# Arghh, fluorescent lights!

1. Mar 10, 2008

### Werg22

I can't stand them! Whenever I'm exposed to them I end up getting headaches and start feeling as if my eyes weighed a ton. But in a world in which classes and workplaces are dominated by these horrific conceptions, what can a poor fellow like myself do?

2. Mar 10, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

Buy fluorescent lamps with electronic ballasts....

[compact fluorescents also don't flicker]

Last edited: Mar 10, 2008
3. Mar 10, 2008

### Kurdt

Staff Emeritus
Its the constant humming that gets me.

4. Mar 10, 2008

### Danger

Is it the spectrum or the flicker that bothers you? If the former, tinted glasses might help. I can't see the flicker myself, but some people can and it can be a pest.

edit: Sorry, I had a client come in while I was composing this, so I missed posts 2 & 3 until now. I've never heard one hum, but it can't just be a bad ballast if it happens in different places. Other than a masking noise such as music or a desk fan, I can't think of a way to block it without the discomfort of earplugs.

Last edited: Mar 10, 2008
5. Mar 10, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

At my old company, they slipped shades over the bulbs when requested (I did). At my current company, they're cheap, so they just remove the lights over my office space. The lights hurt my eyes.

Going to class though, you won't have that control.

6. Mar 10, 2008

### Poop-Loops

I say if it doesn't oscillate at 60hz, then it's not REAL light.

7. Mar 10, 2008

### edward

For many years I have been an advocate of putting more natural full spectrum lighting in classrooms.

8. Mar 10, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

That's the opposite of my problem, lights that are too bright make me and other's ill. Some nut bought into that Feng Shui crap and put in high powered lights and within days people were going home sick and they had to remove the brighter lights. Cost the company a fortune.

9. Mar 11, 2008

### edward

They do some really stupid things with lighting in businesses and offices. I wasn't advocating brighter lights in classrooms, just more full spectrum light.

You can look at a paint sample inside of a store, or the color of anything for that matter, then take it outside and it looks totally different.

10. Mar 11, 2008

### Danger

Full-spectrum bothers me. I'm severely photophobic; I can't go outdoors in daylight without my dark glasses. Incandescent or regular fluorescent bulbs are fine, but I have to put my glasses back on for the FS ones. Since my glasses are triggered by near-UV, I must assume that FS bulbs put out more of that.

11. Mar 11, 2008

### baywax

Hi Danger... I often questioned the use of florescent tubes in hospitals. They're said to deplete vitamin A and as is noted here they also irritate people's brains and eyeballs. Some people with severe epilepsy will go into episodes because of the flicker as well.

http://www.epilepsy.com/epilepsy/epilepsy_reflex [Broken]

When I suggested one of the cancer clinics I worked with use full spectrum lighting they thought about it for a few minutes... just long enough to find out each tube costs 6 bucks as opposed to the $1.50 per regular tube. No full spectrum lighting in hospitals or clinics. I would personally think quality of light would go hand in hand with quality care and heath recovery would trump cost recovery.... no. There's a movement to replace the lighting in prisons in the UK because of the complaints of staff and inmates. Apparently, florescent lighting was never meant for general use and was more for utilitarian practicality. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2002/sep/26/publicvoices Apparently there is also evidence of ocular damage caused by the tubes... http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache...fluorescent+lighting&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=8&gl=ca As convenient as they are they are like most other conveniences, fast, cheap and harmful to health and environment... (loaded with mercury) http://www.mercuryrecycling.co.uk/mercury.htm [Broken] Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017 12. Mar 11, 2008 ### Danger Well, it's settled then... we should go back to gaslamps. Not only do they not hum, but they're damned handy when you can't find your lighter. I really don't have time to read any links right now, Baywax (I'm just up for my midnight snack of rum and a smoke), but I'll sure take a look at them tomorrow. One thing that just occurred to me, though, which might or might not be covered by your post, is whether or not FS lights screw up circadian rhythms more than other types. 13. Mar 11, 2008 ### Moonbear Staff Emeritus No reason to think so. Actually, when people experience disorders associated with circadian or seasonal rhythms, a simple treatment is daytime exposure to full-spectrum lighting (usually in a light box, not to illuminate an entire building). There really shouldn't be a noticeable flicker to fluorescent lighting either, though. That's usually noticeable when the tubes or ballast is going bad. Of course, the larger a room and the more lights, the more likely that one somewhere will be going bad when you're in there. The best office I ever had had a combination of lighting...a big window that most of the time was all the light I needed, a main fluorescent light bright enough to illuminate the room well (insufficient lighting is annoying no matter what kind of bulbs you use), and a row of incandescent high hats that were meant as an accent, but were good for balancing the spectrum (some nights, I would just turn on the incandescent lights...there was no need for it to be brighter if the spectrum quality is better). And I had a really nice desk lamp that was good for task lighting. Again, some nights, if everything I was doing in the office was on the computer, I would just use the desk light rather than overhead lighting. Most of the classrooms I teach in do not have fluorescent lights, because the lights are designed to dim at different levels throughout the room (multiple switches) in order to adjust the lighting appropriately for viewing slides (sometimes you want it dark over the screen at the front of the room, but a spot light on the lectern, and lights brighter in the back for the students to see well enough to take notes). 14. Mar 11, 2008 ### Jimmy Snyder All my life I've heard people complain about flourescent lights. But I can't even tell the difference whether the lights in a room are incandescent or flourescent. Of course public buildings tend to be lit with flourescent and residential with incandescent, but unless I look directly at the source, I can't tell for sure. I'm told that conversion to flourescent would have a dramatic effect on global temperature. What's more, the bulb above my front door is a pain to change. So I went with flourescent for that light. The bulb lasts longer so I don't have to change it as often. In theory. In fact, I tried it three times and the bulbs never lasted longer than a day. Either there is a need to retrofit sockets, or there is a serious QC problem with the bulbs themselves. Any ideas? 15. Mar 11, 2008 ### Poop-Loops I can't say for certain, but I'm thinking it's not fluorescent lights per se causing people to explode, but more the mood they illicit. Kind of mechanical, cold, unwelcoming. So if you have to spend a lot of time in that kind of place, you might get sick of it, and literally get sick. I worked in a small fitness store for about a year, all fluorescent lights, and I never had any problems with it. My room has compact fluorescent bulbs and I'm fine with it. I should add, though, that I've never had the humming from them. Only the ones in my garage hum, because my garage is a POS. Yeah, it's annoying to spend extended amounts of time there because the humming drives me mad, but that's not the fault of the bulbs, but err... the thing they are connected to, whatever it's called. New thing I heard on NPR is that LED's are really getting up there in luminescence, so they might be viable light sources in the near future. Obvious plus is that they last a lot longer than anything else we have right now. 16. Mar 11, 2008 ### edward Last edited: Mar 11, 2008 17. Mar 11, 2008 ### Danger That's actually what I was referring to, but backwards. I was wondering about people who work under FS at night maybe losing more sense of day-and-night than others. You're talking about deprogramming someone who is off kilter; I'm thinking of reprogramming one who isn't. That might be due to the type of bulb. All of the first couple of years that I picked one up here and there to replace a burned-out incandescent, the packages stated that they could be used only in 'stand-up' sockets such as a table lamp. They weren't to be used in drop fixtures or side-mounts. I'm guessing that it had something to do with heat build-up in the base. I went ahead and put them in open (unshaded) ceiling sockets anyhow and they're still going 10 years later. 18. Mar 11, 2008 ### Moonbear Staff Emeritus I've never had any luck with them either...and they're awfully expensive to burn out so fast. I don't like them for rooms where I need to do things like read or fine detail work, but thought I would put them in places like a hall and laundry room, where I just need them to keep from bumping into things, but they turned out to be a collossal waste of money for me. 19. Mar 11, 2008 ### edward Some flourescent bulbs won't work with electronic timers or photo cells. It should state on the package if they are compatable. 20. Mar 11, 2008 ### Evo ### Staff: Mentor Really? I put them in all of my outdoor lighting fixtures and places like ceiling fans and 12' ceilings where I don't want to keep climbing, and going on 10 years, I've never had to replace a single one. Of course I used brand names like GE and Sylvania. These bulbs cost me like$12 a piece, but well worth it.

Perhaps the newer ones are built to die quicker, I mean how can you make money on lightbulbs that last 15-20 years? Those first bulbs may be things of the past.

Last edited: Mar 11, 2008
21. Mar 11, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

I only have one in an outdoor fixture and it hasn't been through a summer yet, so we'll see. But yes, they can be temperature sensitive.

I have two in recessed downlights, but they are designed for that application, so no problems. And other than one downstairs bathroom, all of the lights in my house are CF. I had one that was humming right out of the box (I kept it, but on a fixture I don't use much), but the other dozen+ have been fine.

22. Mar 11, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

Well, regular fluorescents do, so why not?

That's the reason, btw, that we still see the old T12 lamps and magnetic ballast fixtures (that hum). Virtually all new tube fixtures being sold are T8/electronic ballast and don't hum or flicker because they run at a much higher frequency than the old T12s. But the T12s will persist for decades until people replace the fixtures.

Compact fluorescents also have electronic ballasts, so they also shouldn't hum/flicker.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorescent_lamp

Last edited: Mar 11, 2008
23. Mar 12, 2008

### Chi Meson

I have mostly CFs in my house. Many of them have much better color balance than the standard tube fluorescents. Still, I keep a few low-watt incandescent bulbs here and there. The combination of the green-blue dominant fluorescent and the red-orange dominant filament bulbs gives the most-natural light. It only takes about one 40 W incandescent bulb per three CFs to provide a pleasing overall light-cast.

Oh, yeah.... bounce that light off the ceiling whenever possible.

And stay away from halogens.

And say no to drugs.

24. Mar 12, 2008

### baywax

Bouncing light off the ceiling was the clinic's response to the suggestion that they get full spectrum lighting in place for the health of the staff and the patients. Mounting the fixtures that face the ceiling was a cost they could absorb as opposed to buying FS tubes over so many years. I wonder about this because, fluorescent lighting is proven to cause health issues and they are on all day and all night. There should be a warning label on the packaging not unlike cigarettes. Sometimes I don't get our society. Now smoking is banned within 6 metres of a doorway while trucks and cars can idle just 4 metres from most doorways.

Some people simply mix cool and warm fluorescent tubing and come up with a semi-full spectrum lighting situation. If we all used black lights our teeth would look pretty nice.-)

Last edited: Mar 12, 2008
25. Mar 12, 2008

### Chi Meson

That's silly. Diffusing light doesn't change the spectral output.

Dubious
They don't need to be.
No way are fluorescents anywhere near the danger-level of smoking or even secondhand smoke. Unless you are repeatedly breathing in the vapors of cracked fluorescent bulbs, on a daily basis, the "health issues" raised are insignificant in the face of the rest of our "health issues."

Nothing beats natural sunlight of course. The first step should be windows. Next step, light tubes.