Recessed Light Eating Bulbs

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Doesn't mean they last forever, though. :-) But they *do* have a much longer life than incandescent bulbs.

Yep. Same light output, with a *lot* less heat - which means that they use a lot less electricity, too, about 75% less.

The lifespan is going to be about five or six times as long as an incandescent lamp. If you're paying more than $4 each for your incandescents, the CF is a better buy *solely* on the basis of the cost of the lamps. When you figure in the savings in electricity costs over the life of the bulb, the CF is a *huge* money saver.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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How about "reflector flood" compact fluorescents of size larger than R16 if they fit in your fixture?
The number after the R (or other bulb shape designation) in the USA usually means diameter in 1/8's of an inch. R16 is 2 inches in diameter, and R40 is 5 inches in diameter.
Look for larger sizes should they fit. Since the tubing of a compact fluorescent is bigger than an incandescent filament, you need a larger reflector to get the same optical properties. I do suggest seeing if the largest reflector size reflectorized compact fluorescent works for you.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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Please note some things about using compact fluorescents in recessed ceiling fixtures, downlights, etc:
1. Compact fluorescents produce more non-radiant heat than incandescents of similar wattage, although usually less than that of incandescents of same light output. For example, a 42 watt compact fluorescent makes the fixture hotter than a 60 watt incandescent does, although not as hot as a 150 watt incandescent that the 42 watt CF approximates in light output.
2. Compact fluorescents do not take temperature extremes as well as incandescents do. Excessive heat can reduce life, dim them, and adversely affect their color and color rendering properties.
Many compact fluorescents are not even rated for use in recessed ceiling fixtures. Two that I have known to be rated for use in recessed ceiling fixtures are the Philips SLS 15 and 20 watt, and notably not higher wattages of this product line. (It's been a few years since I last checked.) The 15 and 20 watt SLS are available with snap-on R30 (3.75 inch diameter) and R40 (5 inch diameter) snap-on reflectors. The R40 version is not quite as good optically as an incandescent floodlight, and the R30 version is more severely compromised. The 20 watt has raw light output about that of 75 watt incandescents, although in floodlight duty with the R40 reflector may be closer to 60 watt unless the lamp count is large enough that you benefit from beams spreading into each other. The 15 watt version has raw light output about that of 60 watt incandescent.
As for other compact fluorescents in heat buildup situations: It appears to me that you usually get away with it with wattages up to 23 watts, and not with wattages of 24 watts or more. (For one thing, the 23 watt version of spiral units appears to me an improved version of 24 and 25 watt ones that did not do as well before.) I do expect that 26 watt and higher wattages will run into more heat trouble than wattages 23 watts or less. I do expect that most models 13 watts or less (with light output at most on a good day about that of a 60 watt "standard" incandescent) will run reasonably well in fixtures that accumulate heat.
My compact fluorescent "top page" is http://www.misty.com/~don/cfx.html
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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KTwo wrote:

I agree that heat would be the first thing I would check. I would also check the contacts to make sure they are clean and making solid contact. I assume there is no water getting splashed on the lamp? Vibration can also be a killer. Does a disposal dishwasher or something above the lamp on the next floor cause vibration?
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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Joseph Meehan wrote:

I don't think I have a water problem. Even though the master bathroom is directly above the light, there is no evidence on the ceiling around the lamp or in the master bathroom of leakage. The light is above the kitchen sink, and with 9' ceilings I'd have to have a talk with my daughters about how the do dishes if there is water getting splashed on it. Thx -K2
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IMHO:
Check for arcing on the bulb. You might have a bad connection with the screwing socket.
BTW, humidity might be effecting also, so ensure the bulb is screwed in securly.
Guessing ifyou have higher than average household voltage all your lights would have problems not just this one.
hth,
tom @ www.ChopURL.com
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The Real Tom wrote:

If it were a floating neutral it could also cause high voltage, on one circuit (while causing low voltage on the other) . However since we are talking about light bulbs burning out as fast as they do, I would guess the OP would have said something about how bright the lamps were and likely noticed other problems.

--
Joseph Meehan

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Watch for poor contact in sockets that have previously experienced overtightening!
I remember seeing somewhere a recommendation to not screw in a lightbulb to an extent beyond 1/8 of a turn past the point of feeling like it made contact. Tightening past that point supposedly risks bending down the center contact in the socket.
Should you have a socket "damaged" by prior overtightening, then WITH POWER OFF, preferably with the appropriate breaker off: Pry the "cenhter contact" in the socket upwards with a screwdriver or whatever with just enough force to make it a little higher than it was recently, and "pat it down" with a light touch to make sure you actually bent it a little upwards.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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Heat is seldom a factor in light bulb failure particularly if you have not been having trouble with the lamps in that fixture previously. You may have gotten a carton of poor-qualty bulbs, get a replacement from another store or manufacturer to check.
The most likely cause of premature incandescent bulb failure is physical shock or vibration. Halogen incandescent bulbs are particularly sensitive to such failures. Put your hand on the fixture with any appliances (like a dishwasher) in the area running. If you can feel a vibration or see the lamp filament moving around (a slight flickering), install a bulb made for vibration service (fan bulbs or bulbs designed for garage door openers). A screw-in compact fluorescent lamp will also be much less sensitive to shock or vibration.
Bad switches or loose connections don't cause standard incandescent bulbs to fail unless the bad connection is in the lamp socket. Then an arc (very hot) can be established which burns the bulb base or cracks the glass seal of the bulb. You can check that easily by looking at the base and socket. Look for any signs of melted metal or blackening.
TKM
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TKM wrote:

No sign of any arcing in socket or on the bulbs that I pull out. I'll see what I can find for a vibration service R19 buld. Thx -K2
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KTwo wrote:

Probably heat build-up is killing the lamps. Try using one size smaller wattage.
Best regards, Bob
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zxcvbob wrote:

Also check if there is insulation installed on top of the can, should be a clear space above the fixture to allow for heat dissipation. Dave
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Dave Morrison wrote:

Unfortunately I can't do that. The can was installed when the house was built and it's a sheetrock ceiling. I guess I could check, but that will be a last resort, and I'll just replace the fixture while I have the ceiling torn apart.
-K2
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You should be able to remove the fixture only. If it was installed where you can't take it out by itself then it's likely installed wrong.

Good luck. Pictures would help to understand why you cannot remove just the fixture.
Remove "YOURPANTIES" to reply
MUADIB
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MUADIB wrote:

I pulled the fixture part down, but not out. The fixture (the part the light bulb screws into, right?) is wired directly to the junction box on the can somewhere in the ceiling. The wires leave the fixture and go out of the can to the junction box. The only thing on the wires was a piece of small black plastic (1/4" by 1/2") clamped on the hot wire. Couldn't see any writing on it.
I did go to Home Depot and got a 30W bulb to replace the long string of recently defunct 50W bulbs. The can does say that it will take a 50W R20.
-K2
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Do let us know how the 30W is doing. Also, try the 50W Halogen PAR (flood) lamp. HD has those too. If you did indeed get some faulty 50W R20s, I hope that you saved them and the packaging so you can take them back. If HD won't do anything, send them to the manufacturer. Likely you will at least get replacements and maybe a few extra.
TKM
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TKM wrote:

Well, it's been 24 hours and a couple of off-on cycles and the 30W bulb still works. I may not seem like much but it has exceeded the lifespan of some other bulbs.
Bad bulbs are a possibility as I think the latest string of bulbs was a 6 pack from Costco. But they were Sylvania, not some no-name brand. If the 30W doesn't make muster then I'll look at a halogen PAR.
Thx -K2
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The trouble is that lamps are made on such fast machinery today that if a machine gets out of adjustment, many bad lamps can be made very quickly. The quality manufacturers constantly test their products on the manufacturing line, so the chance of bad lamps getting out the door is small; but it does happen. At least with Sylvania lamps you'll likely get a response and some replacements if indeed the lamps are bad.
TKM
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The fixture should be removable enough to check for being covered by heat insulation - a major no-no!
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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