What you describe is what I've seen. I've been using CFLs for many eyars.
The life of the bulb i salso influenced by th efixture - if thewiring isn't
quite right, it can shorten the bulb life. Also, for lamps that turn on
using a pull chain or rotating knob, turning them on an doff with an even,
smooth motion also helps the bulb to last longer, because the flow of
electricity is smoother. Anything that causes flickering (intermittant
electrical flow) can shorten the bulb life.
But I've had bulbs last for much longer than 5 years.
You can also get outdoor-rated CFLs - I have a 150-Watt-Equivalent in the
garage here, but in Massachusetts,it was difficult to get one to last in
the garage ebcause of the lack of insulation - the bulbs evidently just go
LEDs *might* have a better cold tolerance - that seems logical since they
have no element, but I don't know for a fact whetehr that is true, whetehr
there are LED replacements/analogues for "regulatr" bulbs, or for that
matter, how bright they can be made - I'd have to check.
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