Replacing an Incandescent Reflector with a CFL Flood

CFL Flood
CFL Flood

There are at least 30 light fixtures in the average home, with a significant amount of them being reflector lights. Also known as flood lights, these bulbs are generally used in recessed ceiling and outdoor lighting fixtures. Replacing incandescent reflectors with the CFL flood will both reduce energy consumption and lighting costs for the home. Before purchasing these replacements, there are a few points you want to keep in mind.

Determining Wattage
When replacing any incandescent bulb, make sure to look for a wattage that is comparable to the bulb being replaced. In the case of compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), the incandescent substitute is as follows:

  • 13-15 watt CFL = 60-65 watt incandescent
  • 18-20 watt CFL = 75 watt incandescent
  • 23-26 watt CFL = 100 watt incandescent

Sizing the Bulb
Flood lights come in a variety of shapes, with the most commonly used being the R30 (BR30) and R40 (BR40) bulbs. The major difference between these types of floodlights are the size of the casing. The BR40 is slightly wider than the BR30, and provides more spotlight. Also important are the actual dimensions of the bulb. Getting a bulb that is just a few inches too big or small could make the lamp difficult, or even less effective in your fixture.

Recognizing the Base
The majority of fixtures that house reflective lighting use what is known as a medium (E26) base. This is the standard screw in base. However, if your fixture does not use this base, check the light bulb that is being replaced for an indication of what sort of base it is using.

  • Candelabra (E12) – Small, screw in base
  • Mogul (E39) – Larger than the medium base, also screw-in
  • GU24/GU10 – Twist and lock pin base

Choosing a Color
The color spectrum used for a CFL flood is the same as what is used with all other types of CFLs. The color that is emitted from the flood is determined by its Kelvin temperature:

  • 2700K – Provides a warm white light ideal in living rooms and bedroom settings
  • 3500K – Emits a soft white light that is standard in bathrooms or closet spaces.
  • 4100K – This temperature gives off a cool white light that is
  • 5000K – Known as daylight, this color bulb is ideal in rooms where maximum light brightness is necessary, such as in rooms for drawing, painting, or reading.

Like all compact fluorescent lights, the CFL flood limits energy consumption, which in turn reduces the amount of money spent on lighting each year. The bulbs pay for themselves within a year with the savings, and continue to save you money long after.

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