I am looking for facts about fires caused by compact florescent bulbs.
The more I use them, the more dangerous they seem. It's bad enough
they never live up to their normal life expectency, but they also seem
dangerous as far as causing fires. A couple years ago I flipped on
the bathroom lights (two fixtures) with CF bulbs. I sat down on the
toilet when suddenly I heard a loud pop. One of the CF bulbs went
black and at that same moment smoke and sparks began blowing out of
the base of the CF. I got up and flipped off the switch before any
further damage occurred. Yesterday I went into my garage, where I
have 4 CF bulbs. When I flipped on the switch I heard a buzz that
sounded similar to an arc welder but not as loud. One of the lights
flickered and finally lit up. I was a bit puzzled and shut off the
lights and turned them on again. This time the same bulb made that
same sound and apparently died. It would no longer light up. When I
walked near that CF I could smell a burnt odor.
I have been lucky that I was able to be nearby when these occurred,
and it seems the problems happen when the lights are turned on.
However, I am finding these bulbs to be dangerous as far as a fire
risk. Because of this, I am going to be eliminating all of them and
going back to standard light bulbs. I'd rather spend a few dollars
extra per month on my electric bill than risk a fire.
Does anyone know of any facts about fires caused by CF bulbs?
On Sep 19, 12:43 pm, email@example.com wrote:
I can only offer an anecdote. A few weeks ago I had a 100 watt equiv.
compact fluorescent bulb break and start arcing. I shut it off
quickly, but it became wickedly hot. It was easily in the fire hazard
temperature range. I'm glad I was right there. I searched the net
about similar incidents without success.
It may have been a fluke, but I look forward to the day when there are
cheap LED bulbs that I can use as a replacement. You'd think they'd
make a product containing mercury (like CFs) a little more resistant
On Sep 19, 5:43 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Nothing per that experience but I have one CFL Marked SE201 15W 120v
60Hz. on desk in front of me.
The reason it was removed from use is because the ceramic (or ceramic
looking) base separated and the lighted part with some components
attached came loose.
This btw is not one of the 'curly' types/ It has four straight tubes
(well actually two tubes looped) each tube is about 7/16 in diam.
about 4 inches long that project straight up from the base. Overall
it's a shade over 6 inches long from tip of the screw in base to far
end of the fluorescing tubes. So it's physically about as long as one
of those incandescent bulbs that are often mounted horizontally above
a picture frame. The ceramic base through which the tubes emerge has
also crumbled slightly.
On other hand we have a plastic cased fluorescent hand inspection lamp
which seems to work well, its fully enclosed bulb flickers once or
twice and then comes on. Appears much safer in a garage or workshop
environment than an incandescent bulb with a hot filament inside a
glass bulb that could be broken.
While this was for its time of purchase a 'cheapie' at about $2 not
impressed with it. It does use less electrcity and it does not get hot
as does an incandescent. But this one definitely does not produce the
same amount of light as say a 60 to 75 watter, as claimed.
I suspect it is what I call a "dollar store junker", especially if it
has an icy daylight color. I have had a couple come apart that way on me,
one of them doing so even right out of the package.
In my experience, dollar store junkers produce anywhere from moderately
less light than claimed to less than 1/3 claimed light output, with none
outshining a better 40 watt "standard incandescent" by much or at all;
most claiming 40-125 watts incandescent replacement in my experience
underperformed a better 40 watt incandescent.
- Don Klipstein ( email@example.com)
<story of two CFL bulbs sparking snipped>
I've been using CFLs for 6-7 years and haven't experienced any problems
such as you've described. I suspect that if they were any higher-risk
overall the manufacturers would have been sued by now.
Were the two bulbs that died the same brand?
As for life expectancy...CFLs are still fluourescent, and as such the
more frequently you turn them on/off the shorter the lifespan. They're
best suited for lights that get left on for hours at a time.
One rule of thumb that I've read is that if the light will be needed in
the next twenty minutes or so it's better (from a pure financial
perspective) to leave it running than to turn it off and then back on.
Supposedly the increased lifespan makes up for the increased power
First I suggest that you take a look at any lamp you have and any CF
bulbs. Make sure it has the UL mark. If it does, I would have to suggest
that it is safe. Nothing is 100% but the UL mark means it has passed tough
Second there seems to be a problem with some of the higher wattage lamps
from one or more manufacturers as they are designed to burn only base down
and they have not all been properly marked. That has been changed, but
there still may be some on the shelves.
I have noted the same fire hazard.
plus dont use spray wax around a CF, if a little over spray gets into
the bulb spark and flames will result.
UL is NO guarantee of safety. I fix roll laminating machines in my
business. I noted a extreme safety hazard, after getting badly
shocked. I just touched a metal switch at the time and happened to be
ended up really grounded, laying on floor across room.
the manufacturer appeared dis interested, in this real hazard. the
metal part is mounted in a plastic bezel and handles line voltage. yet
its not grounded . could be easily grounded
called UL NOTHING happened even today.
no doubt it will be fixed when someone dies:(
I had a UL approved light set catch on fire.
UL isnt as safe as it should be.
but its no better than the feds. I hapen to know how to easily get a
weapon on a plane. TSA caught the risk in one city but never bothered
to spread the word.
so I called my legislators office arlen spectre.
nothing happened and I would know if it did.
labels like UL and TSA are just that labels
On Wed, 19 Sep 2007 16:52:34 -0400, "Joseph Meehan"
If they are to be used "base down", where will someone use them?
Almost all light fixtures are used base UP, with a few that are
mounted horizontally such as many bedroom fixtures. About the only
place that "base down" exists is table lamps.
I should note that the one that blew sparks and smoke, was one of the
rare fixtures where the base WAS down. In the bathroom.
Both that have burned are GE brand. As far as someone mentioned about
the "Dollar Store" brands, that would most likely be the "LOA" (Lights
of America) brand. While other brands likely exist, I have never seen
any other brands besides these two.
I should note that if I complain, GE will send a coupon for a free
replacement, but that wont help after a house fire. I have gotten
several "free bulb coupons" from GE to date, but I have never gotten
the full life stated on the package from any of them. I only complain
in extreme cases, such as the ones that have smoked, and the ones that
burn out within a short time after purchase. I dont write the install
date on them, but probably should. However, since I am going to get
rid of them, I wont have to deal with this hassle any longer. I
already bought a few 4 foot florescent tube "shop lights" for my
garage. At least those are much safer, and still save on the electric
bill. But in the house, there is little option. Either hang an ugly
"shop light" or use standard bulbs.
As much as I have had problems with LOA, they look good to me compared
to the "dolar store brands".
The other 2 of the "Big 3" are Philips and Osram-Sylvania. Other
notable ones include Commercial Electric, Feit Electric, and N:Vision
(currently or recently among the most-promoted brands in the 2 major home
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Those in the US who have anecdotes, or more importantly, actual failed
should contact the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and submit
bulbs for inspection.
CPSC can be contacted at:
My quick count shows at least 3 folks in this thread claiming failed
possession of the failed parts indicating severe electronic / electrical
If you want to have a pessitve effect on what you perceive as a safety
contact the CPSC. Don't just piss and moan about the issue here.
Wanna bet 99% of the CFLs are made in China and 100% of
failed bulbs are Chinese made?
1. It's been several weeks. The bulb is long gone.
2. Even if I had it, I can't see going through the hassle of
submitting a bulb.
3. I wasn't too fond of dealing with the broken bulb at all,
considering the mercury content. I can't imagine what I'd have to do
to mail the bulb somewhere without getting fined by the EPA or some
other agency for who-knows-what.
This apparent issue about mercury! Salt is bad for you. You can also
drink yourself to death with drinking water. CFLs do contain mercury and
we do need to consider where it will be a major issue if we dispose of
many in landfills. Having one smash in the house is not an issue. Think
about the number of mercury thermometers we used to use and break
without us all going loopy. CFLs are not a health issue to the user;
they could possibly be to those involved in the manufacture and could
also be to future users of the planet if we do not dispose of sensibly.
They are not a hazard to the user!
ould there be millions of fluorescent tubes going to the landfill every
year? If not millions, many hundreds of thousands?
How many fluorescent tubes are there in major buildings?.What should be
done with them? Should we have hazardous waste companies that deal with
fluorescent lamps? How much would you pay extra for new lamps to offset
this extra cost?
If you go to a large hotel chain like the Hilton, you will find that all
the sconce lamps in the hallways have been replaced with CFLs. They said
it saves them millions of $ a year.
Some waste companies in the UK now collect fluorescent lights separately
from other wastes and apparently recover the mercury.
Actually for the last few years ( in the US) all fluorescent tubes and
other discharge bulbs ( unless they are the newer low mercury type, with
GREEN markings), are supposed to be recycled. At my job we use many thousand
a year, and yes, we do recycle all the non low mercury ones, we put them in
special containers and then they are picked up for mercury recovery..the
hazardous waste company we use for this is Safety clean. I don't pay the
bill but I understand it's actually quite expensive though, unfortunately.
"willshak" < email@example.com> wrote in message
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