Fluorescent Lighting Fixtures
Fluorescent lighting is a popular means of lighting kitchens and can be used elsewhere in your home. The light is produced by passing electricity through a glass tube which is coated with a phosphorous material and contains an inert gas, for instance argon.
The electrical current causes the phosphorous layer to emit light. Fluorescent lights remain cool so they are suitable for floor lighting or under cabines. They are long-lasting and more robust than other forms of light sources. Also they are very energy efficient and cheaper to run. However the light they produce is flat, stark and unflattering so they are used mainly as secondary sources in kitchens or to provide lighting in garages or workshops.
Compact Fluorescent Lighting - Dimmable Fixtures
Fluorescent lights have been reduced in size and reshaped to match standard light sources, both in terms of the size and light holder fittings. Therefore it is possible to use compact fluorescent lighting as an energy-efficient alternative to standard light fixtures.
Fluorescents need specially-designed dimmable controls. This can be done using a high-frequency dimmable ballast. A ballast is used to provide the correct start-up current thus eliminating the flicker usually associated with fluorescent lighting. If you require a dimmer switch, you need to specify this from the onset to ensure you get the correct ballast. Normally when a standard light source is dimmed, it produces a warmer light, but fluorescent remains cold to the eye and can look dull when dimmed. Colored tubes can be used to soften the effect of fluorescent bulbs but usually designers prefer to opt for incandescent lighting.
Strip fluorescent lighting is usually used in kitchens or bathrooms. Traditionally kitchens used strip fluorescent as their main light source but, because the light they produce is harsh and unflattering, it is preferable to use standard light sources for general lighting and use strip fluorescent fixtures for illuminating just the kitchen counter area. They are suitable for use under cabinets as they do not overheat and the bulbs do not blow easily. Strip lighting is also used in bathrooms to provide even lighting for mirrors. Shaving and vanity mirrors in particular can benefit from the presence of strip fluorescents.