CFLs and Ceiling Cans
Trapped heat can lead to shorter life when CFLs are used in ceiling cans, our expert says.
Having just started on a major renovation and addition to my old Victorian, I found compact fluorescents very useful. However, I heard 'somewhere' that CFLs are not a good choice for ceiling cans because the heat buildup seriously shortens the bulb's life. True or false?
Both screw-in CFLs and standard incandescent lamps have shorter lives when put into recessed fixtures. The heat rises toward the base and weakens it because the lamps are positioned vertically in the housing. The better-designed recessed fixtures on the market that use hard-wired CFLs are vented to allow the heat to escape. Plus, the lamps are positioned horizontally, which helps keep the heat away from the base. I just happen to prefer the look of LED downlights over CFL downlights for residential use.
Randall Whitehead lighting designer
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

Leave A Comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

What LED bulb would be a good

What LED bulb would be a good replacement for recessed fixtures (currently use Flurescent compact 11 watts, 580 lumens, length 3.5", bulb diameter 1.94", base E26, size TC, colour 82, used in place of MR16?

Lastest from ask randall

I think that it's an aesthetic call, not hard science. Crystal-type chandeliers can hang lower, since you can see through them. The more modern drum-... read full story
You didn’t tell me what type of bulb you were using. I’m going to guess incandescent or halogen, since fluorescents or LEDs will not cause fading.... read full story
The quick formula is to add together the length and width of your room. The total of those two numbers is the suggested diameter of your chandelier... read full story
There are kits available made by two companies I know of that can transform a recessed downlight into a pendant light. Hopefully there is one... read full story


Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2-3 p.m. EST Sponsored by Emerson and Kuzco Lighting. Register for this free CEU webinar by clicking here. Webinar Overview:Learning units:AIA/CES LU (HSW... read full story
Sponsored by Bock Lighting, CSL, Fanimation, Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting and USA LED Lighting Solutions.   Wednesday, June 10, 2-3 p.m. EDT This free CEU webinar has... read full story
Sponsored by Emerson, Ferguson and Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting. This free CEU webinar has already taken place, but you can watch the archived presentation on-demand by... read full story

RL Tweets!