Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs about Indoor Sunshine® and Full Color SpectrumLight
Indoor Sunshine® is the closest match to natural sunshine. Natural sunshine itself is the blueprint for Indoor Sunshine. The light has a Full Color Spectrum™ that creates a beautiful white light plus proportionally balanced amounts of the essential UV-A and UV-B.


To show that the light is the full color spectrum, the light bulb package should list both CRI andKelvin ratings. If it doesn’t, it’s not full spectrum even though it may claim that it is.

The term, “full spectrum” is not a scientific term, but rather a marketing term. The product may produce colors of light throughout the entire spectrum, but as one lighting researcher said, they produce a “distorted or partial spectrum” light. We call our lights, Full Color Spectrum™, because they have all the wavelengths of color that natural sunlight does, just not as strong and intense.

You may find neodymium bulbs. Neodymium, a rare mineral, is put in the glass to absorb the yellow-green wavelengths. By absorbing the colors that our eyes perceive as glare, the light reduces eyestrain. Neodymium bulbs may appear purple when off and rose-colored when lit. They do not produce light throughout the full spectrum.

Color Rendering Index, or how the colors appear under man-made light compared with natural sunlight. Sunlight is 100 CRI. Indoor Sunshine light is 95 CRI.

Kelvin– Kelvin Color Temperature Scale refers to the appearance of the color of the light. The sun is rated 5500 K. Indoor Sunshine is rated 5500 K.

Typical CRI and Kelvin ratings are:

49 CRI 2800 K                Incandescent
56 CRI 3000 K                Warm white fluorescent light
68 CRI 4200 K                Standard cool white fluorescent light
90 CRI 5000 K                Daylight fluorescent light
93-95 CRI 5500 K                     Indoor Sunshine
100 CRI 5500 K              Outdoor Sunshine

Lumens — a measure of the total amount of visible light emitted by a source

Lux — one lumen per square meter

Our eyes see yellow-green as the brightest color. Think of safety jackets, fire trucks and fire hydrants, school buses and crossing signs, even sticky note pads. Yellow is also the first color we see as babies. So the scale for brightness measures the amount of yellow light emitted. We also perceive yellow as glare. However, yellow is the narrowest part of the color spectrum. In addition to the rods and cone cells in the eyes, the recently discovered ipRGC cells (intrinsically photosensitive Retinal Ganglion Cells) register only blue wavelengths. There must be a reason. Think of the predominance of the blue in the sky.

Indoor Sunshine lights are made from the highest quality blend of expensive rare-earth mineral phosphors. To be full spectrum, the light should emit all the wavelengths of light like a rainbow and in the same proportion as natural sunshine. The multiple wavelengths combine into white light. If just some of the wavelengths are present, the light has a partial or distorted spectrum.

LED lights are made with three light-emitting diodes – red, green and green. They appear to produce a white light, but the eye is “creating” the colors.

How much Indoor Sunshine light does someone need?
The amount of light needed depends on your sensitivity, the time of year, the amount of time spent outdoors in the sunlight, the geographic location, even skin type. Fair skin responses to less light (think of Scandinavians); darker and Asian skin requires more light.

Indoor Sunshine light can be used all day.

What’s the history of light and its effects?

In 1903, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Dr. Niels Ryberg Finsen “in recognition of his contribution to the treatment of diseases, especially lupus vulgaris, with concentrated light radiation, whereby he has opened a new avenue for medical science.”
In the 1940s when time-lapse photographer John Ott grew a pumpkin indoors under standard cool white lights for Walt Disney’s classic movie Cinderella, the female flower fell off the vine. When he changed the lights to “daylight white” lights, the male flowers fell off. He documented that plants and animals need all the colors of the rainbow and in the same balance as the rainbow. That information restarted investigation on the effects of light on life. Sunshine Sciences is continuing that research.

Will Indoor Sunshine light fade art or fabric?

No. It’s not nearly as strong as the sun. Sunlight at noon in the summer is 100,000 lumens. Our brightest Indoor Sunshine 30 wt spiral bulb gives 1750 lumens. Research has shown that it does support health however.

How long do they last?

Our compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are rated to last 10,000 hours,as long as 13 standard incandescent bulbs. It’s definitely a “green” product.

Our Guarantee: “You’ll love it or your money back. Guaranteed.”

Can I use Indoor Sunshine lights with a dimmer switch or rheostat when I have the switch completely on?

No. They would quickly burn out the light.

Do Indoor Sunshine CFLs fit standard fixtures?

Yes. CFLs fit into a standard screw-in base. The base or ballast can be up, down or sideways. However, the electronic ballast in the base of all CFLs is larger than the base of a standard light bulb. Some fixtures may need a base extender to connect to the power in the lamp. Other fixtures may need a larger harp, especially for the 3-way bulbs. (A harp is the metal piece that holds up the lamp shade.) Both the base extender and the harp are available at local hardware stores for $3–5, if needed.

Do they save electricity?

Yes. The brightest bulb uses only 30 watts of electricity and gives 150 watts of light, saving 75% in energy. The CFL bulb is Energy Star® rated and UL and C-UL (Canadian UL) approved.

My fixture says to use a maximum 40 watts. Can I use an Indoor Sunshine bulb in it that gives 150 watts?

Yes. The brightest bulb uses only 30 watts of electricity. The wire and the fixture will not overheat. The bulb will get warm but not hot. The bulb provides the equivalent of 150 watts of light.

Can I use Indoor Sunshine spiral bulbs anywhere?

Yes – almost. Just don’t use them with a dimmer switch. The irregular electrical current would quickly burn out the ballast. And we don’t suggest using them outside because the ballast would get too cold in the winter to start the light. Remember, it’s Indoor Sunshine.

Why does Indoor Sunshine cost more than other CFLs?

Indoor Sunshine spiral bulbs have more expensive phosphors (the rare earth minerals that make the light) inside the little tube and have an electronic ballast that lasts longer while it reduces energy use.

Does the light flicker?

No. It has a quiet electronic ballast that cycles the light off and on more than 20,000 times a second.
Can I get a tan with it?

No. It has the same color balance as the sun but is not nearly as strong.

Can I use it with a shade?

Yes. It won’t change the light quality from the bulb. However, if you put a green shade over it, the light coming through the shade will look green, of course.

Is Indoor Sunshine good for my children, plants and pets?

Yes. A preliminary study shows that Indoor Sunshine light creates a smarter immune system as measured by white blood cells. Plants grow toward the light and pets come to be near the light. People have told us that their pets choose to sleep under the Indoor Sunshine light and that birds start singing. We say they’re Good for You. Good for the Planet.®

Tell me about daylight bulbs.

The term “daylight” does not indicate full spectrum light. Daylight bulbs are 6500 K, which (to us) looks like an arctic or Martian blue-white light. It does not have the wavelengths to make a true white light.

What about neodymium bulbs? The package calls them full spectrum.

The mineral neodymium in the glass absorbs most of the yellow from the hot tungsten wire in an incandescent bulb or from the Light Emitting Diodes in an LED. The resulting light appears rosy. Looking across the color spectrum, the light emission is low in violet and blue. They have a pleasant rose-colored light but, in our opinion, should not be called full spectrum. Natural sunshine itself is the blueprint for Indoor Sunshine.

Please tell me the specifications.

Watts Used, Light Equivalents and Bulb Sizes

Watts Light Output Glass Width Ballast Width Height with screw-in base Lumens Est. Cost Savings per CFL
15 60 1.7” 1.6”(1 9/16”) 5” 825 $45
25 120 2.4” 2.0675”(2 1/16”) 5.5” 1450 $95
30 150 2.5” 2.125”(2 1/8”) 5.5” 1750 $120
3-way 75-100-150 2.75” 2.34”(2 5/16”) 6.9” 1800 $120

What about mercury?

Mercury is an essential component in all fluorescent products, whether they are long tubes or compact fluorescent lights. The mercury is sealed inside the tube. The elemental mercury in a CFL (about 4 mgs, about the amount that would cover the tip of a ballpoint pen) is less toxic, some say not at all toxic, than neurotoxic methylmercury produced by coal-fired power-plant emissions. Using an energy-saving CFL creates a net reduction in toxic mercury in the environment.

Electronic Ballasts

A solid state electronic ballast has become available in recent years. This ballast is lightweight and generates very little heat. The electronic ballasts that we recommend operate at 50,000 Hz, rather than the standard 60Hz of magnetic ballasts. The high frequency cycling effectively eliminates flickering and humming.

Some of the advantages of electronic ballasts:

  • Use 25-30% less energy
  • Increase the lifespan of lamps
  • Longer lamp and ballast life reduces associated maintenance costs
  • Reduced heat generation reduces air conditioning costs
  • High frequency operation of 50,000 Hz eliminates flicker and hum
  • Flicker-free light reduces eye strain and fatigue
  • Electronic ballasts give off very low levels of EMFs (Electromagnetic Fields)

Magnetic Ballasts

The standard ballast used the last few decades has been a magnetic type, which produces negative side effects and is more expensive to run than the newer electronic ballasts.

  • Magnetic ballasts operate at 60Hz, or cycles per second, the frequency of the AC voltage they run on. This means that each lamp switches on and off 120 times per second, resulting in a barely perceptible flicker and a noticeable hum. These ballasts are frequently implicated in Sick Building Syndrome. About 25% of the people are noticeably sensitive to ballast flicker and hum and can become physically ill, with symptoms such as headaches, nausea, itching and burning eyes, tension, eye fatigue, and general fatigue. The flickering light increases stress hormones produced by the adrenals.
  • The 60 Hz cycling also shortens the life expectancy of the lamps, increasing their cost.
  • The most commonly used rapid-start magnetic ballast draws 2-3 watts even when the lamp is switched off, a sizable expense in a building with many lamps. This ballast draws current even when the fluorescent lamps are removed.
  • Magnetic ballasts have a relatively short life span.
  • During the final 30% of the ballast’s lifespan, it consumes the same amount of energy but produces far lower light levels.
  • Magnetic ballasts give off high levels of EMFs (Electromagnetic Fields) which may increase the risk of cancer.
  • Magnetic ballasts produced prior to 1978 contain PCBs, a known carcinogen.
  • Because magnetic ballasts operate at 60Hz per second, they can cause a stroboscopic effect with any machinery that has moving parts, such as pulleys, gears or saws, which run at speeds that are a multiple of 60Hz. The stroboscopic effect will cause the machine to appear motionless, which can be a deadly hazard.

To verify which type of ballast is currently installed in a given fixture without having to take it apart, look at the type of bulb that is in the fixture. A T12 tube uses a magnetic ballast; a T8 tube requires an electronic ballast.

Lighting efficiency upgrades pay for themselves in less than two or three years. Plus, workers are happier, healthier and more productive.

How do I dispose of the lights?

While CFLs are not legally hazardous waste, we know that it is best for the environment to dispose of them properly. Many hardware stores will recycle them for you. For the latest information, please call your local waste-disposal company or look on the Internet at,, or