Author Topic: 6x CFL Light Bulbs wired to a dimmer switch Burn out too Quickly  (Read 2882 times)

OneCoolCat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 436
  • Age: 32
  • Location: SoFla
I replaced the old light bulbs in the kitchen with Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs).  The kitchen has six bulbs wires to one switch.  I had to replace all of the old bulbs because the CFLs wouldn't work properly when they shared the switch with the older less efficient bulbs.  My guess is that the switch was either sending too much energy to the CFLs or not detecting them at all when it detected the 100 watt older bulb.  So after I put in 6 CFLs I still had problems.  I had to set the dimmer to a precise setting and the lights didn't dim.  The lights would often flicker in quick succession.  About a year ago, I went out and paid $10 for a single dimmer CFL bulb from Wal-Mart and viola, the lights functioned perfectly, for awhile at least.  I was using the one dimmer CFL and 5 regular CFL's that when connected to the same switch dimmed with the dimmer.  The dimmer bulb that is supposed to last a decade just died and I don't know if I have a wiring problem, a defective bulb, or something else.  I want to use energy efficient bulbs but I don't want to be constantly replacing expensive light bulbs. 

Should I buy 6 dimmer CFL, or perhaps LED now, light bulbs this time and try again?  1 dimmer and 5 non-dimmer CFL's or LEDs?  Go back to the less efficient light bulbs?

____

The five non-dimmer CFL's were 13 watt and the one dimmer CFL was 25 watt.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2016, 11:31:47 AM by OneCoolCat »

Mr.Tako

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 87
    • Mr. Tako Escapes
Re: 6x CFL Light Bulbs wired to a dimmer switch Burn out too Quickly
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2016, 01:11:10 PM »
Ah, I see your problem.  The non-dimmer CFLs will burn out when connected to a dimmer, the ballast isn't designed to do that and will eventually die.

In my experience, CFL's have declined so much in quality they don't last nearly as long as they used to.  You can either: 1.  Pay up for expensive brand CFL's in the hope they last longer.  2.  Pay up for some quality LED (Cree or Philips are pretty good).

LED's also don't have issues with dimmer switches.  They're probably your best bet, but avoid the cheapo Chinese versions.

Joggernot

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 513
  • Age: 73
  • Location: Gulf Coast, TX
Re: 6x CFL Light Bulbs wired to a dimmer switch Burn out too Quickly
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2016, 02:26:41 PM »
Dimmable LEDs are the answer.  I have them in my home and they work fine.

AlanStache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
  • Age: 39
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: 6x CFL Light Bulbs wired to a dimmer switch Burn out too Quickly
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2016, 02:35:30 PM »
Yep, read the labels.

Also if your fixture is enclosed the heat from the bulb can cause damage.

OneCoolCat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 436
  • Age: 32
  • Location: SoFla
Re: 6x CFL Light Bulbs wired to a dimmer switch Burn out too Quickly
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2016, 06:18:04 PM »
So i should by 6 LED dimmers?  Can I buy 1 dimmer and 5 non-dimmers?  I never bought an LED but i'm happy to upgrade to an even more energy efficient bulb!

Thanks for the help!

Joggernot

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 513
  • Age: 73
  • Location: Gulf Coast, TX
Re: 6x CFL Light Bulbs wired to a dimmer switch Burn out too Quickly
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2016, 06:43:43 PM »
Read the labels to determine whether it is dimmable or not.  You can get both kinds.  Sometimes they are on sale for about $4 each.  Check with your power company to see if they will give you a rebate for buying LEDs.  My son can buy them for 1/3rd what I have to pay.

OneCoolCat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 436
  • Age: 32
  • Location: SoFla

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3041
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: 6x CFL Light Bulbs wired to a dimmer switch Burn out too Quickly
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2016, 12:56:26 AM »
So i should by 6 LED dimmers?  Can I buy 1 dimmer and 5 non-dimmers?  I never bought an LED but i'm happy to upgrade to an even more energy efficient bulb!

Thanks for the help!
You need all 6 to be dimmable bulbs.  Home Depot recently had 60W equivalent Cree bulbs on sale for $2 each.  I bought several, and I like them.  Unfortunately, they appear to have raised their prices to $10(!) per bulb.

Dimmers are not intelligent devices--they simply modify the power going to the bulbs, and they don't care what type of bulb is installed.  Incandescent bulbs simply glow dimmer.  CFLs and LEDs have fancy circuitry, and not all CFLs and LEDs are designed to handle the kind of voltage a dimmer switch puts out.

FWIW, I'd suggest you make sure all the bulbs are the same type--I recently had a problem with a dimmer in our house that had a mix of incandescent and LED bulbs, and the LED bulbs didn't dim all the way.  When I removed the incandescents, the LEDs dimmed fine.

bord

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: 6x CFL Light Bulbs wired to a dimmer switch Burn out too Quickly
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2016, 07:10:39 AM »
When (if) you make the plunge into dimmable LEDs, look for ones that have Warm Glow or similar technology. Basically, when dimmed the bulbs get warmer in color just like incandescents. A dimmed LED that stays at 2700k or 5000k looks unnatural. Warm Glow makes a huge difference in the perceived quality of light and is well worth the extra few bucks.

lthenderson

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1225
Re: 6x CFL Light Bulbs wired to a dimmer switch Burn out too Quickly
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2016, 08:06:11 AM »
I switched to all CFL's back when they came out and they lasted longer than incandescents but as the years went by, the quality went down and I was still having to change a bulb every few weeks somewhere in the house. Four and a half years ago when I bought my current house, I went to all LED when we moved in and I haven't had to change a single bulb in all that time. I will never buy another CFL or incandescent bulb.