Questions about energy-saving fluorescent bulbs

I have a lamp to illuminate my piano sheet music. The two incandescent bulbs for it are supposed to be 40-Watts each, anything more says the wording on the lamp could cause a fire. I had two 60-Watt fluorescents and put them in there, figuring they burn so cooly, maybe I don’t have to worry about a fire.

Could this be true? Is there a rule of thumb that might make the 60-Watters safe?
To tell the truth, however, I got sufficienly concerned to go to Home Depot, buy the 40-Watt fluorescents and put them in.

Oh. One other thing about these fluorescents…

I put two 100-W such bulbs in our Den lamps. This required my wrapping the lamp-shade harps over the fluorescents, just as I did previously with the incandescents. Is this okay - using harps on the Fls.?

When you say “60w flourescent” you mean “15w flourescent advertised as putting out equivalent light to a 60w incandescent”, right? The warning on your lamp is for bulbs that actually draw more than 40 watts. The “60w” compact flourescents don’t draw anywhere near that much power and so would be perfectly safe. I’ve never seen a compact flourescent bulb that draws more than 25 watts.

In addition the 40 W limitation is a rule-of-thumb based on the heat produced by a 40 W incandescent bulb. A flourescent lamp that actually drew 40 W which would be equivalent to about 160 W incandescent in light output should be a lot cooler than the 40 W incandescent.

For example, I have a 120 W equivalent flourescent that uses 30 W according to the data on the base. I can easily grab hold of the glass envelope and squeeze it indefinitely. I just did it a few monents ago. This means the exterior temperature is probably not over 140 F and probably closer to 130 F. Try holding on to a lighted 25 W incandescent some time.

The above posts are right. Regarding harps, by “wrapping the lampshade harps over the fluorescents” do you just mean installing the harps around them, or do you mean you’re bending the harps so they are in contact with the fluorescent tubes? Using harps with fluorescents should be fine, but anything pushing hard against the glass tube could break it, so choice 1 is good but choice 2 is bad.

I bent the harps apart and let them come gently in contact with the fluorescents, just like I do with regular bulbs. These bulbs are functioning fine.

About the fluorescent wattage…

There are 7 bulbs in the pack: and the copy reads:

3 60 Watt Replacement Bulbs
3 100 Watt Replacement Bulbs
1 65 Watt Reflector Replacement Bulb.

In separate little boxes for each bulb the copy rads:
(Lumens)* (Watts)* (Hours)*
Light Output Energy Used Average life
60 Watt Replacement 900 13 10,000
100 Watt Replacement 1600 23 10,000
65 Watt BR30 Replacement 750 15 8,000

*Not in the boxes but elsewhere, and plainly what the Chinese mfr means, so what you guys are saying is, absolutely correct, and I could have gotten away with the 60 watters.

BTW, Costco offers 2, maybe 3 packs of these Energy Star fluorescents at dirt cheap prices (~$3-4 per pack).

I think I had to pay Home Depot $1.97 for each 40 Watt Fluoroescent.

Anyway, thanks a lot for your help. I’m resting easy now, and next time, maybe I’ll use 60 Watt fluorescent bulbs in the piano lamp.


I laid out the boxed info so it was readable with proper headings over each column, but all that got lost when I submitted the post. Suffice it to say the 60 Watt Fluorescent uses 13 Watts, and the 100 Watter uses 23 Watts.


You need to use the form (code) Your message here (/code) except with square brackets instead of parentheses. You have to fiddle with the spacings a little to get them lined up correctly. Like this.

watts equivalent       lumens        watts
    100                1600            25
     60                 900            15

Here’s another Question, now that the wattage thing has been answered.

A few years ago, I bought a Compact Fluorescent Bulb, but I had to take it back because of some limitation in the fine print. So, can I use a CFB:

a) with the base up?
b) with the base down?
c) in an enclosed, but somewhat leaky, outdoor lamp?
d) in a lamp that comes on when it’s dark outside?

Supposedly, these things will save money over time, but I’ve heard that some conditions will shorten the bulb life.

I’ll try to remember that. Thank you.

Based upon information received from an electrical wholesaler, CFLs may be used in any base orientation and in temperatures from 0°F to 100°F without problem. Damp or wet location fixtures are just that and unless the manufacturer prohibits use of CFLs, you’re good to go, but if damaged, the luminaire must be replaced. Some photocell circuits will not function correctly with CFLs, although a photocell controlled lighting contactor will allow them to work nicely.