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The short answer is yes, but with a few caveats. The CFL world is saturated with manufacturers who are rapidly releasing new products. First of all, not all self-ballasted lamps are rated for outdoor use, make sure that yours are. Second, take a look at the starting temperature. Most say either 0ºF or -20ºF.  You may pay a little more for the -20º lamps. The degree listed is the temperature at which the lamp will fire, or start. When the temperatures drop near the starting temp, the lamps will fire, but the light output will be diminished.

An individual unenclosed lamp will most likely never warm up.  A lamp inside of a lantern or a globe will, because the enclosure allows it to retain some of the heat.  I have been told by some commercial customers in very cold areas that they simply keep the lamps on 24/7.  That may not be seen as the most “green” approach, but it is still significantly more efficient to run a compact fluorescent lamp for 24 hours than an incandescent lamp for 12.

Brass Light Gallery is in Milwaukee.  It gets really cold here.  I have used a self-ballasted compact fluorescent lamp rated to 0 degrees Fahrenheit in the lantern outside of my home for the past couple of years.  At no point has it not fired.  If I ever reach a point where the -20° lamps won’t work, I won’t replace the lamp, I will relocate the home.

-Wade Koehler, Commercial Sales

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