CFL lifespan

I've been using CFLs for several years now, and I've found that they have about the same lifespan as an incandescent bulb, despite claims to the contrary. Seven year warranty? Whatta joke. I went back to incandescent in a few places because I got tired of the CFLs burning out.
What are others experiences with CFLs? How long do they last for you?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I haven't replaced one yet. It's been a few years since I switched over.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

CFLs in my house range in age from 1-5 years old and most are used daily for a couple of hours or so. No burnouts at all to date. I do buy only CFLs that are Energy Star listed though.
TKM
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have replaced quite a few of the older ones which did not last more than a year. My newer ones are still going after 2 years. I had to return some recently to HD because the entire tube did not get energized, (only the top half of the spiral was glowing). The guy at the store gave me a fight over returning 6 bulbs all of which I claimed were defective, eventually he caved but probably never believed me. I had 2 in my porch lights outdoors that lasted 4 years through 4 sub-zero winters. If they dont last just return them for a refund.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
RickH wrote in part:

Only half the spiral tubing glowing?
I have seen a few look somewhat like that - about half the spiral glowing much more dimly than the other half. That problem does fix itself after a minute or two of warmup.
The first time a CFL is used after it is put in place, it may take several minutes - but it usually takes just 1 or 2 minutes.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

On all the time, 6 months seems to be the lifespan. If they were only on 1.7 hours per day, perhaps they would last for the full 7 years.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Keep the reciept and get ones with a 7 yr warranty.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Reverend Natural Light wrote:

Most that I see running 24/7 last a year or two.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have them in buildings on photocell so they are on about 13 hrs a day avg, the HD brand has had one failure in 2 years with near 20 in use and that fixture was closed so I bet the heat got it. CR is doing a longevity test and found Feit? failing. Its an ongoing life test to verify hours they last. HD gives a 7 or nine year warranty and I plan on using it. In an enclosed fixture that gets hot they wont last.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In Consumer Reports tests, some were better than others but most held up to the claims. Remember that 7 years may be just 4 hours of use a day in the fine print.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

They last long in my experience. With the following exceptions, most of which can be avoided, most of the ones burning out on me have given 3,500-4,000 hours of service first.
Now, for the ones dying young:
1. All too many Lights of America ones. (I have purchased only one since 2002 as a result, and it is a 13 watt spiral - and it flickers once warmed up when used in a ceiling light fixture.)
2. GE spirals from around 2001-2002 of wattage 25 watts. I think there was a bad run around then of that wattage. I also had a L.O.A. 25-watt spiral from that time, and it was one of my many L.O.A. early failures.
3. One of the 7 13 watt Sylvania spirals I have used died prematurely in a ceiling fan fixture. Another developed a bad connection after about 3,500 hours in a small enclosed fixture.
4. The stool specimens that dollar stores and their suppliers call "energy saving bulbs" have a significant rate of dying young and/or spectacularly in my experience, along with a 100% rate of falling short of their claimed light output.
5. Many CFLs, especially over 23 watts, overheat easily in recessed ceiling fixtures, other downlights, and small enclosed fixtures.
6. Most are not rated for use with dimmers.
========================================== By-and-large, a CFL is more likely to give good long life if it is of one of the "Big 3" brands (GE, Sylvania or Philips), and/or if it has the Energy Star logo.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I changed to CFL's in a few places in our shop and office that have lights on 24/7. I've gotten well over two years on a couple of them. Others I'm not sure about, but over 18 months.
That 7 years is based on some number of hours a day so I'd say I've come close to it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Avoid FEIT and LOA CFL's. Don't use CFL's in enclosed fixtures or those whose use has the bulbs upside down. That tends to trap the electronic ballast heat and shortenes their life by a factor of two or three.
BOb Hofmann
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Avoid FEIT and LOA CFL's. Don't use CFL's in enclosed fixtures or those whose use has the bulbs upside down. That tends to trap the electronic ballast heat and shortenes their life by a factor of two or three.
BOb Hofmann
****************************************************
The ones I'm mentioned are three with base up, one base down. Has not been a problem.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

We had awful results (like, 5 yrs ago?), and gave up on them. Retrospectively, we suspect: - Bad product (probably Feit, I don't remember). Not 'Dollar-store' stuff, but HD 'near the checkout line' sales, so maybe just as bad. - Mounted upside down (in open basement fixtures). - Excessive on/off switching.
G
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
George wrote:

While I am not seeing "5 Year" life I am seeing good lifespans. And when my Feits would burn out I called them and would get new ones. I think the new ones are better. They definitely last longer right side up in open fixtures.
Lou
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.