GE introduced two light bulbs that have the greatest dimming range among CFL bulbs.
GE’s Energy Smart and Reveal CFL bulbs can be dimmed to 5 percent of the bulb’s total energy output, whereas other CFL bulbs dim to a minimum of only 20 percent.
The new bulbs are available in stores now, however GE didn’t provide pricing information.
The bulbs will work with most dimmer switches, GE tells us. However, dimmer switches that are older than roughly 10 years might not be compatible with the new bulbs, GE says. Expect to pay at least $23 for a dimmer switch that’s compatible with CFL and LED bulbs.
The benefit of the new bulbs is purely aesthetic in that they allow you to dim a CFL bulb to output levels that are similar to those of incandescent bulbs, experts tell Consumers Digest.
But the expanded dimming range on the new CFL bulbs won’t deliver additional energy or cost savings, experts tell us. Dimming a CFL bulb to 5 percent of its total energy output won’t reduce energy use, because the bulb draws the same amount of power no matter by how much that it’s dimmed, says Naomi Miller, who is a lighting expert at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
GE’s Energy Smart and Reveal 14-watt and 26-watt spiral CFL bulbs and 15-watt and 26-watt reflector bulbs are available at retail stores such as Ace Hardware, CVS, Do It Best, Kroger, Lowe’s, Target, True Value, Walgreen and Walmart.
We’ll have more on the latest innovations in light bulbs in the September/October 2012 issue of Consumers Digest.
– K. Fanuko