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Energy Star Light Bulbs

I had fourteen recessed light put in recently and the bulbs that were installed in them feel like heat lamps!

I can't help but wonder how much these inefficient lights are costing me to run. So I went to get some of those long life energy efficient bulbs.

I was able to replace five of the lights, but the nine others have dimmers and apparently you can't get energy efficient dimmable lights. (?)

Does anyone have any good solution ideas or know of more efficient lights that could be used?

Four of the lights are in my bedroom and don't get used too often, but the other five are in the kitchen and you can feel the heat coming off of them when they are turned all the way up.
HAve you tried a lower wattage? I know I had a situation like yours in my bathroom. I have a light bar above my mirror that holds 8 bulbs. I do not remember what the wattage was I started with but it was very hot when the lights were on. After trying lower watttage the heat is not that much of an issue and the light given off is more than enough.
i sell lighting for a living.

"energy star" is a government rating given to electrical products that meet certain requirments. this includes everything from appliances to lighting. in the case of an energy star rated lighting fixture, the ballast/lamp must be individual components.

with your case, i would imagine you would have either 150R or 75R lamps in your house. here's what the "R" lamp looks like:

if you would install a screw in type ballast, a few things might happen.

1. you would see some energy savings but the lamp life may decrease & not be as advertised. fluorescent ballasts are affected by heat. if you install these lamps in regular cans, the heat build up will affect the ballast.

2. on top of every recessed can is a thermal protector. when the can gets too hot, the thermal will trip & shut the can down. seeing as though the cans were not tested with these screw in fluorescent lamps, you might trip the thermal..

3. if you still want to put in the fluorescent type lamp, stay away from cheap - import types. stick with something from GE, sylvania or philips. these mfgs. have better performance & quality.

when it comes to recessed lighting, a smaller wattage can can always be used.

my suggestion to you is to find a good electrical distributor in your area and purchase a GE lamp which is labeled as HIR (halogen infrared). this lamp reflects the heat produced back into the lamp to produce more light. in your case, i would imagine a 50PAR30/HIR would produce enough light, save some energy & not be as hot.


Thanks for the input. That is what my bulbs look like, but I thought the cans said R40 on them, but I don't remember right now.

Let me ask a few questions clarify some thing for myself:

So the 7 yr energy effcient lights that I just purchased may trip the thermal switch? Even if the bulbs aren't putting off much heat?

Are the HIR bulbs dimmable? ie they would be a good choice for my kitchen and bedroom?

i forgot to add the dimming fluorescent is an option. the adder we have for this is $100 per can and this does not include the special dimmer required for the wall. in most cases (commercial & residential) the buyer finds this out and decides againt it. i think in the 15 years i've been doing this, only 1-2 buyers pulled the trigger on dimming fluorescent.

the screw ins you noted are not dimmable - yet. this requires a 4 pin lamp with an electronic ballast. the screw in fluorescents, for the most part, use cheap technology.

another option for you might be this lamp:


we have tested it in some of our cans and results have been OK. the beam pattern out of the lamp is lousy but at 25 watts per fixture, some of our accounts are jumping on it. it is a metal halide lamp designed into a PAR configuration. the light output is close to what you have..the color may appear pink on some surfaces.


yikes! R40 is really a heat lamp. heat lamps just have a red lens over them.

check out the 60PAR38/HIR lamp as this is probably your best option.

the fluorescent lamps you installed may or may not trip the thermal. i would not be concerned about a fire in any way so don't be concerned about that. the heat rises to it's warmest point...the front lens may not be warm but the ballast surely will be. if the cans are old, you most likely have holes near the top. you'll loose more in heating & air conditioning costs than anything else.

HIR - dimmable with a standard dimmer. we use HIR lamps in the majority of our projects (retail, commercial & residential)

The R40 is what is written on the actual can so does this just mean that the can is rated to be used with hotter bulbs? I would hate to think that someone actually put in heat lamps all over the house on purpose!

It sounds like the new bulbs will work fine on the regular cans, and I need to find some HIRs for the dimmable ones.
the can lists the maximum lamp wattage which can be installed. the listing is rated by U.L. not the mfg.

in higher applications, like those with vaulted ceilings, the only lamp option in the past was the 250R40. there is also a 150R40 that was available - also as a regular or heat lamp version. again - the heat lamp otption is just a red lens - same guts.

ada8356 said:
I had fourteen recessed light put in recently and the bulbs that were installed in them feel like heat lamps!

I can't help but wonder how much these inefficient lights are costing me to run. So I went to get some of those long life energy efficient bulbs.

This might give you an idea on how much its costing you. Using a rough formula.

14 Lights x 75 Watt x 5 Hours per day x 365 days = 1916250 Watts / 1000 =1916.25 x .09 per KW = $172.46 per year

The charge per KW can vary, so can the the length of time and the wattage of the lamp.

Using low wattage -

14 lights x 13 watt x 5 hours x 365 =332150 watts / 1000 = 332.15 x .09 per KW = $29.89 per year. The bad thing is you may give may give up some lumens.

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