Good Questions: CFL Bulbs and Touch Lamps

Good Questions: CFL Bulbs and Touch Lamps

Gregory Han
Apr 9, 2009

Unplggd reader TheGreenCat writes in with a lighting question:

I've got a cheap touch lamp with 2 bulbs in it. This is a generic on/off lamp and not one that is dimmable or has several levels. A few months ago one of the incandescent bulbs burned out and I replaced it with a CFL. The lamp continued to work fine. Last night the other incandescent bulb burned out and I replaced it with a second CFL (so the lamp now has only 2 CFLS in it). It no longer works as a touch lamp and I need to unplug it to turn it off...

My questions are: 1. Why does it no longer function as a touch lamp with the CFLs in place? 2. Is there an easy fix for this (other than using incandescents again)? That is, is there some kind of plug with a switch I can use on this lamp now? The outlet is not conveniently located so just plugging the lamp into a power strip is not going to be a good fix for me. Thanks! TheGreenCat

Strange, one works but two is too much? TheGreenCat, was the second bulb from the same manufacturer, same wattage? Even though your lamp is not a dimmable model, it is advised that you only use dimmable style CFL bulbs. Replace both bulbs with models marked for touch lamps or dimming and see if that solves the problem.

Another solution is to use something like the Belkin's Conserve Energy-Saving Surge Protector to provide remote control on/off options form a distance. We use this in our apartment for secondary lighting and it's convenient up to a 60 ft range while also providing surge protection. A bargain bin "Clapper" style on/off adaptor may also be sufficient for your needs. But try the dimmable CFL bulbs first...it should work!

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