Sunday, October 28, 2007

Go Flo Update

Kevin Drum is having problems with his compact florescent light bulbs. Specifically, he's having a high rate of burn out. One of the touted features of CF bulbs is their longevity (the other is their energy efficiency).
A year ago Marian and I replaced about 20 bulbs around the house with CF bulbs. Hooray for saving energy! But one of them just burned out, and it occurred to me as I was replacing it that this is the fourth or fifth one I've had to replace. The first one I figured was just bad luck. Nobody has a perfect manufacturing record. The second one seemed like more bad luck. The third one made me think something was going on. Now I'm up to four. Maybe five, if I've forgotten one.
That's a pretty high failure rate over the course of a year. I replaced about 40 bulbs in our house with CFs. That was over eight months ago. Since then, I've only had one burn out. I also broke one and had to replace one that was making a buzzing sound that was annoying. So I think our experience has been pretty good so far. My bellwether in this is the two overhead bulbs in my garage. I would have to change one of the old incandescent bulbs every 3 months. Meaning, by now I would have gone through something like 3 incandescents since the time I switched to CF. Neither CF in the garage has burned out since I made the switch.

As for energy (and cost savings), let me just say that CWLP just informed us that they are lowering our monthly level payment plan amount and sending us a check for several hundred dollars in overpayments from the last fiscal year. Not all of that is due to my CF conversion (we temporarily had one less person living in the house for a good portion of that time) but I think a significant portion of the lower electric bill can be attributed to the CFs

CFs still have their drawbacks, especially the ones outdoors in cold weather, but overall I couldn't be more pleased.


JeromeProphet said...

We switched over several years ago. We found that multi bulb light fixtures cause problems.

I eventually got wise, and left bulbs out where needed.

Anything which makes the light flicker in the least will cause it to burn out much sooner than it should.

The more expensive bulbs designed to survive dimmer circuits will do the trick.

Since learning these tricks I haven't had to replace a bulb.

Will said...

I've heard CFL's from some companies have gone down in quality since they started producing them cheaply in China. I had two burn out in short time. I checked and they were both GE ones made in China. Since then I've bought American-made CFL's and haven't had any problems.

Buying CFL's from China doesn't make sense environmentally either because of the extra pollution involved in shipping them to the US.