CFL Bulbs that really last for 5 Years

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by DonL, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    do they come with the label that says it contains items that are known by the state of CA to cause cancer like everything else has?
  2. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    I think they only put that on the packaging that we buy.

    In California their light bulbs say "May cause Pregnancy if turned Off"
  3. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    That is funny Don.
  4. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    It amazes me that a lot of the products you see on the Internet are not available for sale in California.

    I am surprised that they are even allowed CFLs.
  5. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    Interesting point. They label motel hallways for dangerous lead poisoning, [doorknobs??] but the CFLs with mercury get no label or warnings. Pack of fricking morons run this state.
  6. capecod

    capecod New Member

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    This is part of a quote, an editorial in our little local paper,,,,,,"Victory of sorts for environmentalists blinded by ideology, but a mistake from any other perspective."
  7. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    That sounds about right...
  8. capecod

    capecod New Member

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    Thinking ahead,,,,,,,we replaced all the 4 foot fluorescent bulbs in the big fixtures in our cellar over my husband's workbenches, just to make sure that we got the good ones before the overzealous tree huggers got to messing with these.
  9. Dana

    Dana In the trades

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    It takes only about 1000 CFLs to add up to the amount of mercury in your old round Honeywell T-stat with the mercury switch. The exposure you'd get from smashing a CFL and grinding it up under foot to ensure that ALL the mercury was in the air, and you closed the windows & doors for a week long nap would be roughly equivlant to eating nothing but tuna sandwiches for a coupla weeks. If instead you cleaned it up quickly and double bagged it, the exposure for the cleanup guy is about a tuna sandwiches worth.

    Most CFLs sold in capecod12's MA are subsidized by the utilities in some way.

    Nearly all CFLs in the world are made in China, and most will last several years if used in a non-abusive environment. In recessed lights, base up they'll crap out sooner by cooking the ballasts, or wrecking the glue, particularly with 18W+ versions. (A typical 100W replacement is 23W.) But side burnouts like that are pretty rare, and SFAIK non have resulted in a house fire- just a fizzle & flash followed by the stink of burning electronic. No mercury is released unless you break the twisty-glass.

    Edison base fixtures are designed to isolate the heat of the incandescent bulb from the combustible building materials, keeping your house from catching fire, which is exactly the OPPOSITE of what you want to do for the longevity of CFL & LED replacement bulbs. But despite that they just keep on going, if you have decent power quality and don't abuse them. I lost one to an event where a tree limb came down on the power lines and welded one of the phases to the neutral entering my house, but that did in a DVD player too, and a zone relay on the heating system. I have many that have been in service for a decade or more. I end up replacing linear fluorescents more often than CFLs. In ~20 years of CFL use I've broken only the glass open on one (playing roller hockey in the basement. :) ) YMMV.
  10. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    I hope that you won the hockey game Dana, Maybe had to take a timeout ? lol

    I do not worry about the Mercury or the Lead in many products, I just try not to eat them. I do like Tuna tho.

    When I was in school we would play with Mercury, It is some cool stuff.

    Can't count the times when the Doctor put the Mercury thermometer in my mouth.

    I do think that the electrical in the CFLs play out before the Gas does, as does in the florescent tubes.

    It is hard to dissipate heat when there is no place for it to go but IN.
  11. capecod

    capecod New Member

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    Oh, Mercury, good old Hg, I have a couple of test tubes (with covers) full of it here in the house from old science projects.
    But dont plan to eat or drink it either. How about some swordfish, we eat it when ever a fresh one comes in.
    Got the old Honeywell thermostat too. Those old mercury switches still work without flaw, 50+ years in our living room, I brush the dust off it once in a while.

    But I do not want any lights that would cook off my house, which those 2 would have loved to do if I had not been in the same room.
    Interesting to know what works well and what doesnt.
  12. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    Yep. And the bulbs I use have between 46-70% of the old 5 mg average.

    CFL's actually reduce the amount of mercury in the environment because burning coal for the extra consumption of incandescents results in more mercury emission than a CFL...even if one didn't recycle any of the CFL's.

    I've had one ballast fry so far, with the sweet, acrid burning plastic insulator smell. It was on my oldest set of bulbs, and was a known issue with them, although none of them caused fires that I'm aware of. It gets the attention, but is less of a fire hazard than a hot incandescent touching a flammable material...which is perhaps more common from what I've seen.
  13. Dana

    Dana In the trades

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    The primary failure mode of CFLs and linear fluorescents is the breakdown of the filaments inside the tubes. The filaments are necessary to pre-heat the mercury into sufficient vapor that it can strike an arc at a suitably low voltage. Once it's arcing nicely and staying warm the filament current is reduced. The "instant on" versions fail quicker due to rapid heat-up thermal-shock, and with anything it's more about the number of turn-on cycles than the total number of hours. They last nearly forever if you never turn them off, but if you flash on/off 1000 times an hour you'll be lucky if it lasts more than a coupla weeks. The very low power cold-cathode CFLs don't have filiments, and have rated lifespans similar to LEDs, and are sometimes used in flashing displays because they outlast incandescents by a good factor.
  14. capecod

    capecod New Member

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    This is also very interesting, as we dont leave lights on when we leave a room. So we turn them on and off lots more than many other people do. We live in an area with almost no light pollution, so our eyes are not wanting bright rooms. Maybe that is a problem too. Thanks for letting us know that this is another drawback for those lights.
    The more I read about the doggone things, the more I am glad Ive stockpiled my 100watt ones.
  15. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    What is strange is that I've seen nearly the opposite effect with CFL's. The crappy GE's that are far from instant on have been short lived. This was true even when they were turned off/on only about once/day (I don't think I have any of the GE 60W equivalents left for this reason...they all burned out rapidly being used as "nightlights" for the kids.) The instant on types I've used have been long lived. And I've been keeping quite a few in short duration services like garage door openers, bathrooms, closets, etc. I've seen high failure rates with incandescents in this kind of service, but so far I haven't seen that with instant on CFL's.
  16. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    I have used the same type CFL bulb in a dual fixture and one quit working much earlier than the other.

    I think it is a shooting match, as to why they quit working.
  17. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    Hope you've got a huge stockpile, because the thing that kills incandescents the fastest is exactly what you describe. And that failure rate is many times worse than a CFL. The filament in an incandescent has a vapor pressure. Every time you flip the switch and the bulb cools, a little bit of the filament ends up deposited on the glass of the bulb. Eventually it fails.

    Back when I still lived on the farm I recall the most likely time for a standard bulb failure was switching them on in cold weather. When I was off at college and the farmhouse was empty and cold, I could just about count on losing a bulb every time I went in and flipped on a few switches. I'm not sure how much of it was extra material being lost to the colder bulb surface, how much was thermal cycling of the element, or if it briefly pulled more amps because it was colder and had less resistance.
  18. capecod

    capecod New Member

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    Gee, thats interesting, as we have some bulbs which have lasted for so long that they get dirty from dust. I forget to dust them when Im doing housework, and if our wood stove is being used a lot the livingroom bulbs do get that fine gray dust on them.
    From what Ive observed, the CFL bulbs burn out way way quicker than the old ones.
    Yes, I have 2 boxes of various sizes, mostly 100 and 75s and a few 3way ones in the cellar.
    The bulb in our new garden shed, has lasted for years and years. And our outside spotlights, seem to go for ever.
    So I am sticking with the old bulbs until maybe someday there will be a newer and better technology. LED bulbs will probably be the way to go.
    http://eartheasy.com/live_led_bulbs_comparison.html#d
    Just spotted this site, has some interesting stuff. Nice charts too,,,,,I love the first paragraph, here is the quote,,,,,,,,
    "LED light bulbs will eventually be what we use to replace incandescent bulbs – CFLs are a temporary solution to energy-efficient lighting. The reason LEDs have not yet displaced CFLs from the market are twofold: the first generation LED bulbs had a narrow and focused light beam, and the cost of the LED bulbs was too high."
  19. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    Incandescant bulb filaments do vaporize gradually over time, yes, but each time you turn one on, the inrush current is tremendous compared to the rated wattage. For instance, this morning I measured the resistance of 2 brand new incandescant bulbs; one 40 watt measured 26 ohms and the 100 watter measured 9 ohms.

    That means at 115 volts, for a very brief time, the 40 watt bulb will draw 4.42 amps (508 watts), and the 100 watt bulb will draw 12.78 amps (1470 watts) if my math is correct. The filaments heat up practically instantly, but for that very brief moment there is a tremendous shock to the filament, which I am sure does it no good. An incandescant bulb in my experience always fails when it is turn on. I have never seen one fail from being left on continuously. ON:pLINK! GONE!
  20. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    I shot one once with a BB gun while it was on and it went out, does that count Hee, Hee, Haa, Haa
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