Saying Goodbye To CFL Lamps – What Next?

January 16, 2024

A Bright New Era in Lighting

The landscape of lighting is undergoing a transformative shift, and at the forefront of this change is the phase-out of CFL lamps. Just like their linear fluorescent brothers and sisters, the long standing compact fluorescent lamps will be a less frequent siting here in the UK. Let’s take a closer look why.

Understanding CFL Lamps: A Flashback

To comprehend the significance of this shift, let’s first take a trip down memory lane and revisit the era when Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) dominated the market. Compact florescent lamps (bulbs) date back to the 80s which gives you some idea of why they have reached end of life.

Times change and new technology comes along to replace old technology just like any other industry. The same happens in lighting which is why you may find replacing an old CFL lamp in your fitting isn’t as straight forward as you may have thought.

The Driving Force Behind the Phase-Out

What led to the decision to phase out CFL lamps? The government has put a stop to fluorescent lamps and tubes due to their mercury content and inefficient energy labels. Mercury and the environment don’t exactly sing from the same hymn sheet so the phase out was bound to happen at some point.

They were once considered energy efficient when compared to their incandescent and halogen cousins. They were once the new kids on the block and now there’s a new kid on the block as we fast forward to today.

LED Lighting: Illuminating The Future

As we bid adieu to CFLs, LED lights emerge as the torchbearers of the future. LED is nothing new considering it’s been around for years, but the import thing to understand is the technology and cost has evolved considerably.

LEDs used to cost considerably more to manufacture when they first came to the mainstream market around 2008. LED has actually been around longer than CFL but it’s taken much longer to fine tune the costs vs performance balance to appeal to consumers.

Consumer Impact: Navigating The Change

How does the phase-out affect consumers? In simple terms, if you have down lights or exterior type luminaires that use compact fluorescent lamps such as the commonly found 26w PL-C in both 2pin and 4pin variants. You will probably soon find out you can’t buy them in shops or even over the counter at your local electrical wholesaler.

And if you do, then they’ll have an inflated price attached to them which is likely to be much more than when they were once in large scale production.

What Should I Do If I Can’t Find Replacement CFL Lamps?

If you are completely stuck and you can’t find the CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) you need, feel free to get in touch with our expert customer service team who can help. We have large ex-stock of various CFL lamps and fluorescent tubes still available at a reasonable price.

We can also help you plan the switch to LED free of charge. It’s not as difficult as you may think and there are lots of options on the market since the shift towards LED has taken over.

Is It Illegal To Still Use CFL Lamps?

Not yet, no. You can still use them legally if you still have them. The ban is to stop production of them from September 2023 onwards.

Other FAQs About Compact Fluorescent Lamps

1. Can I replace my CFLs with another wattage?

If you have CFL lamps with a screw or bayonet cap then yes, you can as they work directly off a 220-240v mains power supply. If you have CFL lamps with a special cap with 2pins or 4pins, then no. You must replace the wattage like-for-like as the cap type is different for each wattage.

2. Can I buy an LED version of my 2P/4P CFL lamp?

Leading manufacturers such as Philips and Ledvance have manufactured LED retrofit versions of compact fluorescent lamps. The only downside is the cost and other elements to consider in the fittings. CFL luminaires with 2pin and 4pin lamps have control gear to operate the lamps.

If this is faulty then the LED replacement lamps won’t work and therefore increases the costs once again. It’s generally much cheaper and beneficial to replace the full fitting to LED. Our Anillo LED Circular Downlights are designed to simply replace CFL Downlight fittings for example.

3. Will the phase-out lead to increased costs for consumers?

While there might be an initial investment in transitioning to LED lights, the long-term energy savings outweigh the upfront costs. The cost for ex-stock CFL lamps is likely to increase though, yes. Companies with stock are likely to hold on higher margins to those who need them.

4. How can I dispose of old CFL lamps responsibly?

Given the environmental concerns, it is advisable to take them to your local waste disposal centre (tip) where they will have designated sections for lighting which contain mercury and glass.

Conclusion: A Brighter Tomorrow

In conclusion, the phase-out of CFL lamps marks a pivotal moment in the history of lighting. Getting on board with LED technology not only ensures a brighter and more energy-efficient future but also aligns with the global commitment to sustainability.

The downside as an end user is you may find you can’t find a CFL replacement lamp and you may have to bite the bullet and invest in an LED upgrade to keep your light fittings illuminated for the foreseeable. If you need help, feel free to get in touch!