Saturday, February 16, 2013

Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) Underdelivering

Recently, we've had two compact fluorescent lights (CFL) burnout in less than two years.  This was surprising since the package claimed an 11 year life based on 3 hours of usage per day.  The bulbs that burned out were probably used 20 times max a week for less than an hour each time.  When I took the bulbs to a recycle, the bin was full.   I doubt many of these bulbs were 11 years old.

Since CFL bulbs cost 5-10 times more that incandescent light bulbs, the faster than expected burnout will make CFLs much more expensive.
While I haven't investigated in detail, I suspect that fluorescent lights work best when left on for long periods of time, versus being turned off and on several times a day.  The on/off cycling probably wears out the ballast, which is needed charge the gas.  

So I have an experiment running in the master bedroom closets, where the lights are turned cycled several times a day and are not on from more than 15 minutes at a time.  One closed has CFL light bulbs and the other one has incandescent light bulbs.  If my hypothesis is right, the CFL light bulbs will be the first to burn out.

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This is not financial or lighting advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

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1 comment:

Financial Independence said...

I found exactly the same but in our area sellers claim 8 year of life and they cost 4 times higher than normal lamp.

More over in the cold climate the savings are fictitious. Yes some of the electricity converted into heat - so what? You are doing it any way.

On a personal note I found the light generated by CFL less pleasant..