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  • Longevity of CFL bulbs.... surprising.

    Yeah, CFLs are obsolete, but I have a few still in place.

    Mostly, I have had them fail faster than they were supposed to, typically in one to three years. The ones made for "Feit Electric", and sold as "Commercial Electric" brand at Home Despot I found to be the worst, often failing early with much spitting of burning particles out of the plastic enclosure.

    But, I just had one of the last holdouts fail. According to the date written on it, it was installed in Sept 2006, and it was in a lamp that gets used quite regularly, pretty much every day for some hours. Plus, it was a Home Despot "Commercial Electric" brand, made by/for Feit Electric, that didn't spit out anything when it failed. Go figure.

    The 11 year life span is certainly nothing to complain about. Wish they all had done that. I guess it falls under the "even a blind pig may find a truffle" category.
    1601

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

  • #2
    We still have several CFL bulbs, probably at least five years old. Recently had the first LED bulb fail after three years, and that was a Philips. My guess is that most of both types are made in China, so quality control issues may be responsible for many failures. Unreasonable claims for longevity probably raise expectations enough to cause disappointment.

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    • #3
      Another example of how science is going to save us. But somebody must have forgotten that mercury is toxic. How did those bulbs ever make it to market?

      If I sound bitter it is because I lit the whole friggin' place with them. I must have a couple hundred in place, no exaggeration.

      I can't really complain, they are probably lasting about 6 or 7 years. But it is the disposal that is ludicrous.

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      • #4
        I bet someone lobbied for them..at o e time, sounded like incandescent were being phased out.

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        • #5
          For those who miss the incandescent bulb.


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          • #6
            Probably my first Osram CFL bulb that I bought for my student dormitory lasted over 4 house moves and 12 years until I got bored of the slow turn-on and let it retire

            CFL's were very much still alive in Thailand just 2 weeks ago, imma guessing that its decent choice for year-round high temperatures where led's became unhappy pretty fast. (and Thailand has domestic CFL production...)
            Location: Helsinki, Finland, Europe

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            • #7
              I have one in an automatic dock light that burns all night long and is going on its 7th year.
              Salt, heat, humidity-- I must be lucky. It came from HD. Don't know the brand.
              Bill
              I cut it off twice and it's still too short!

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              • #8
                We have a couple of CFL lights at work to illuminate the parking lot. The photo eyes have long since gave up the ghost, so they run 24/7. We get about a year out of a set of bulbs.

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                • #9
                  My whole house is CFL yet as well as my work lights in the shop. LED are to expensive yet.
                  Andy

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                  • #10
                    Inside my house.
                    incandescent lights generate heat and so does my electric baseboards.
                    In winter when my lights are on a long time it is also cold.
                    In summer when the days are long it is bright enough long enough the lights get used less.
                    All the good old days.
                    Today I have saved so much electricity using efficient lighting that I can now get my monies worth out of my baseboard heaters.
                    Not so sure I have saved any money but hey I'm more efficient.

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                    • #11
                      I converted totally to GE Led's awhile back ---- my local wally world was having a close-out on them because they were not selling due to being too expensive, so they priced them dirt cheap to get rid of them and make room for a lesser brand, it was one of those lucky deals because at something like 60 cents a bulb they were not going to hang around long

                      so I got 40w and 60w equivalent in everything, about 30 bulbs

                      I thought id see my electric bill a little lower, ehh - maybe a little I guess but nothing real substantial although Im a light miser anyways

                      Was told on here long ago that CF's kinda "trick" the electric meters in the way they consume power so their actual watt ratings don't get registered the same, dunno but if so that could be the reason

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ironwoodsmith View Post
                        Another example of how science is going to save us. But somebody must have forgotten that mercury is toxic. How did those bulbs ever make it to market?

                        If I sound bitter it is because I lit the whole friggin' place with them. I must have a couple hundred in place, no exaggeration.

                        I can't really complain, they are probably lasting about 6 or 7 years. But it is the disposal that is ludicrous.
                        CFLs are like any other florescent and contain a very tiny little drop of mercury that is needed to get the lamp going. Your point fell on deaf ears among the not very deep thinkers that could not see beyond all the energy savings that banning incandescents would save. These people are all about grand gestures to "save the planet" and never stop to look at the concequences of their actions.
                        The reason CFLs were so prone to failure is that regular florescents have a separate ballast that is physically large and relatively expensive, compared to what is jammed into the base of a CFL. The ballast gets thrown out with the bulb.so it is as cheap as they can make it and with ridiculous size limitations. A curious hole in the law is they banned 100 watt bulbs and worked their way down. I can still buy 150 and 200 watt incandescents in my local supermarket.

                        Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

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                        • #13
                          I've either had them Last for quite a while, or some let out the magic smoke while I was screwing them in. Not much in between. Mine were however the Equate brand from Wal Mart.

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                          • #14
                            I thought they told us that they would last like 20 years.. And make our crops better, and make your auto get better mileage..and your wife look like she was 22 again..
                            I would feel like I was violating something, sticking a pigtailed shaped light object into the bulb holder on a vintage gas pump... 25 watts are getting hard to find., but usually there seems to be a lot of incandescents, even in a grocery store.

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                            • #15
                              I have never had any other CFL give this sort of longevity. ALL the others failed much sooner, between one and three years, typically. And, whatever the theoretical life is, most all seem to have failed when the circuit components failed, not necessarily the tube. It's the effect of making the cheapest possible circuit, using the cheapest components, and designing right to the edge as far as component ratings.

                              Mercury? There is far less in a CFL than in a regular tube of similar light output. Mercury costs money, they don't put in too much, you can be sure of that. The makers pinch the hundredths of a penny on price.

                              Originally posted by Robin R View Post
                              We still have several CFL bulbs, probably at least five years old. Recently had the first LED bulb fail after three years, and that was a Philips. My guess is that most of both types are made in China, so quality control issues may be responsible for many failures. Unreasonable claims for longevity probably raise expectations enough to cause disappointment.
                              As far as I know, every stinking one of them is made in china or a surrogate asian country. Probably the prototypes were made elsewhere. And the ones I have seen pretty much appear to be made using the "application note circuits" without much added research or design work. Possibly that is why they fail, the app note circuits are generally not optimized, they are "demonstration" circuits shown as "proof of concept", not usually extensively tested and proven.

                              Originally posted by A.K. Boomer View Post
                              .....
                              I thought id see my electric bill a little lower, ehh - maybe a little I guess but nothing real substantial although Im a light miser anyways

                              Was told on here long ago that CF's kinda "trick" the electric meters in the way they consume power so their actual watt ratings don't get registered the same, dunno but if so that could be the reason
                              Our bill is a LOT lower, but we've been using CFLs for perhaps 25 years, since the odd old ones that only were made as big bulky things with a fat base, and reduced size ballasts inside. Fluorescent lights have always been more efficient than incandescent, as well as being capable of better light quality.

                              We consistently show up with under half the electric usage of similar houses. Not all that is CFLs or LEDs, but it helps. We also do not have central A/C, and only use one window unit occasionally, and that is a big factor, but our usage also tracks in winter when A/C is not an issue except for a few with heat pumps.

                              As for tricking the meter, that's an urban legend. What they have (shared by many fluorescent lights, for different reasons) is a bad power factor. Most have a bad lagging PF due to the ballast. CFLs may be more capacitive (leading) due to the input capacitor after the rectifier. The meter is adjusted (for residential) to register actual watts, so the power factor is not an issue. Watts are converted into light (and heat), and it is certain that less power goes in for equivalent light output.
                              1601

                              Keep eye on ball.
                              Hashim Khan

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