View Full Version : Looking for compact fluorescent light fixtures safe for the barn

Oct. 28, 2009, 11:25 AM
We have a 20 year old barn with several of the standard incandescent light fixtures where the bulb is protected by a glass and wire cage. With 100 watt incandescent bulbs being phased out starting in Jan 2010, I have been researching the compact fluorescent (CF) options. All the stuff I have read says don't use the higher wattage CFs bulbs in enclosed fixtures. OK, I get that the heat shortens the life span and the things are silly expensive so extending their life as much as possible is a Good Thing. But ... I have not been able to find light fixtures that will be suitable for CFs in the barn .... as in with a wire cage and some kind of guard to catch any broken glass if there is an accident. Any one seen such a critter? Got a link you care to post?


Oct. 28, 2009, 12:10 PM
I don't think the enclosed installation is a problem anymore. Walmart has some new CF's that come inside a standard lightbulb globe so they look much more normal. And when the electricians put up the closet light fixtures at my house that are all solid glass globes they used my 60w CF bulbs (since they used all of my spare curly bulbs to do it I was a little ticked-I hate those late night trips to Wally World) so I was out of CF's unexpectedly. I thought it wasn't good either but apparently that has changed.

Oct. 28, 2009, 01:45 PM
I have the normal squiggly CFs in my same type fixtures in the barn for 2 years now. I've had no issues, no burnouts....not sure what issue I'm supposed to believe going to happen?

I even use the CF flood lamps in the outside lights on the barn. When it's cold they all take about 2 minutes to come up to full light, esp the floods, but they work fine.

Oct. 28, 2009, 02:52 PM
Interesting. All the info I have read in my research indicates that CF bulbs that will produce close to 100 watts of light should not be used in enclosed fixtures because it will shorten the life. CFs in the 40-60 watt range are OK in enclosed fixtures. Since I like lots of light when I am working in the barn, I always have 100 watt incandescent bulbs.


Oct. 28, 2009, 02:54 PM
Here is what happens if you do not enclose your fluorescent lights and they burn out and "flare" out:

sparks fly out in a circular pattern. These can catch shavings on fire. Happened in Alpharetta at the barn of an asst ME during the day, his big expensive Arabian stallion, a champion, died along with some of his show mares, despite the best efforts of his son to save the horses, son got some of the horses out of there.

All of us couldn't understand how this could have happened, till one day a bunch of us were sitting around a table in our office, with dropped ceilings with uncovered fluorescent lights, one Friday afternoon, and boom, big flare out, light blows out, sparks fly all over, big scare. Had it happened after work, the DA's office in the courthouse would have burned (building was granite and marble). Next week all lights in courthouse covered with plastic protective shields.
Uncovered fluorescent lights can cause fires. If you buy them, get the enclosed ones as someone else has posted. Makes me paranoid at every barn since all of them have uncovered fluorescent lights down here.

Oct. 28, 2009, 09:40 PM
Hmmm. So is it because it's supposed to shorten the life of the bulbs or is a safety problem? We've had CFs in our enclosed fixtures before and haven't had problems. Is there some other danger? I bought barn lights that are "normal" outdoor lights and have a globe with a cage over (pics in blog).

Oct. 28, 2009, 09:44 PM
...and what's this about 100 watt incandescents being discontinued?!?? Am I living under a rock? I haven't heard anything about this.

Oct. 28, 2009, 10:01 PM
...and what's this about 100 watt incandescents being discontinued?!?? Am I living under a rock? I haven't heard anything about this.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_incandescent_light_bulbs


United States

Individual State efforts

California (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California) will phase out the use of incandescent bulbs by 2018 as part of bill by California State Assembly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_State_Assembly) member Jared Huffman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_Huffman) (D-Santa Rosa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Rosa,_California)) that was signed by California (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California) Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Schwarzenegger) on October 12, 2007. The bill aims to establish a minimum standard of twenty-five lumens per watt by 2013 and sixty lumens per watt by 2018.[6] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_incandescent_light_bulbs#cite_note-5)[7] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_incandescent_light_bulbs#cite_note-6)
Connecticut (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connecticut) legislation was proposed by state Representative Mary M. Mushinsky (D-Wallingford).[8] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_incandescent_light_bulbs#cite_note-7)[9] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_incandescent_light_bulbs#cite_note-8)
New Jersey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Jersey) Assemblyman Larry Chatzidakis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Chatzidakis) introduced a bill on February 8 2007 that calls for the state to switch to fluorescent lighting in government buildings over the next three years. Chatzidakis said, "The light bulb was invented a long time ago and a lot of things have changed since then. I obviously respect the memory of Thomas Edison (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison), but what we're looking at here is using less energy.[10] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_incandescent_light_bulbs#cite_note-9)

Federal legislation
Many of these state efforts became moot when the federal government enacted the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Independence_and_Security_Act_of_2007) in December 2007, requiring all general-purpose light bulbs that produce 310–2600 lumens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lumen_%28unit%29) of light [11] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_incandescent_light_bulbs#cite_note-10) be 30% more energy efficient (similar to current halogen lamps (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halogen_lamp)) than current incandescent bulbs by 2012 to 2014. The efficiency standards will start with 100-watt bulbs in January 2012 and end with 40-watt bulbs in January 2014.
Bulbs outside this range of basically, light bulbs historically less than 40 Watts or more than 150 Watts are exempt from the restrictions. Also exempt are several classes of specialty lights, including appliance lamps, "rough service" bulbs, 3-way, colored lamps, and plant lights.
By 2020, a second tier of restrictions would become effective; which requires all general-purpose bulbs to produce at least 45 lumens per watt (similar to current CFLs). Exempt from the Act are reflector "flood", 3-way, candelabra, colored, and other specialty bulbs.[12] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_incandescent_light_bulbs#cite_note-11)

Frank B
Oct. 29, 2009, 10:24 AM
We've been putting the "100 Watt-equivalent" CFLs from Walmart in globe-and-cage vapor-tight fixtures for about four years and have had very few failures. Beforehand, I was constantly changing bulbs and now it's been several months since I've had to get up on the ladder.

The few that have had to be replaced showed very little heat discoloration around the base.

We also use the CFL reflector bulbs, with the same decrease in failure rate.

Oct. 29, 2009, 01:42 PM
And don't forget if you use the curly CF's in the house or other enclosed areas that when they burn out they smell like burning wires. My electrician told me not to call him at 3 a.m. about burning wires without checking the bulbs first.

Oct. 29, 2009, 03:48 PM
Not to be a downer, but CFL's also don't work very well in cold conditions; they work down to negative 10 degrees, but below about 50 degrees they take longer to warm up/light up. LED's work great in cold conditions and hardly use any energy at all, but they're very expensive up front and they tend to throw their light in very straight beams.

For the record, I am not anti-energy-saving. My whole house is CFL bulbs (including enclosed ones in the bathrooms, only 13 watts apiece).

Oct. 30, 2009, 01:43 PM
We had the electrical contractor out yesterday to provide an estimate on the work and discussed the issue with him. He feels that with a globe that is deep enough to house the higher wattage CFs there should be no issue with heat build up. So we are swapping out all the older / smaller fixtures for new ones that are larger and will shift over to the CFs as the 100 watt incandescents disappear.


Frank B
Oct. 30, 2009, 04:27 PM
...and will shift over to the CFs as the 100 watt incandescents disappear...

And there will be one bulb that absolutely refuses to die and will outlast you!

Black Points
Nov. 1, 2009, 01:23 AM
I really dislike the cf bulbs. They take so long to put out the light and they are pretty slow when it gets cold. I had 6, 100 watt incandescents in my barn aisle with the thick glass covers over them. I have replaced them with 13 watt circular, fluorescent bulbs made for horse barns and love them. They are instant on and I don't notice any difference when it gets cold (as it does here in the winter).

Check out http://www.equinelighting.com Orion West (the company) sells them and you can buy fixtures that simply screw into the existing socket and they have plastic covers over the circular bulbs. The company has great customer service too.

Mary in western NY