Dimming LEDs and CFLs Made Easy-What You Should Know
Because of the ongoing incandescent light bulb phase out, people are seeking new, more energy-efficient sources. Screw-in Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs and Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) are great, energy-saving alternatives. LEDs and CFLs can be effectively dimmed, but there are some challenges and information you should know.


Dimming these bulbs saves even more energy and gives you the same kind of flexibility and control you expect from your incandescent bulbs. The bulbs will deliver excellent dimming performance when paired with a compatible dimmer, such as a Lutron C•L dimmer.

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Legislation – What is the “Light Bulb Law?”

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (sometimes called the “light bulb law”) set a new, energy efficient standard for light bulbs. Under this law, most incandescent bulbs can no longer be manufactured. New screw-based light bulbs will use fewer watts, and use less energy, to achieve the same level of light. Common household light bulbs that traditionally used between 40 and 100 watts will now use at least 27% less energy. The law took a phased approach, starting in January 2012, and was completely implemented by January 2014.


*Source: www.energystar.gov

What You Should Know About Dimming

You can effectively dim LED and CFL bulbs, but need to be armed with the right information. A few of the most commonly-asked questions about dimming different types of bulbs can be found below.

Are all LEDs and CFLs dimmable? No, look carefully at the bulb packaging. Dimmable bulbs will be labeled as “dimmable” on the package.

Do all LED and CFL light bulbs work with all dimmers? No, unlike incandescent bulbs that work with almost any dimmer, LED and CFL bulbs perform differently depending on the dimmer you install. You will need to select a dimmer designed specifically for dimmable LED/CFL bulbs. The Lutron CFL/LED bulb list makes it easy to choose the right dimmer/bulb combination. Lutron has tested all of the bulbs on this list and to ensure the best possible performance when they are used with a dimmer from our C•L dimmer collection. Check back often since this list is regularly updated as new bulbs are introduced.

Why is my bulb turning off/dropping off? Incandescent bulbs typically dim to very low levels. LED and CFL bulbs often have a more limited dimming range (which varies with by manufacturer) and as a result, the bulbs may turn off before the dimmer slider reaches the bottom. For best performance, choose a dimmer specifically designed for your bulb type. Lutron has done extensive testing on light bulb/dimmer compatibility, and has a list of compatible combinations for your reference.

Why doesn’t my LED/CFL bulb turn on when I turn on the dimmer? After being dimmed to a low light level and switched off, CFL/LED bulbs will sometimes not turn on until the dimmer is adjusted. This is referred to as “pop-on”. Pop-on can be especially problematic in a 3-way situation where lights can be turned on/off from different locations. The right dimmer/bulb combination can help alleviate this problem.

Why are my lights flickering? Dimmable LED and CFL bulbs can be affected by line voltage fluctuations. As your incandescent bulbs will sometimes dim or flicker when an air-conditioner or hair dryer is used, a dimmed CFL or LED may also flicker excessively (or turn off) in these situations. The right dimmer/bulb combination can help alleviate this problem.

Do LED and CFL bulbs change color when they are dimmed? Most LED and CFL clear bulbs do not change color when they are dimmed. To some people, the color looks slightly blue when dimmed to a low-light level because they are actually used to seeing incandescent bulbs change to an orange color at a low-light level.

What if I purchased a bulb that isn’t dimmable? You can use a standard LED or CFL bulb with any switch or occupancy sensing switch for on/off control. If you want to be able to adjust the lights for the right mood or ambiance, you will have to purchase a dimmable LED and CFL, available at your local home center, lighting showroom, or through your electrician or lighting designer.

Why doesn’t my LED and CFL bulb dim as low as my incandescent bulbs? Incandescent bulbs will typically dim lower than LED and CFL bulbs. The newest versions of dimmable LEDs can reach levels as low as 5%. To make sure you get the best possible dimming performance, choose the right dimmer/bulb combination.

Where do I find dimmable LED and CFL bulbs? They are available at your local home center, lighting showroom, or through your electrician or lighting designer.

I’m used to using a 75Watt or 60Watt incandescent bulb, how do I choose an equivalent LED/CFL bulb? Most LED/CFL bulb packaging will include information about wattage equivalents. For example, if you are looking for a replacement LED bulb for a 60Watt incandescent bulb, select a bulb that says, “60Watt replacement.” Also, be sure to look for the word “dimmable” on the packaging to ensure the bulb can be dimmed.

Any more questions? Contact our LED team of experts at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or call Lutron technical support, 24/7 at 1.800.523.9466.

What’s Next?

Are there more changes coming with LEDs and CFLs? Yes. The LED and CFL bulb market is changing quickly, and new bulbs are constantly being introduced such as Lumaris LED linear lighting with flicker-free dimming down to 1%. Lutron has a dedicated team of experts working to test these bulbs as they come out, and continues to offer you the best possible dimming choices.

How to choose the right light bulb
Lutron works with many bulb manufacturers each year to test hundreds of bulb models with our dimmers, ensuring reliable dimming performance. Lutron’s list of compatible bulbs is updated regularly as new bulbs are introduced to the market; check back frequently for the most recent information.

How to choose the right dimmer
Lutron controls help address common dimming issues and has developed a family of C•L products, offering many styles and colors, for control of dimmable LEDs and CFLs. By using advanced, patented technologies, these controls improve dimming performance on dimmable LEDs and CFLs compared to use with standard dimmers.


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