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Old 05-29-2009, 07:07 PM   #1
thibaulthalpern
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Compact Fluorescent Bulbs -- some are unreliable

A while back we were discussing whether Compact Fluorescent Bulbs really were more energy saving than incandescent bulbs some of their lifespan seem to be so short. I've have quite a few of these bulbs fail prematurely.

Here is a New York Time article addressing the issue. Indeed, some compact fluorescent bulbs are shoddy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/28/bu...t/28bulbs.html
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:39 PM   #2
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Better labels might have helped the Zuerchers, the San Francisco couple. Initially, they put regular compact fluorescents in virtually every socket in their home, including enclosed ceiling lamps, dimmable fixtures and areas where lights are turned on and off frequently.[...]
“We’re both college-educated and pay attention to labels we read,” Ms. Zuercher said. “It feels like someone forgot to put a place to find the information.”
Every one of the CFL's I've bought has had this information with them, in fact I'm fairly certain the first two scenarios are actually mentioned on the bulb's ballast itself. And a college education is no substitute for a good google search. In fact any person that identifies themselves in that manner to present themselves as intelligent generally loses a fair amount of respect from me. Some of the biggest idiots I've known have had Master's degrees. Unless you are identifying yourself as being qualified in a particular field, that type of statement is superfluous and borderline elitist.

I'm not arguing that general reliability isn't an issue, I've said that from day one and that is one of the reasons why I -do not- support any laws mandating usage.

Thanks for the article.

-MJ
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Old 05-30-2009, 02:55 AM   #3
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Fluorescent lights can't be used in dimmers. Every one that I've ever bought has clearly stated that on the box.
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:39 AM   #4
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:22 AM   #5
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It's a shame they're so wrong in their arithmetic.

If this new technique worked as well as the inventors hope, the new incandescents would use 60% of the power of the old ones. Current Compact Fluorescent Lamps use 20% of the power of the old lamps, or 1/3 of the power of the new incandescents.

It still doesn't make incandescents very efficient.

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Old 06-01-2009, 08:27 AM   #6
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Fluorescent lights can't be used in dimmers. Every one that I've ever bought has clearly stated that on the box.
I've just done some Googling (because a memory was tweaked) and apparently there are CFL's that can be used with dimmers:

http://www.environment.gov.au/settle...es.html#docfls

I've not seen them, but then I've not looked as we don't have dimmers in our house.

Cheers,
Marc (who doesn't like the colour of fluoro lights)
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:45 AM   #7
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And a college education is no substitute for a good google search.
Good stuff, that.

You know, back in the day, when you could buy incandescents anywhere, there was a wide range of quality there, too. One brand of bulb might last you for years in a fixture, yet another brand in the same fixture would burn out after a year.

A lot of people fall prey to this, because they look for deals, and low-cost items, and when they find a low price, they often overlook the quality of that product, or the reliability of the manufacturer (often to their regret).

This isn't a reason to criticize fluorescents, or even their requirement by governments and agencies... rather, it's a reason to criticize the authorities whose job it is to protect us from shoddy manufacture. IOW, if you have a problem with such bulbs, get in touch with Underwriters' Labs, the Dept of Commerce, etc, and alert them to unscrupulous or inadequate manufacturing of products the government demands we use.

It's also a reason to look for quality, and pay that extra when you find it.

And always keep in mind: It may be the 21st century, but we haven't managed to establish manufacturing perfection yet. Things still break down, whether we like it or not... and they likely will for the foreseeable future.

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Old 06-01-2009, 11:21 AM   #8
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I've been using cfls for years, no major problems.

Get daylight-rated ones for a brighter light level.
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Old 06-01-2009, 12:44 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by montsnmags View Post
I've just done some Googling (because a memory was tweaked) and apparently there are CFL's that can be used with dimmers:

http://www.environment.gov.au/settle...es.html#docfls

I've not seen them, but then I've not looked as we don't have dimmers in our house.

Cheers,
Marc (who doesn't like the colour of fluoro lights)
There are plenty of CFLs that can be used with dimmers, but they are quite a bit more expensive than the NO-dimmer-usage variety. As for "the color of fluoro lights" -- are you aware that you can buy fluorescent bulbs in a wide range of color temperatures? They range from 2700K (which matches the yellow-ness of incandescent) through 6500K (which matches the dominant colors in sunlight) and also "full spectrum" (which match the four or five dominant colors in sunlight, in about the correct proportions).

My wife and I are rather partial to the 4300K bulbs known as "cool white" in the US market. This represents a compromise between "not-too-far-from-incandescent" on the one hand, and "helps with her SAD" on the other.

In the US, I buy from 1000bulbs.com (which won't help Marc, but may be of use to the US readership). Really, there are tons of options if you look around a bit.

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Old 06-01-2009, 12:47 PM   #10
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[...]or even their requirement by governments and agencies...
I disagree.

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It's also a reason to look for quality, and pay that extra when you find it.
I agree.

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And always keep in mind: It may be the 21st century, but we haven't managed to establish manufacturing perfection yet. Things still break down, whether we like it or not... and they likely will for the foreseeable future.
This is one of the reasons I research things carefully, and also why, like you (though our principal reasons may differ, though I do prefer to see things being given a second (or twentieth) life instead of sent to a scrap yard), I buy most things second hand and from fleamarkets, etc. Many things I own and use are older than I am, because they were built more sturdy and are less prone to breaking/wearing out. While some need to be brought back up to specs, or enhanced with modern safety standards(electrical or mechanical) it still is a great deal better to buy old for many machines and tools I use. I also buy quality and use items til they are completely dead, I avoid 'keeping' up with technology, even though that is my field.

As to my own lighting I probably have a 30/30/40 mix, CFL/Inc/Flr. Interesting to note, I have four fluorescent shop lamps that are still going strong after 30-40 years. And they are used daily.

-MJ
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Old 06-01-2009, 04:18 PM   #11
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I disagree.
I actually wasn't suggesting that the government is right in requiring CFLs... just that the lack of quality in one brand's bulb is no reason to criticize that requirement.

Of course, you're always free to disagree for disagreement's sake... that's one of the cool things about this country.
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Old 06-01-2009, 04:51 PM   #12
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I've been replacing my bulbs very slowly, as the old bulbs burn out, because of the labels on them. (I'm college educated too. ) I am still waiting for ones that do not have the "do not use in ceiling fans, enclosed fixtures or with photocells" warnings on them. (I may be waiting a long time. )

Actually, that's wrong -- it's not that I'm not replacing them because of the labels but that I am not looking for replacements for all of my fixtures.

I often use (rightly or wrongly) price (as a function of the store) as a measurement of perceived quality and certain things -- like light bulbs -- I do not buy super cheaply because I expect cheap ones to have a less than acceptable (to me) lifespan. I am not surprised that with the recent popularity of CFLs, that there maybe some cheap low quality versions out there.

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Old 06-01-2009, 06:00 PM   #13
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I actually wasn't suggesting that the government is right in requiring CFLs... just that the lack of quality in one brand's bulb is no reason to criticize that requirement.

Of course, you're always free to disagree for disagreement's sake... that's one of the cool things about this country.
I apologize if it sounded like I was responding in error to your post. I was responding with the purpose of disagreeing with you in regards to the lack of quality control (Not limited to one brand, this is what I'm waiting to see over more time and studies) as a reason to criticize mandated usage. This is certainly by no means my only criticism, but I was only responding to that one. I simply didn't elaborate because as many users (and some moderators) have pointed out that we (not specifically you and I) have a habit of yelling past one another in these threads and that reiterating points serves little purpose. I didn't want to 'yell', nor did I want to put down your beliefs so I just figured I'd leave off the point with a simple, "I disagree". Perhaps it is a bit cheeky, but I certainly wasn't just trying to disagree with you for the sake of disagreeing.

To elaborate that point, if the overall quality of a product is not known or is under question I don't feel that any authority would be in the right to make required usage of that product. On the overall topic I wouldn't feel mandating would be proper either but that would be an expansion of the point. I will concede that I think it is promising and the risks are probably minimal which is why I am using them myself. In those areas where I cannot currently use standard CFL's in place of INC I will admit that cost prohibits me from using the higher priced CFL alternatives. I don't need a lecture about the cost savings and so on differential, let's just say I am struggling right now and really cannot afford said bulbs and leave it at that, thanks.

-MJ
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:46 PM   #14
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There are plenty of CFLs that can be used with dimmers, but they are quite a bit more expensive than the NO-dimmer-usage variety.
Like I said, I haven't seen them, but I haven't looked as I've no use for them at the moment.

Quote:
As for "the color of fluoro lights" -- are you aware that you can buy fluorescent bulbs in a wide range of color temperatures? They range from 2700K (which matches the yellow-ness of incandescent) through 6500K (which matches the dominant colors in sunlight) and also "full spectrum" (which match the four or five dominant colors in sunlight, in about the correct proportions).

My wife and I are rather partial to the 4300K bulbs known as "cool white" in the US market. This represents a compromise between "not-too-far-from-incandescent" on the one hand, and "helps with her SAD" on the other.
Yes, I'm aware of the colour temperature options. I wouldn't say all the ones that I've tried "match" incandescents though. I personally find (and, I don't know, but this may be a product of some colour-blindness), that their colour has a mild greenish tinge at times, and is not the same to me. In a different form, the standard "white" fluoro globes are too stark for my eyes. The "cool" are worse...clinical. Incandescent and halogen are my preference for room light, though note that most every lamp in our place (and we're big lamp-users) is a fluoro (I don't want folks to think that I am so averse to them that I don't use them).

This isn't to dismiss what you say, Xenophon, at all. I'll be a bit more "scientific" in my selections, and, in particular, try out in my bedside lamp all the varieties I can find. It annoys me that I am sensitive to their "colour", while being partially colour-blind. One would hope it would go some way to being a spectrum-leveller for bulbs (yeah, I know, it doesn't work that way ).

Quote:
In the US, I buy from 1000bulbs.com (which won't help Marc, but may be of use to the US readership). Really, there are tons of options if you look around a bit.
...but I thank you anyway, because you encourage me to test some more. If it's the way things are going, I'll need to find lighting solutions that are satisfying to me.

Cheers,
Marc
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Old 06-02-2009, 05:58 AM   #15
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Incandesent lamps have full spectrum light. Incandescents have a very restricted range that work well for people with normal colour perception. If you're missing one of the colour receptors, that will definitely make the colour different for you compared to incandescents of the same colour temperature.

There are "full spectrum" CFLs out there, that might work better for you. They use a larger range of phosphors than the ordinary CFLs.

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It annoys me that I am sensitive to their "colour", while being partially colour-blind. One would hope it would go some way to being a spectrum-leveller for bulbs (yeah, I know, it doesn't work that way ).
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