Some CFL Bulbs Are Too Bright

By Todd Fratzel on Electrical, Energy Conservation

cfl_bulb_half_plantWe’ve been replacing most of our regular light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFL’s). Last weekend I purchased a box of six 19 watt CFL’s (I didn’t actually pay attention to the box and had no idea they were equivalent to 75W regular bulbs). I wanted to replace the five regular bulbs in our dining room light fixture with CFL’s because we spend some much time in there eating meals.

Here’s the problem. I was replacing 60 watt bulbs with these “75 watt” CFL’s and couldn’t believe how bright they were. In fact, they were so bright I felt like my vision would be damaged if I looked at the bulbs too long. So I pulled them down and tried them in a large fixture over the kitchen island figuring we need more light in the kitchen. Again, far too bright and very unpleasant.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll have to use these bulbs in the garage or basement where I really need lots of light. So for all those folks out there that think CFL’s don’t really put out much light let me tell you that the 19 watt Sylvania Soft White bulbs that I purchased pack a serious about of light in them!

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. NV says:

    I’ve no qualms about their lighting ability. They’re just U-G-L-Y (considering that we use the bent-tip crystal candle-style bulbs throughout the house).

    Oh. And there’s that mercury thing. There was a news report some months back about a woman who broke one of those suckers and had to call in someone to clean it up — for $2,000.

    Are these things really safe?

  2. Todd - Home Construction Improvement says:

    @ NV – I actually used to feel the same way as you. However, I’ve purchased some really good ones that we use in several rooms. In fact, no one knows they are CFL’s.

    The mercury issue is certainly worth considering. However, if you do some research the clean up is not that hard to do. Certainly you want to be careful with them but people have been using fluorescent bulbs for year.

  3. Vanessa T. says:

    I love the idea of these energy saving bulbs…however, I am light sensitive and really dislike the bright hue these bulbs emit. Even the lowest wattage that are suppose to be 45 feel like they are 100 watt. Do the even make a lower one, like say…25 watt?

    WHERE oohh where can I find the pefect CFL bulb to suit my home needs, while not emitting such an overpowering array of white/blue light. Even with regular non energy bulbs I typically unscrew 3 of the 4 in a standard overhead chandeler…unless they are very low 25 wattage.

    Thanks for ANY info!!!

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