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Q about screw in florescent lights

by grimgraphix / March 3, 2006 7:51 AM PST

As time goes by, I am slowly replacing all my incandescent bulbs with equivalent florescent screw ins. It will supposedly save me money and only needs replacing every 4 or 5 years as opposed to once or twice a year... been happy so far. A few halogen fixtures will stay in place.

Question is, the light in my over the stove top exhaust hood just went out. Is it safe to replace this light with a florescent bulb?

Anyone know?


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You might want to get ...
by Evie / March 3, 2006 7:56 AM PST

... the "appliance light" version of the flourescent, but I don't see why you couldn't the energy saver.

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Since any florescent...
by grimgraphix / March 3, 2006 8:31 AM PST

has a ballast (electric starter) I wondered if any grease build up on, or in, the light might pose a fire hazard eventually as grease accumulates on the bulb. Since the bulb is filled with gas, would the extra heat from the stove top create unwanted pressure and explosion? Hmmm... I haven't looked for an appliance version yet... threw the packaging out for the last lot I bought... I guess I will do a google.

Thanks for the idea about the appliance version.



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I've never seen an 'appliance' version ...
by Bill Osler / March 3, 2006 8:42 AM PST

I think, though, the concern about grease is well noted. At the minimum you would want to use one rated for outdoor use. Still, as already noted, I doubt it would really be worthwhile to spend the extra money on a fluorescent.

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We use the light on our stove hood ...
by Evie / March 3, 2006 8:59 AM PST

... as a nightlight, so for us it would be worth it. But I just use the regular appliance bulbs because they are smaller. My hood has a protective cover over the bulb. I saw the "appliance" energy saver last time I was in WalMart. Their "cheapo" energy saver bulbs are huge -- too big for any of my fixtures and I don't have many table/nightstand type lamps. We've decided to slowly switch over and see if it helps save on the electric bill.

Evie Happy

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Another choice?
by James Denison / March 4, 2006 9:10 PM PST

Are you just wanting to have a light that can be left on all the time in the kitchen, sort of like a night light? A light that won't light the whole room up, but be a bit more subdued? If that's the purpose behind wanting the cheaper flourescent, why not instead get an under cabinet fixture and use it for that purpose instead, and also have extra light on your countertop?

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For always on small lights, consider
by Roger NC / March 5, 2006 6:32 AM PST
In reply to: Another choice?

the cool to touch small lights.

The ones I have are rated at only 0.03 watts. But in a totally dark room, they make a lot of difference.

This is a different brand than mine, but I have similiar and like them. Of course, there is a wide range of nightlights out there, with and without photocells to automatically turn them on and off. But I happen to like the small, flat cool light jobs.

Just something I like.


click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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I doubt it would be worthwhile ...
by Bill Osler / March 3, 2006 8:40 AM PST

I don't know any reason you couldn't do this, but there are 2 issues:
(1) Most of the compact fluorescents are bulky. I don't know about your stove, but I doubt a compact fluorescent would fit on my stove;
(2) Unless you use the over-the-range light a lot more than I do it wouldn't save you enough to help. The compact fluorescent bulbs work best in situations where you leave them on for long periods of time. My understanding is that fluorescents do not generally take kindly to being turned on/off and doing so frequently shortens their life.

I love compact fluorescents in general, I just don't think you will find them useful in that particular location. We have almost no incandescents in our house. I even use 3-way compact fluorescents in the lamps around the house. The only places I do not use them now are: oven, range, refrigerator in the kitchen; outside flood lights (I can't find an outdoor model that will fit the fixture); and the garage lights. Our porch lights are fluorescent and they work OK but in a really cold climate they probably would not be a good choice.

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Don't know about the flourscent appliance type
by Roger NC / March 3, 2006 8:44 AM PST

But I've replaced most of mine with the "mini-twist" types.

But I did try a few different brands. Maybe it was just time between one and the other purchase, but I've got one brand that a higher wattage is (to my perception) dimmer and yellower light than my current favorite. The ones I'm currently using to replace 60 watt incandescents are 13 watt Sylvania minitwists. The dimmer ones are older, but never seemed as 'white' as the current ones. And never seemed as bright, even though a couple of them were rated higher.

And it's possible some of it is personal perceoption? as regardess the 'whiteness' or brightness of different brands and types.

I'd have to say the claim for 4 or 5 year lifetime seems exaggerated. I've replaced some less than 3 years old. But for whatever reason, regular incadescants here seem to last less than 6 months. I don't know if it's cheap mobile home fixtures, local voltage and current quality, or what, but when I had a household full of regular bulbs, I seem to replacing one every couple of weeks.

I hadn't even tried to replace lights like over the oven (or in the fridge for an opposite?) with flourscents. Interesting question.

I do know that with the yellow globe flourscents I use outside now in the door lights, they are slow to brighten when it is chilly to cold outside. While it may seem to negate the purpose of cost savings, I've put flourscents outside at the doors anyway, and just leave them on most of the time honestly. Perhaps a photocell switch would be a good idea. But other than the bug problem during warmer months, I like the yard area and particularly around the door lighted anyway.

To wander off topic a bit, why the heck can't home builders (and mobile home builders) understand lights should not be immediately next to a door, but at least 6 foot over. If they were 6 to 10 foot away, they'd still light the area and the bugs wouldn't flood the house (and fly into your face) when the lights were on.


click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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My bulbs never seem to last long either ...
by Evie / March 3, 2006 9:10 AM PST

... I thought it was because I bought cheapo brands, but one time when I purchased good brand name bulbs they burned out just as quickly -- so back to the cheapos. When the energy saver bulbs first came out, I was forced to try one for an outside light because the condo association switched the fixtures to that type. They were so expensive, and the first bulb lasted less than two years. I gave them another try when the newer "fit any fixture" bulbs came out, but was unimpressed. We're giving them another shot since they've been around a while and come down quite a bit in price. If they last half as long as they are supposed to, they'll probably pay for themselves.

Evie Happy

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Re: bugs + light
by JP Bill / March 3, 2006 11:20 AM PST

A yellow light bulb is not supposed to attract bugs.

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It probably attracts less, but during the summertime here
by Roger NC / March 5, 2006 6:39 AM PST
In reply to: Re: bugs + light

a firefly probably attracts other bugs.

Growing up, I remember blue and yellow porch light for less attraction of bugs.

It's probably less of an attraction than a regular bulb, but I have the (probably bad) habit of leaving the door lights on all the time. I should at least put a photosensor fixture up. I had such where I use to live.

The blue, yellow, red lights probably attract less, but they still attract here. At least, that has been my impression.

I also have had the motion sensor types which are ok. But in the climate here, the ambient temps get so high during the summer, you have to run the sensitivity near or at max to detect the difference in body heat vs ambient surface heat. And then the first cooler night you get, anything will set it off, bird or even a tree branch blowing sometimes. But still, they work ok.


click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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Difficult bulbs to replace
by James Denison / March 4, 2006 9:02 PM PST

That's how we started using them. I got tired of going up and down a ladder every 2-3 months to replace the light on the soffit over the front door. Maybe that's the reason yours is beside the door Roger, it's easier to replace there than 16' or more off the ground just under the roof. I ended up removing the whole light system that was there, put in a larger electrical box, a new 4" base, and an 8" white plastic globe just so I could fit one of the older type screw in flourescents in there some years back. It was before the "globe" and "twisty" type came out, and even then the tubes just touched the bottom of the globe. As for bugs, at least they are all up there, some take a rest on the screen door at times, but no swarming like you get when the light is right by the door.

I keep thinking I'll put a pole up about 10' out from the house, but haven't yet. We use the 19-20w version outdoors on two lights and they are left on (forgetfully) most times around the clock. We started using the globe type when they came out indoors in table and floor lamps only, since the earlier versions didn't fit the overheads, and we use the lamps more. I didn't like the light color output with the original lampshades, so we replaced those with "barrel" type which allow light to come through with a warm golden glow and you'd not realize the lights inside were cool color flourescents. We also repainted inside using colors we'd picked out by holding the color cards close to the flourescent lights in the store, then also took them over to the lamp section to see how they'd look under incandescent light too. We found "bone" or "ivory" most acceptable, also "eggshell".

Kitchen light was replaced with one "cloud" type (with tubes) over sink area and a 2 tube 24" fixture for the overhead. In the latter we put one warm (reddish kitchen color) tube, and one standard daylight. Each color by themself is a bit too much the wrong way we feel.

Not everything should be done away with for flourescents. We have kept the 5 light fixture that works with dimmer switch for the dining area.

I can't see using a flourescent over a stove area though. Maybe the globe variety might work, but the twisty and long tube type are very thin glass and might break easier under those conditions. We always use a 40w clear "appliance" bulb under the stove hood. Those are hardy enough to be used in ovens too. Flourescents are great for the right uses, but incandescents still have a place in the home too I think.

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I'd stay with incadescents for any dimmer app myself
by Roger NC / March 5, 2006 6:44 AM PST

You can get flourescent type dimmers and fixtures, but they're more expensive and unless you have a lot of the dimmer lights and use them a lot, I'm not sure they're worth the investment and trouble.

In some fixtures (something like tulip types on the bottom of some ceiling fans for example), the appearance may convince some people to stay with the candleflame shape bulbs rather than the minitwists.


click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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Just FYI
by Evie / March 4, 2006 10:57 PM PST
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I took a look at the store tonight
by grimgraphix / March 5, 2006 12:29 PM PST
In reply to: Just FYI

where they did have florescent screw ins designated as appliance/utility bulbs. They were small, globe enclosure type bulbs with the ballast in the base and were recommended for small spaces and showed a picture of a refrigerator but the packaging did not say yes or no for a range hood or any other place that had heat or grease... they did say avoid high moisture.

I originally considered placing a florescent in the range hood for longevity (since we use it as a night light for the house and it's on all the time) along with energy savings (see previous comment in parenthesis :))... I can stick a 40 or 25 watt bulb in there and then struggle to see what I'm cooking at night or continue to pay for 100 watts 24/7/365.

The appliance lamps did state there was a minimum temp of -20 centigrade for it to fire up.


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We use the stove light as a nightlight too ...
by Evie / March 5, 2006 10:36 PM PST

... but find the clear 40W regular bulbs to be fine for cooking too. If I need more light at the stove, we have soffit "flood lights" and a central fixture that can put out some good illumination if this cheapo broad didn't keep putting the 60W bulbs in it instead of the 100's the hubby prefers Wink The cost of the decorative bulbs for that fixture seems prohibitive for me.

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Clear versus frosted bulbs
by grimgraphix / March 5, 2006 11:17 PM PST

you don't get that option for florescent since the inside coating aids in distributing even light but does this option give one more light in an incandescent? Or is it just a fashion option?



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well, actually...
by Dick White / March 5, 2006 11:38 PM PST

the frosted coating in the fluorescent doesn't aid in a more even distribution of the light, it is what creates the light. A high voltage potential is created between the two ends by the ballast transformer, and a arc of electrons flows from one to the other through the special blend of gases inside the tube. The flow of electrons through the gas chemically excites the phosphors painted on the inside of the tube, causing the phosphors to emit visible light. In other words, the frosted coating inside is glowing in the dark...

On the frosted vs. clear standard bulbs, if there is a difference in light output, it's probably more likely to be a design difference in the filament, not because the bulb is frosted or clear. If you look at the package, it should give you 3 technical specs - wattage (how much electricity it will consume), lumens (how much light it will output), and expected life (how long it will last on average). The manufacturer can adjust the composition of the filament to increase or decrease both light output and longevity at the same wattage, though these two variables are usually inverse - brighter light has shorter life, or design the filament for lower light but longer life.


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You raise an interesting
by Dan McC / March 6, 2006 12:09 AM PST
In reply to: well, actually...

philosophical question. If the phosphors are glowing then it's not dark. So can they be said to be glowing in the dark?

We may never know.


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Actually they do glow in the dark
by grimgraphix / March 6, 2006 12:31 AM PST

at least for a while. My current photography class emphasized light security in the darkroom. You wait a minute or two after the lights go out before opening up your film canister to be developed... the ambient light from the glowing phosphors can damage the film prior to developing!


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Perhaps perception ...
by Evie / March 6, 2006 12:13 AM PST

... but the frosted glass diffuses the light. I cannot tolerate the clear globes for bath "light strips" and the like -- they burn little filament shaped spots in my vision. But where the bulb is hidden, they appear brighter -- I suppose because now only the covering is diffusing the light.

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moisture problems...
by Dick White / March 5, 2006 11:06 PM PST

For a stove hood light, that warning about moisture could be a problem. Moisture from cooking will rise right into the hood even when the vent fan is off. And when you boil the water for that big pot of spaghetti, it is a veritable cloud going through the hood. Seems to me that one should stay a conventional bulb.

Also, on the night light issue, some of the range hoods I've seen have bright and low settings so you can turn them up to light the work surface while cooking and then turn them down for overnight use. There is a little transformer that drops the voltage for the low setting. Most fluorescent type lights don't work at voltages much below their nominal rating. Though you said yours is a single setting, I thought it useful to point out why this might not work for others.

As for the minimum temperature rating, conventional fluorescent lights don't start well at low temperatures; you have to get one especially designed for low temperature use. -20C is about -4F. Many home freezers hold at between 0 and 10F, but might go below that if you set it to the coldest, so this one would work in a freezer most of the time but it would be marginal at times. Again, maybe a conventional bulb would be better.


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Moisture, grease and heat -- Oh my!
by Evie / March 5, 2006 11:33 PM PST
In reply to: moisture problems...

I'm a bit baffled by these concerns for range bulbs. Or am I missing something? Moisture is a problem because of the electricity, but don't see how it is more of an issue for flourescent vs. incandescent. It's been a while since I had a fish tank, but I seem to recall the light was flourescent, and that's a lot more moisture!

My hood has a cover on the lamp -- flourescents are cooler burning, so if anything, they'll tend to discolor this covering less. Even if I've left the cover off, I don't get grease build up on the bulb. What exactly are you all cooking?

Heat? I can hold my hand a few inches above the stove flame when it's on high and it will get warm but not burning warm. I can't check if I can feel the heat at the height of the stove hood right now (blinkered stove!) but I highly doubt it!

Any stove hood worth having should keep all of the above away from the bulb and out the vent!

Evie Happy

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Florescents use a ballast
by grimgraphix / March 5, 2006 11:49 PM PST

basically a little electric kick starter/transformer to fire up the bulb... if you look at the base of the florescent screw in bulb (the multiple loops style along with the globe style) you will find a compartment that holds the necessary circuitry.

My original concern was if this chamber was sealed and/or if it offered some (any ?) danger of creating a spark if grease from cooking got into the internal works of the ballast mechanism. Many outdoor pole lights use similar circuitry (loud buzzing sound comes from the ballast - overheat and they go out until they cool down and come back on) but I'm sure these are weather proofed. Since incandescent bulbs are sealed and don't require a ballast (am I using the correct term?) to keep the light burning it's one less thing to worry about in the case of a range hood.

I'm sure there are thousands of people using these bulbs in their range hoods right now... There are also thousands of house fires every year as well so I don't want to find out there is a connection between the two! Grin


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I understand the concern now ...
by Evie / March 5, 2006 11:59 PM PST

... but considering that the old ring flourescents used to be popular fixtures in bathrooms and kitchens, my tendency is to think it's not an issue.

The bulbs in my bathroom get far more moisture exposure than the ones in the stove hood.

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by grimgraphix / March 6, 2006 12:32 AM PST

I like splashing in the bathtub too, Evie. Grin


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Chuckle ...
by Evie / March 6, 2006 1:21 AM PST
In reply to: LOL

... I was thinking more of steaming things up in the shower Devil

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moisture and heat...
by Dick White / March 5, 2006 11:55 PM PST

Evie, the fish tank light probably had its ballast in the shell of the fixture above the reflector, so the ballast wasn't exposed to as much humidity as the bulb. These screw-in fluorescents have an integrated microchip ballast encased in the plastic base of the bulb. Though the bulb portion is sealed, obviously, the base with the electronics is not. Also, the blast of steam coming up from a cooking pot is different from humidity rising off a fish tank. Both cause problems in their own way, but this is addressed differently.

The temperature issue with fluorescents isn't at the high end, but the low end. At low temperatures, the gas inside the bulb doesn't excite as easily with the conventional arc voltages - they have to use different electronics and gases in the bulbs to get them to turn on at low temps. However, there could be a high temp problem for the compact fluorescents relating to the plastic base melting vs. a pure metal and glass standard bulb.

Now grease, that's a different problem altogether.


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Having done an involuntary steam test last Friday ...
by Evie / March 6, 2006 12:20 AM PST
In reply to: moisture and heat...

... I can tell you that while the stove electronics were fried by moisture (got in the digi panel somehow), the over-sink bulb that is flourscent and almost directly above the source of the steam sustained no damage.

I still wanna know what you all are cooking Wink I cook quite a bit, and overboiling and grease spattering are not foreign to me! And believe me, the hood can get downright grungy if I haven't bothered to look/clean it in a while. But my bulb is enclosed and never gets exposed to that stuff. Even when I've left the cover off the enclosure (as I had to do once for months until I got around to replacing a broken one) the bulb never seemed to gather much stuff.

Oh well, I'm sticking to the cheapo clear appliance bulbs for now for that application anyway.

Evie Happy

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I wonder...
by grimgraphix / March 6, 2006 12:39 AM PST

I too have noticed the bulb does not accrue as much grease as the rest of the hood... I wonder if the heat of the bulb deters grease build up? The rest of the hood gets more grease since it is cooler?

I see a government funded study in my future! Hows much will I need? 1 million? 2 ?... Wink


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