I have been using compact fluorescent bulbs for over 16
I've found that many of the "off-brand" bulbs are junky:
I've experienced premature burnout, whining bulbs
(maddening, like a mosquito), dreadful light color (someone
mentioned the Ikea bulbs), and poor light output. Most will
not deliver the long life that the claims imply. They tend
to fail due to inabilty to dissipate heat (electronics in
sealed bases) and the bulbs just wear out. These days, I buy
them really cheap because of the failure/high cost issue.
With rebates, I've even gotten them for less than a buck
My solution lately is to buy the Feit brand in bulk at
Costco. I pay more of a Chinese price for a Chinese
lightbulb. When more than half the bulbs are shot, I take
the entire package back to Costco for a refund. That's their
policy where I live for multiple items in one package. This
is how I deal with premature bulb failures nowadays.
Most of the recent bulbs are more efficient than the former
ones. Those came on full. The new ones come up to full
brightness slowly, giving full candelpowers in about one or
two minutes. I've used them successfully in outdoor
fixtures, left on continuously. Dampness doesn't seem to
bother them since they're moderately-well sealed (but
there's a price for this). I can't say how they work in
really cold weather because it almost never gets down to
As far as RFI goes, I don't listen to AM radio, so I can't
comment. On FM and TV, there's little or no interfereance
from the bulbs I've used. You may have noticed the FCC
statement on many products in recent years, "...must accept
interference." Whatever was the person who wrote those
words smoking? What was the supervisor smoking?
We're still paying Enronesque electric rates here in
California. Our Administration has not seen fit, so far, to
get our money back for us. I wonder why. When the electric
rates tripled in San Diego, people raced to buy the compact
fluorescent bulbs: I saw them everywhere.
Bought 4 cases of 6 "R-30" at the Borg for 5.00 a case minus a 2.00 utility
rebate. (These bulbe were on closeout.) I replaced some hi-hat bulbs with no RF
inteference at all, however, you have to change the dimmer back to a switch CFs
don't work on dimmers even when only used at full power.
Next I'm buying (seen at Cosco as well) a few packs of 3 Par40 replacements but
they're around 15.00 for 3 bulbs. Seen them in use on a home near me and they
look just as bright as a 150 watt flood.
My Dear Corny,
He ain't my pal. I didn't vote for him. I voted for the
other guy. Arnold sounds like a nice, sincere, idealistic,
and confused guy who now has to act in an unfamiliar role
and doesn't know his lines. Unfortunately, Arnold has been
hanging around with suspect individuals. For example, Pete
Wilson (who engineered the whole deregulated power mess in
the first place) and our very own personal bad-guy, Kenneth
Lay. But this is getting off topic, isn't it:
"Buy Tubes Y'all. Use More Electricity!"
Yes, The Bush Justice Dept. had worked out a deal where the criminals
would pay 10 % of the amount they stole back to California, and the rest
would be forgiven. This covered their butts as they could say the claim
was "settled". But Gov. Davis stood firmly in the way refusing to sign,
so Ahhhhnold was picked as a suitable replacement. First thing he did as
governator practically was sign the 10% settlement.
I'm sure you Bushites can come up with some reason why that's actually a
good thing, or just the way the cookie crumbles.
On Sat, 17 Jan 2004 11:16:27 GMT, "Richard Steinfeld"
I have these exclusively in my home, and have found that the life of
these things has almost nothing to do with the frequency of usage;
instead it depends almost solely on the design of the fixture the
bulbs are used in. If the BASE of the fixture is wide open (you can
easily touch the base of the bulb while it's screwed into the socket),
the bulbs seem to last a long time. If the base is at all enlcosed or
covered, the life is a lot shorter. Also, I've noticed that bulbs
hanging straight down tend to have a longer life than those that are
mounted at a 45 or 90 degree angle.
The difference in life is quite dramatic. The bulbs that are used in
my daughter's bedroom (three of them in a 90 degree mounted enclosed
decorative fixture) all burned out in 6 to 9 months. Three of them
used in an enclosed 45 degree angled ceiling fan fixture in our living
room failed within a year. The bulbs in our bathroom routinely fail
also (enclosed base, 90 degree mounted).
On the other hand, NONE of the bulbs in my son's bedroom (six of them
in track lighting fixtures hanging almost straight down) have failed
in almost two years of constant use. Neither has any the of bulbs in
our kitchen (one standing straight up, the other hanging straight
down, both fixtures with wide open bases. Ditto with the units in our
garage (hanging straight down, wide open bases).
So, it depends on the design of the fixtures in your house. I continue
to use 'em everywhere because I can't argue with the savings.
I just toss 'em. Bought in bulk with a rebate, they're about twice as
expensive as an incandescent. With the reduced energy costs over the
life of the bulb, it comes out about even on the ones with a shortened
I would recommend NOT to use the regular bulbs in outdoor fixtures,
unless they are very well enclosed. The FEIT bulbs you mentioned even
admonish not to do this in text written right on the base of the bulb.
The integrity of the sealed base to water is not absolute, and I have
seen those bulbs fizzle out in a puff of smoke when used outdoors.
If you need outdoor CF bulbs, they are available. I'm using several
flood replacements outdoors as we speak, and they seem to work very
well, with a long life so far (more than a year now).
It's hit or miss, even with the same bulbs on different days.
Sometimes there AM interference, sometimes not. These bulbs use an
electronic ballast so some AM interference is almost mandatory.
Those words are FCC-speak for "we're too damn lazy to force
manufacturers of this noisy crap to change their ways, so YOU deal
Back in the old days, this "must accept interference" tag was only
allowed to be used on equipment that was intended to be used in office
buildings. Now it has slowly but surely creeped into devices used in
the home. Funny how that happens.......
It's simple really. If Bush actually did anything to right this wrong,
it would upset the energy buddies in Texas that have him firmly in
their pockets. Actually getting the money back for us that Enron
ripped from us would require a couple more testicles than Mr. Bush
has, so it won't happen.
One of many reason I won't be voting for our incumbent President in
It wouldn't surprise me....... San Diego was the first sign that
energy deregulation in California was going to be a costly fiasco.
That the politicians did nothing about it at that time, when it was
still possible to reverse gears, speaks volumes about the leadership
qualities and priorities of our folks in Sacramento and Washington.
DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE AT THE EMAIL ADDRESS ABOVE!
Instead, go to the following web page to get my real email address:
(This has been done because I am sick of SPAMMERS making my email unusable)
This seems to prove the point: we're talking about heat
dissipation, plain and simple. Watch those bases turn dark
of the bulb.
and I have
I'm getting long life from various of these in one outdoor
fixture. The bulb is mounted upside down and the fixture is
sheltered at the top, open at the bottom. I wouldn't reverse
this setup, however: poof!, I'm sure.
bulbs use an
I'd think so. There's just nothing on AM radio for me any
more. Just one yelling extremist talk show host after
another. They all sound the same. I'm bored.
Yeah. But such language! I mean, "must" accept
interference. Therefore, the product may not reject the
interference? Someone wrote those words. Someone else
approved those words. Is anyone minding the store?
Thank you. I thought I'd leave if for others to fill in the
when it was
Yes. I agree. I saw it coming too. It was the first.
Admittedly, I don't think that we got it so badly here in
Northern California. It must have been one hell of a shock
for the people in the San Diego area when their power costs
Manditory radio content:
Use of vacuum tubes is known to cause problems to your
(financial) health. In California, I mean.
Terry now says;
Thank you for the many replies, comments and advice. I have to agree with
most of them. Especially "The you get what you pay for"!
I do suspect that this was an 'el cheapo' imported brand of lamp and
recommendations to use a 'good' brand suitable for North American,
especially Canadian (low temperature etc.) conditions are well taken.
A lot of useful and knowledgeable information and a touch of humour in many
of the replies; btw I did think it was worthwhile to mention the RFI factor
To the many posters who have replied and shared their information, thank
PS. Someone asked about our electricity cost; here it averages 8.6 cents
Canadian or roughly 6.7 cents US (and 3.8 pence UK?) per kilowatt hour. This
is based on the total (basic monthly account charge, kilowatt hour
consumption at 6.77 cents/kw.hr Can. and all sales taxes) divided by number
of kilowatts, for a typical winter month. All electric house btw.
Geez... we're double that...
At any rate, Home Depot is odd in that a package with 1 bulb could be 8.99,
while the 4-pack of the SAME bulb is 9.99.
Keep you eyes peeled.
Cosco has a 5-pack and now, also the 3 or 4 packs of the 100 watt equivilant -
which aren't as common as the 60 or 75 watt equivilant bulbs. Cheaper than the
I replaced about half our incandescant bulbs with compact flourescents,
about a year ago. We use everything from 10W for bedside reading lights to
23W in the laundry room. Some are left on almost continuously, and others
get switched on and off a dozen times in a day. We have yet to have one burn
I do use a compact flourescent in in our exterior light, only in summer, and
only in a weather protected, but open fixture. During the winter, that bulb
gets replaced by a standard incandescant bulb. The CF has the additional
benefit of not attracting bugs.
We undertook a large number of energy conservation measures, at the time we
switched over our lighting, so it's difficult to quantify the effect of
switching bulbs, alone, but I can tell you we have cut our power consumption
almost in half.
I used to use a 40 watt incandescant bulb in the vent hood over the stove
and had problems with burnout often, like about every couple of months. I
replaced it finally with one of those fluorescent lamps and it is a brighter
light and runs cooler drawing less wattage. That was a couple of years ago
and have had no problems with it.
I'm sobbing into my beer right now. My electric rate is
tiered: the more you use, the more you pay. I'm fairly
frugal, although we've got no gas heat to two bedrooms and
use electric heaters for both of them. The highest tier I'm
paying is 45 cents US per KWH. For this, I have Pete Wilson
and Geo W. Bush to thank, and soon, the Arnold (who wants
even more of the deregulation fiasco that brought me this 45
Here in AZ, I live in a housing development where each house has two
outside light fixtures that are on all the time - they are not on
switches. Makes the area inviting, don'cha know, to have each house
lighted at night, and I kind of agree. Some homeowners remove the bulbs
or simply let them burn out, but then the HOA comes after you. Since I
am here only 6 months of the year, but the lights burn all 12 months, I
put small flourescents in both fixtures. I learned a few things.
1. You're right - they are too stubby to fit in the standard outdoor
fixtures. But most any hardware store, Wal-Mart, etc, has short "socket
extenders" that get you past this.
2. Color doesn't matter in an outside light, IMHO. You're looking for
illumination, not artwork.
3. Brightness is hard to judge by eyeball. Incandescents look brighter
because they are a point source of light, whereas fluorescents are an
extended source. However, I found that if I put a 60-watt-equivalent
fluorescent in one fixture and a 60-watt incandescent in the other,
waited until dark, and then stepped back from the house and out into the
street, they appeared to wash an equal amount of light down the wall and
into the yard.
4. UL/CSA and RFI don't have any connection with each other. UL/CSA
are safety organizations.
5. It doesn't get cold enough here to cause light output to drop - but
I tried the same thing in Maine, and sure enough, the lamps barely light
when the temp dips below about 50F.
If you have good-quality compact fluorescents, that are rated for low
temperatures (it'll say so on the package), then below-freezing
temperatures aren't too big of a problem.
I have three CF bulbs in outdoor fixtures on my house, and temperatures
here can get to -30C in the winter. The bulbs still light, although they
take a few minutes to get up to full brightness when it's really cold
George Wenzel, B.A. (Criminology)
Do they make "daylight spectrum" CF bulbs? I haven't noticed any when out
A couple of years ago I replaced about 120 of the "standard" 40W foor foot
flourescents in our business' offices with the "daylight spectrum" kind and
everyone loved them and said that they felt noticably "better" than they did
when working under the light of the "regular ones".
They cost about double what the standard color ones did at HD, but I'm glad we
put them in, and we haven't had one burn out yet, so they must be pretty well
Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
"If you can smile when things are going wrong, you've thought of someone to
I saw some yesterday, for the first time, at the borg. They weren't there
a few weeks ago. They've had the 4' T12s and such for a while, but this's
the first time I've seen daylight spectrum in CFL. I didn't notice the price
compared to regular.
I still prefer full spectrum to daylight spectrum. In the tubes, the
daylight are twice the price of the regular (warm or cool white), while
the full spectrum were twice as much again. I've yet to see full spectrum
CFLs locally, only on the web. The daylight are bright with a bluish tinge
(not much different to me than cool white), while the full spectrum are more
of a pure white.
This has been an interesting thread. I've learned a few
things. From my experience, I'm assuming that the newest
bulbs I've used have a higher operating temperature then the
last round. They are a bit more efficient, too. I read
figures improved 30 percent.
Regarding color spectrum: I tried a pair of Philips
"daylight" tubes in the kitchen. The performance was dismal;
one burned out in short order. Among compact fluorescents, I
was most satisfied with the color spectrum of the first
round of consumer bulbs from Lights of America (separate
bases and bulbs). The newer ones are more efficient, but I
think some of the color balance is sacrificed. Not a lot,
just enough to be visible. I can live with them.
One important difference between the "look and feel" of any
fluorescent vs. an incandescent bulb: a traditional
incandescent bulb has a continuous spectrum like daylight.
Seen on comparitive graphs, the incandescent is tilted
toward yellow vs. daylight: both graphs are nice and smooth.
This is why it is a simple matter to correct for the color
balance between daylight and tungsten photographic films
using standard filters such as the 85b which converts
professional motion picture negative film from tungsten
bulbs to daylight: this is the standard filter of the motion
picture industry and you see the beautiful results in
outdoor shots of all comercial movies.
Fluorescent output is a whole 'nother matter. The color
spectrum is jagged, discontinuous. One can come somewhat
close to a smooth graph in the aggragate (note: aggragate,
averaged from jagged peaks). In reality, fluorescents have
gaps in the spectrum: color frequencies that the bulbs don't
put out at all! Therefore, it is not possible to perfectly
compensate for this jaggedness with filtration. Such filters
as the FLB and FLD come close, but there's no perfection
here. Even the "daylight" bulbs don't quite match up. If you
want to look at these graphs yourself, the best place I've
found is professional motion picture technical manuals. The
bulb manufacturers don't really give you the full picture.
A mix of warm white and cool white bulbs will also help, at much less
cost. I like about 2/3 cool white to 1/3 warm white. I've seen rooms
100% warm white and found them to be much too rosy. The women who
worked there claimed to like it, however.
Jim Adney firstname.lastname@example.org
Madison, WI 53711 USA
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