Creative Communities of the World Forums

The peer to peer support community for media production professionals.

Forums Lighting Design Warning not to touch the glass on 135W CFL bulbs?

  • Warning not to touch the glass on 135W CFL bulbs?

     Ian Brown updated 5 years, 8 months ago 3 Members · 5 Posts
  • Ian Brown

    July 2, 2015 at 11:10 am

    I have just bought a simple lighting kit with 2 x 135W CFL bulbs (see photo).

    Recently I read that you should not handle the glass but don’t know exactly why as there could be at least 2 reasons:-

    1. A fingerprint may dramatically shorten the life as with Quartz Halogens etc.

    2. The mechanical force of screwing the bulb in whilst holding the glass could break it.

    I suspect the second is the true reason but I am paranoid about touching the glass in case the first is also true.

    Can these bulbs be safely handled by the glass with “naked” fingers (as long as it is not used to screw them in)?

  • Todd Terry

    July 2, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    I’ve never heard of any reason not to touch flo tubes, whether they be CFL or otherwise.

    Skin oil would certainly have little to no effect on them, unlike halogen, HMI, or other “hot” burning blubs. While I never ever ever touch my HMI globes, I’ve handled all kinds of flo tubes for years, never with any ill effects… or even heard of any (nor have I heard that advice before).

    Yeah, you might snap the tube if using it to screw or unscrew it (grab it by the base), but there’s not going to be any danger in touching the tube.

    It’s probably best not to handle it any more than you have to, but I certainly don’t think you have to be militantly vigilant about it like you do with hot bulbs.

    I think any warnings not to touch it for fear of damage/disaster are either just someone being waaaaay overly cautious, or simply an old wive’s tale.


    Todd Terry
    Creative Director
    Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

  • Mark Suszko

    July 2, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Both. While not as dramatic a problem as with halogens, you have to consider that the flo tube is much thinner than the quartz envelope of a hotter Halogen light to begin with, and this one is drawn out to quite a length as well, if you wereto “unwrap” it. The point where the tubes meet the base is susceptible to mechanical stress, no doubt. Thermal stress, from the grease-stained area heating and cooling at a different rate, creates a stress across the entire length of the tube.

    It’s good practice to just use the cotton glove in all cases, and handle only by the base.

  • Todd Terry

    July 2, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    I refuse to believe that. Live a little, Mark! Touch those bulbs with your bare hands as naked as a newborn! Giggle with the unapologetic naughtiness of it all!

    Honestly… I’ve had tons of flo bulbs “go bad” over the last 2+ decades, but I’ve personally never had one break or “explode” during use (nor ever heard of that happening to anyone), which is the danger of skin oil on high-temp bulbs.

    I guess it could happen though, anything is possible. I’d say the risk of that though is so minimal as to be immeasurable.

    Personally I just live on the crazy wild-man edge though, and use my bare hand like an animal. No ill effects……. yet.


    Todd Terry
    Creative Director
    Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

  • Ian Brown

    July 2, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Thanks for both your responses.

    A short time ago I managed to contact a shop specialising in these bulbs and was assured that the advice was purely for preventing mechanical damage when screwing in the bulb.

    They said there was no problem with fingers touching and handling the glass other than making it mucky . . . but as we are not likely to be draining the oil in our car engines at the same time, there should be nothing to worry about!

Viewing 1 - 5 of 5 posts

Log in to reply.

We use anonymous cookies to give you the best experience we can.
Our Privacy policy | GDPR Policy