Why don’t more retailers stock Warm White CFLs?

by Maskil on August 14, 2008

I’ve just completed an exercise to replace all conventional light bulbs in our home with energy savers (CFLs). This was partly in response to the Eskom electricity supply crisis in SA, partly due to my long-held green convictions. Almost all our frequently used lights are now of the CFL (or plain old fluorescent variety), even down to our bedside lamps. In many cases this involved first replacing the entire light fitting! The exceptions are mainly where the so-called designers (who owned the house a couple of owners prior to us) installed batteries of 50W halogen downlights in some of the rooms. I’m looking to replace those with either 20W lamps or the LED lamps that are now supposedly available.

The house was built in the 60s – not one of the better things to emerge from that decade – and included such oddities as spotlights (the type usually reserved for driveway or garden security) in the passage and main bedroom.

Anyway, one of the things that surprised me about this exercise was how difficult it turned out to be to obtain “Warm White” CFLs, particularly in the 8/11 Watt range. Most of the lamps I picked up (e.g. at Builders Warehouse and Lighting Warehouse) were of the “Cool White” variety. This should actually be renamed “Harsh White” or “Blinding White” and, as far as I can see, is more suited to exterior use, whereas I’m guessing that most CFLs are intended for interior use. After experimenting unsuccessfully with a variety of Wattages and White variants, I managed to find 11W Warm White energy savers from Pick ‘n Pay, part of their No Name range.

I realize that it must be quite a mission to stock CFLs, given the variety of Wattages, sizes, connectors and “temperatures”, but I would suggest that other suppliers put more emphasis on the Warm variety, more suited to home/interior use.

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