I’m switching the lighting in my house from traditional incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescents. I live in an old (1906) home with over a hundred bulbs, if you count all the wall sconces, chandeliers, and lamps throughout the house. The problem that I’m running into is that the bulbs around this house have been placed somewhat haphazardly – matching lights have bulbs that don’t match, and sometimes matching lights have bulbs with different wattages. And evidently some lights can’t be replaced with equivalent CFL bulbs, at least not in a size that will fit the fixture. So I need to figure out which CFL bulbs work best in which lights and, since I’m planning on swapping out all the bulbs in the house, I may as well try to proceed with some forethought and consistency.
Here’s the question: Is there a way of figuring out what the best wattage for a fixture is? For example, many of the bedside lamps are designed for 40-watt incandescent bulbs. Is there any reason that I shouldn’t opt for a brighter CFL bulb, say a 26-watt CFL bulb, which would give off light equivalent to a 100-watt incandescent but would still come in under the lamp’s 40-watt capacity? Likewise, all my overhead track lighting is recessed dimmable 65-watt incandescent floods; is there any reason that I should stick with the equivalent 16-watt CFL floods, or can I safely upgrade to the 23-watt floods, which would give off light equivalent to a 90-watt incandescent flood?
I am familiar with the government’s Energy Star guidelines and buyer’s guide, but it doesn’t answer my questions (at least not as far as I can find). Thank you in advance for any helpful advice.