Why would you leave them on all day? All I said was that the more you
turn them on/off, the faster they wear out.
Around here, Philips CFLs are available easily for $2/bulb at the local
At 10.4 cents/KWh, it takes 16.82 KWh to make up the price difference,
or around 280 hrs of runtime for the bulbs you specified above. As long
as they don't wear out before that then they make sense.
Turning them on/off once a night shouldn't be a problem--any CFL should
be able to last for years under those conditions, and if it doesn't I'd
contact the manufacturer. For a pantry light that may get cycled a
dozen times while making a meal and is only on for a few seconds at a
time, they're probably not the best thing to use.
For my home office where the lights get turned on in the morning and
stay on basically all day, the bulbs pay for themselves in a couple months.
One of my old PHILIPS CFL bulbs finally died
after 12(?) years of service.
I opened it up to do an "autopsy",
and I was amazed at the number of electronic components.
Two circuit boards, tiny transformer, couple of electrlytic caps, SCR,
transistor, dozen mini-resistors and caps, a few diodes,...etc.etc.
Haven't opened up a modern CFL,
but, I'm sure they've cut the component count.
Excess power consumption by a fluorescent during starting is somewhere
between nonexistent and equivalent to 1 second or so of continuous
You mean watt-hours, not watts.
Meanwhile, if you have them on once a day for half an hour, they will
last longer if you have them off the other 23.5 hours. A start usually
costs something like 10 minutes of life.
If that one had a limited warranty, you can make good on it. Many have
these limited warranties for home use.
Was that a dollar store junker? I never had any other than dollar store
junkers do that. In my experience, most dollar store ones lack UL
listing, while most other screw base (ballast included) CFLs have that.
(Ballastless lightbulbs don't appear to me to need that.)
In my experience, spirals mostly outlast incandescents by far.
The main exceptions:
1) A Lights of America one and one bad run of GE ones - 25 watts,
purchased around 2001. (I have also experienced more than a fair share of
problems with non-spiral Lights of America CFLs.)
2) Ones overheating in small enclosed fixtures or in recessed ceiling
3) High wattage ones (like 42 watts) operating base-up.
Home centers usually have a few. Electrical/lighting supply shops of
the kind that contractors go to and the major online lightbulb sellers
have more. Just avoid the dollar store ones - I consistently found
problems, including poor color, poor color rendering, and severe shortfall
of light output from claimed light output, lack of a lumen figure for
light output, lack of signs of certification by any recognized safety
testing organization whether UL or otherwise, usually most of these, often
all of these in my experience.
- Don Klipstein ( email@example.com)
This decrease in lifespan due to short on-off periods really needs to
be indicated on CFB packaging - a recommendation by the mfr. that
compact flourescents' usable life may be adversely affected if turned
on and off several times a day.
Until then, I like Jim McLaughlin's suggestion of keeping the
packaging and receipt and when the bulb blows in six months sending a
letter to the manufacturer asking for a replacement...
If they did add a decreased life span warning for on/off, they could
not make the claim that the lamp will last 7 years.
It does say on the package that the estimated life is using the lamp
for 3 hours a day. This suggests that the lamp is designed to be
turned on/off daily.
The first ones I bought a few years ago did not last that long (at least
some did not), they were not as bright as expected, they did not come up to
full brightness very fast and overall were not all that good.
Those I have bought this year (three different types two brands) have
done everything well. I will be using more in the future.
well they dont last as promoted, and I have had 2 burn out when waxing
living room tables, the aerosol spray mist appears to fry them.
needless to say I dont do hat again, one went poof with a little flame
and I wasnt spraying in the bulb, overspray did it in
CFLs are not yet commodity items. Brands count from my experience and if
you just buy on price, performance is likely to be poor. I put in CFLs
about 4 years ago and haven't had a burnout as yet with several of the lamps
on 4-6 hours/day. Got the lamps at Target, but all were Energy Star listed.
That means the lamps are tested for life, light output, color, etc. and you
can complain to Energy Star if they don't perform. I always return lamps
that fail prematurely to the manufacturer (address is on the carton
typically). Not only do they replace the lamp, they usually include a
coupon or extra lamps -- at least the name brand companies.
LEDs are improving rapidly and make sense for certain applications (see
www.lightingfortomorrow.com ) for some examples. But they are heat
sensitive and packing them into something that looks like a standard light
bulb isn't a good application for them. And, it will be an expensive device
for some time to come. White light LEDs deliver about 30-40 lumens/watt
right now compared to 70-80 lumens/watt for CFLs. If you want to see an
incandescent to LED replacement that <might> work, go to:
http://www.ledlightingfixtures.com/ and notice the heat sink. We'll see
shortly if the company can get beyond press releases.
I would think that shipping cost would cost as much as the
Do they pay shipping too?
I was thinking about trying to take them back to Walmart next time
Walmart is pretty good about returning stuff if you have the receipt.
On a side note. I have heard that having the lamps with the base at
the bottom lasts longer than having the base at the top. ie desk lamp
vs ceiling light. Extra heat on the electronics.
I've also noticed that the life of my 7 yr bulbs is closer to 90 days
for many in the pack.
I now keep the receipts and bulb packs.
Recenltly I bought a pack of 3 and 2 of them were defective (very
You should recover the cost in less than a year with normal use.
On Tue, 03 Apr 2007 01:51:58 -0400, Bonnie Peebles
That's $2.33 each. It would pay for itself in H hours at C cents/kWh
compared to a 50 cent incandescent if HC(100-26)/1000 = 233-50, ie
H = 2493/C hours, eg 249 hours at 10 cents/kWh, eg 618 days
(1.7 years) if used for 4 hours per day.
When I called Commercial Electric with the 800 number printed on the CFs
I bought at Home Depot and gave them the date code on the dead bulb,
they sent me a new one, free.
Posted rates don't tell the whole story. There are service charges and
taxes added on, for example. Take your total bill and divide by the kWh
used to get your actual rate. Mine was $0.132/kWh in March. A friend in
western New York, however, just paid over $0.30/kWh on vacation home
because the fees and taxes swamped the cost of the low kWh use.
That's not the whole story either, because then the "rate" is dependent
on consumption and cannot directly be compared.
It's most accurate to describe the power bill as a linear function of
the form "mx + b", where b is a constant charge, m is the rate per kWh,
and x is the power usage. This is more complicated, but it reflects the
actual billing structure rather than trying to force it into a single
I'm not sure what "additional" charges, if any, are included in the
stated price (e.g., stranded debt, transmission & distribution, etc.).
The accompanying footnote tells us that "[p]rices are calculated by
dividing revenue by sales", so that would suggest it does, in fact,
include all of these miscellaneous items and quite possibly the fixed
charges as well.
I agree, Paul, that the 10.4 cents/kWh for the average consumer rate for
2006 is right and includes all the extra charges. There used to be a
magazine that published energy rates every month and it was easy to keep
track; but I can't find it any more.
For those living in California, New York or New England, the first
reaction must be "that can't be right! I pay a LOT more than that!"
I'm guessing the national average is skewed by the fact that those who
pay more are likely to use less and, by the same token, those living
in areas where rates are comparatively low consume more (e.g.,
electric heat is popular in the Pacific North West but far less so in
NY, MA, VT or NH where rates are two to three times higher).
There are companies selling LED-based light sources. TIR Systems
(http://www.tirsys.com ) is one that's located a few miles from me. They
were recently purchased by Philips.
But so far they're more expensive than other light sources. It's worth
it if you need the ability to change light colour, but they are *less*
efficient than CFL. They're more efficient than incandescent, even
halogen incandescent, and still getting better so they may pass CFL one
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