Mood Setting with CFL Lights?

Much to my chagrin, we are now in that time of year when days are getting noticeably shorter (I almost feel the vitamin D leaving my body as I type…). The lights in the house will indubitably get turned on earlier in the morning and earlier in the evening. I never used to think about how much energy a light bulb consumed but now, in trying to conserve resources, I do think about it every time I turn on a light.

It’s a good time of year to let you know about a product that I just learned about: a dimmer that works well for dimmable CFL bulbs (and most other bulbs too). Like most people, I have been switching out my incandescent bulbs for CFL bulbs in the last few years. (As a side note, you probably already know that pretty soon, we’ll have to do that on all our lamps since incandescent bulbs are due to be phased out of the marketplace starting January 2012. Eeesch, that’s just around the corner!)

You might have noticed how CFL bulbs really don’t work well with dimmers that were installed for incandescent lights. There’s very poor dimming control, or hardly any dimming at all or lots of flickering going on. I have found this very aggravating when I looked to change the level and quality of the light in a room and have been unable to do so with CFL bulbs. So, at a dinner party, I end up closing all lamps and using LOTS of candles because really, there’s not much mood setting to be had with CFL bulbs. Candles are nice, but not really all that practical!

So yes, I wasted my own energy being aggravated over this, that is, until I discovered that there are now dimmers made specifically for (dimmable) CFL bulbs. Duh! And these dimmers happen to work with most types of bulbs, including dimmable LEDs and incandescent bulbs.

And there are other advantages to dimming the lights too. Beyond just creating a cozy atmosphere, there can also be additional energy savings, up to $30/year per dimmer and extending the life of the bulb (up to 10 years. See the reference here).

Made by Lutron, the dimmers in question are available at Amazon (here’s one model) and certainly at your local hardware store (here’s one a Lowes).

Thought you’d like to know about this, especially in preparation for all the festivities of the coming months, when you will want to create that perfect setting (and not worry about burning the place down with all those candles).


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