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Getting the Right CFL Bulb for Reading

28 September 2012

Some have concerns about Compact Flourescent Light (CFL) bulb performance, such as having trouble reading. There are a few features to keep in mind when buying CFLs that may help resolve this issue.

  • Put in a brighter bulb: A great thing about CFLs is that you can put a really bright bulb in a lamp that couldn’t support a bright incandescent bulb. For instance, if your reading light only supports a “maximum 60 watt bulb” you can put in a CFL that only uses 25 watts but is as bright as a 100 watt bulb. Below are good levels for reading.
Fluorescent Wattage Incandescent Wattage Typical Lumens
13-16 Watts   60 Watts    800
18-20 Watts   75 Watts 1,100
22-25 Watts 100 Watts 1,500
  • Get a higher Kelvin (K) level: You may have noticed that CFLs have varying colors of light, from warm white (standard incandescent bulb) to Natural (a sort of bright white/faint blue). These are measured with Kelvins, the yellow color is the lowest Kelvin level, and the natural color is highest Kelvin. The best color for reading is the highest Kelvin level or the natural/ daylight color, as seen in the picture below.

  • Buy Energy Star rated bulbs: Energy Star rated bulbs are tested to make sure they are up to standard and a good quality bulb.

Once you buy a bulb with these features, you will be reading with no problems! And remember to put this into your Energy Challenge action list.


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