FEIT ELECTRIC. Yes, they have to warm up a little, but so do most CFLs. I have R30s, 65W replacement (uses 15W). For the record, I hate the cans, but this makes them a little more tolerable -- the bulbs we got allow for more dispersement of the light, so I'm not getting "spotlight" effect anymore. YAY!

Rachele said...

Paul - did you find that the quality of the light was good from the Philips bulbs? A nice and consistent temperature across bulbs?

AL - I read a lot of really negative reviews of the FEIT dimmable CFLs online. In fact to be quite blunt, I couldn't find any good reviews :). If I find a good dimmable CFL, I'll let you know!

Ace's Lady said...

So far, so good, but we've only had them for a couple months (and only 'cuz we couldn't find any others), so PLEASE DO!

Paul Anater said...

The light itself seemed a little too blue for my tastes. I like my light a little more warm.

Kelly at Kitchen Sync said...

One of my clients told me she loves making coffee in the morning and having the CFLs brighten at the same time as her "bleary morning vision." *grin*

I haven't been a fan of dimmable fluorescents for pretty much the same reasons as your electrician. I want to be, but my experience and lots of research haven't convinced me so far.

I also tend to be a bit sticky about color rendition too, but of course, final choice goes to the person who'll live and cook there. ;)

Rachele said...

I'm gonna pickup some of the Phillips CFLs and put them in my current kitchen space and see how it feels. My electrician called back saying that his suppliers said this was actually a good combo, so maybe I will luck out on the color rendering.

Anonymous said...

Is the project done and have you lived with it a while and feel like commenting? I am looking at adding some can lighting to our living room and was considering the dimmable reflector CFLs. I plan on using the Lutron switch, now trying to decide on which CFL... I have seen the GE, and Feit bulbs locally. Have not seen the Phillips yet, but will look for them. The Feit bulbs are definitly less expensive, but if they don't perform why have them. I may just have to experiment and see which brand I like before commiting.

Gopi said...

Rachele, Are you happy with Diva/Philips-R40 combo? I want to go for the same combo and want to know how it worked for you. Thanks for your feedback.

Rachele said...

Gopi, yes I am actually very happy with the combo! I am overdue to post my results on this...

Shad said...

Thank you - this is helpful research. We just bought a new home and have 2 incandescent floodlights out in the cans of the kitchen. I want to start replacing with CFL's for cost reasons (less replacements, fewer watts) but the dimming feature also seems nice. I bought and took back a couple of regular CFL's because they were so much brighter. Looking for a warm CFL that matches my incandescents. Will try philips.

Anonymous said...

Philips have a compatibility chart for different Lutron/Leviton switches that work with their bulbs:

http://www.lighting.philips.com/us_en/browseliterature/download/CFL-i_Dimmer_Chart.pdf

Question: Where do you get your Philips bulbs? I cannot find them in Home Depot or Lowes...

Post a Comment