4' fluorescent bulbs burn out a LOT!

Page 1 of 3  
I've used 4 footers in my garage for longer than I can remember. Now that it is a WW shop, I've got 9 of them. No matter if they have electronic ballasts or the older types, the bulbs don't last long. I'd venture a guess that I replace about 10 to 12 of them in a year. In the past it seemed that one or two of the fixtures had more failures than others, so I replaced the fixtures with electronic ballast. The temperature at which they are turned on at seldom is below 50 degrees. Half of them turn on automatically with a motion sensor, each time someone enters the shop. BUT, the others are only turned on with a pull switch when needed and they have had failures also, so I don't think that it is the frequency of switching them on/off that's the problem. I've used GE Residential bulbs and Phillips bulbs that HD carries now. I've had 2 or 3 immediate failures of the Phillips bulbs (flickering) so I returned them for refund and switched back to GE, which always work when new.
My question is: do you guys have frequent bulb failures with the 4 footers? I'm thinking of replacing them with eights if that will solve the problem.
Incandescent bulbs in my home last for ages, except for those little night lights.
dave
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Bay Area Dave" wrote in message

I am one of those who subscribe to the theory of leaving most sorts of electrical equipment (without motors, of course) ON, if you don't have to turn it off ... this specifically includes fluorescent fixtures.
I leave my 8, four footers in the shop on 24/7 and haven't burned out a single bulb in 2 years at the current location. I do the same with computers, amplifiers in the studio, etc. ... we have an old BBS computer at the office that has been on for almost 8 years... afraid to turn it off, now.
Even leaving the shop lights on all the time, electricity for the shop is still less than $30/month ... and this in an area of high electrical costs.
Strictly FWIW and YMMV ...
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 1/02/04
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Quite the opposite of my experience. Have about a dozen 2-tube 4-footers and cant remember having to replace a single bulb in about five years now...
Incandescents, on the other hand.....
Those suckers pop on me at the rate of about 2 a month. I'm slowly replacing them with screw-in fluorescents. Pricey, but worth it if they last as long as the advertising says they will. The sylvania 90-watt equivalents (pull about 25 watts of power) give a brighter, whiter light than the other brands, which are yellowish.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Me too. I still have the original 16 flourescent tubes, all over 12 years old with daily use. Bought the cheapest kind I could find.

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

Dave,
I can't say anything about 4 footers, but I have 8 footers in my shop and I haven't changed a bulb in over 3 years. (Living in FL, my shop almost never gets below 50.)
Good Luck,
Mike G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Have you tried the T8 fixtures and bulbs? I used to have have the same short-life problem you are seeing with the older style (T12 I think) fixtures. When I built my new shop last year, I put in all T8 fixtures and haven't had a bulb fail yet (~1 year). They're cheap, put out more light, and use less electricity -- I'm sold on them.
Lance
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Lance, are the T8's single pin 8 footers?
dave
Lance Spaulding wrote:

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

No, mine are all 4' dual-bulb fixtures. I think I got them at either Lowes or Home Depot for about $12 each. I also bought a case of the T8 bulbs for about $3 each as I recall.
Lance
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Sorry, I forgot to answer your other question. They have two pins on each end not just one. The T8 bulbs are a smaller diameter than the older bulbs and have green ends (at least mine do).
Lance
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Dave, The T-8's are thin, double pin 4 footers. They should work very well with your electronic ballasts. They may also be available in 8 foot lengths. Matt
Bay Area Dave wrote:

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

I use T-8s as well, with OSRAM electronic ballasts. More light, less power, and they start reliably to 0 F. You can get them in 4' and 8' lengths. They are bi-pin designs, but the pins must be wired together at each end when used with electronic ballasts. Most of the bulbs are reduced mercury, tri-phosphor designs with a broad spectrum. I love mine as well. I pay $3.60 each locally for an ALTO850 tube - 2950 lumens, 32 watt, 5000k color temperature. FWIW,
Greg G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I have 4 and they are all different types HO, cold, cheap... In 3 years not a single replacement. I also have 9 screw in fluorescents and like those alot also.
BRuce
Bay Area Dave wrote:

--
---

BRuce

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

I used to have problems with bulbs and fixtures I installed in a garage when I lived in Ottawa, Canada. They didn't work in the cold and bulbs and ballasts (non-electronic) would fail frequently.
A sales rep at an electrical store suggested I use high output fixtures and bulbs, which are available in various lengths. So I installed 4' fixtures and bulbs, and those lights worked on even the coldest days. And they lasted for several years, too. They might still be working, for all I know.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I thought it was the cold too, Guy, but the last 3 fixtures I bought (within just this past year) are rated to zero degrees. It's never less than 40 when they are turned on; usually it's over 50. This puzzles me, as there is a couple of fixtures which almost never burn out the bulbs, and then a couple that use to burn them out frequently I replaced with the zero degree rated electronic ballast type, and those kill the bulbs pretty quickly. Maybe because they are cheepies? "American" is in the brand name; I forget the EXACT name.
dave
Guy wrote:

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

Are all the fixtures on the same circuit?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Nope. they are split into two circuits. bulbs fail frequently in all but one fixture. there is an old fixture mounted over the W/D that almost never burns out a bulb.
dave
Greg Neill wrote:

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

Ah. I was thinking that perhaps some electrical hash from a motor was getting onto one circuit but not another. Voltage spikes could shorten the life of the bulbs.
Try rigging a small incandescent light on each circuit and watch for brightness changes while you're going about doing what you do. You might uncover a problem with a ground loop.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Good idea, Greg. I've got some of the lights on a power strip so that'd be easy. thanks.
dave
Greg Neill wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Dave you might check the voltage at the source. It sounds like you may have a low voltage problem. Typically fluorescent lamps last a good long time. What gives me this impression is that you said your incandescent lamps last a long time. If you operate incandescents at reduced voltage , the filament life is greatly increased. Just a thought.
Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'll check the voltage later today. Thanks.
dave
Mike wrote:

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.