Using Halogens and Light Dimmers as a CFL Alternative

Want to save energy but don’t like CFL light bulbs? You’re not alone. CFLs are among the most efficient, commercially available lighting sources, yet these bulbs aggravate many homeowners and business operators. Despite technological improvements, some still complain that CFLs do not dim well, flicker, or cast an unappealing light. Fortunately, those who find themselves among those who do not like CFLs have an alternative in halogen light bulbs.

Halogen bulbs offer a great deal of energy savings when compared with traditional incandescent bulbs. While slightly more expensive than their incandescent bulb counterparts, they offer a much longer life. The life hours of some infrared (IR) halogens are sometimes comparable to that of CFLs.

Not only do halogen bulbs offer long life, they also dim just like incandescent bulbs. Dimming switches not only create a comfortable and appealing light level, they also save energy. Switching from incandescent bulbs to halogen bulbs will alone save 10-20% in electricity costs, but dimming can equate to energy savings of 50-60%. Further dimming puts less stress on the bulb’s filament and can easily double the bulb’s life, resulting in even more future energy savings.

While CFLs are still preferred as energy-saving light sources, halogens can still be considered a suitable, if slightly less efficient alternative. To maximize savings, always dim light levels to the lowest comfortable setting and turn lights off when not in use.

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  • William Detmer

    We just returned from France & England to review commercial lighting applications.
    Most stores, restaurants, and public spaces use Low Voltage systems. It was rare
    to see any CFL’s. We met with several European lighting design firms. Some of the firms had tried CFL’s with poor results.

    Should you visit either country, you will be hard pressed to find any CFL’s at all.

    W. J. Detmer
    Architectural Lighting.

    • 1000Bulbs

      That is very interesting William. We think low voltage systems are a great money saver. Thanks for the comments!

  • Jim Hattrup

    Thanks for the info on halogens. I also would like the energy savings of CFL’s, but – in addition to the CFL concerns you mention – the CFL’s seem weak in turing on fast and coming up to brightness – making them a safety issue or poor solution for stairway lighting (unless left on ALL the time :( – this is getting better for some CFLs ).
    Also, many CFL’s do not fit in fixtures I have (base in too wide/fat ), and also cannot be used in photo/motion lights – so always on (!) for those applicaitons also.

    • Benjamin

      Great point, Jim. While CFLs are an excellent energy-saving product, they are better for some places more than others.

      All CFLs take some time to warm up. This makes them a less than ideal choice for stairways and closets. The wide ballast housing on some compact fluorescents also prevents them from fitting in some fixtures.

      My rule of thumb is this: If it’s a fixture you use often and leave on for long periods of time, use a CFL. Otherwise a halogen, or sometimes even a good old-fashioned incandescent, is the way to go.

  • http://www.saving-light-bulbs.co.uk/ Michael

    Truly said halogen bulbs are eco friendly and save energy .They produce brilliant light without heating filaments.