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Convert a 300 watt torchiere lamp to a 20-40 watt CFL

Convert a 300 watt torchiere lamp to a 20-40 watt CFL

The torchiere lamp does a really nice job of lighting a room, but with a blazing hot 300 watt halogen bulb they’ve also had a nasty track record for igniting rooms. Ten years ago, these were a required addition to any dorm room or apartment that lacked overhead lighting–the bright upward facing light bounces off the upper walls and ceiling to create a soft blanket of light from above. With their massive energy use and dangerous reputation, however, the torchiere is no longer a very popular lighting option.

Instructables user bben46 took to solving this problem, creating a cool-running, energy efficient, compact fluorescent version of the torchiere:

I converted my 300 Watt lamp to an energy efficient and cool 20 Watt CFL type bulb for less than $10 in parts.This modification results in a savings of 280 Watts. With the addition of the second 20 watt CFL, the savings comes down to only 260 Watts.

Keep in mind that the color spectrum of the CFL is pretty different from the halogen bulbs, but the conversion is a simple wiring job and the result is a safe and cheap way to light a room from above.

Show of hands. How many of you have one of these stored away in the basement just waiting for a CFL conversion?

Convert a 300 Watt Torchiere Lamp into a Dual 20 Watt CFL

14 thoughts on “Convert a 300 watt torchiere lamp to a 20-40 watt CFL

  1. Gamma Goblin says:

    Why not just fit a J-Type CFL?

  2. ehrichweiss says:

    This won’t work with the lamps that have a dimmer unless you’re willing to go out and find the dimmable(sp) CFLs that aren’t yet cheap.

  3. Tom says:

    dimmer enabled lamp will work but CFL inverter will only switch on at proper voltage threshold.

  4. Max says:

    Couple points (And I think this is a great idea, I’m just quibbling with some of the technical information):

    “the color spectrum of the CFL is pretty different from the halogen bulbs.” CFLs which match the color temperature (~2800K) of halogen are available. If you buy the higher quality brands (e.g. GE, Sylvania, Philips), the quality of color rendering is comparable to incandescent sources.

    Also, w.r.t. the efficiency calculation, halogen incandescent sources have an efficacy of ~15 lumens/watt, so your 300W incandescent lamp is good for ~4500 lumens total light output. (warm white) CFLs have an efficacy of around ~35 lumens/watt, so the CFLs you’ve replaced them with put out around ~1400 lumens. It’s still a great increase in efficiency, but note that you’re cutting the light output to a third of its prior level.

  5. Bob says:

    While noteworthy this sort of mod isn’t exactly breaking news. Are there any makers out there who use these lamps and are concerned about their energy usage and NOT already converted theirs?

  6. Ryan says:

    Looking for a dimmable cfl that is equivalent to a 200 watt incandescent bulb for a church ..

  7. Stan P says:

    The reason people use these torchaires is to get away from fluorescent lamps, and most torchaires are currently in use for that reason. It’s not just the color temperature (although that is part of it) or the CRI; the light output from fluorescents is very spikey, causing what is (incorrectly) perceived as flicker. There are many people who just do not tolerate fluorescent lighting.

    It is possible to “convert” the rheostat type torchaire to 500 watts, but the need for an 11,000 lumen bulb in an ordinary room is minimal.

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