Are CFL Light Bulbs a scam?


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Profile hiamps
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Message 1101407 - Posted: 28 Apr 2011, 16:19:09 UTC

Seems they use Mercury, claim to last for years and don't even fit a lot of sockets. I am done with them, I did a remodel 5 months ago and changed every light bulb in the house. Spent too much and now 1/2 have burnt out. What a SCAM...They hurt the envirement, cost too much and burn out 10 times faster than they claim...Almost seems there should be a class action law suit against all involved!
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Message 1101410 - Posted: 28 Apr 2011, 16:27:40 UTC - in response to Message 1101407.

you aren't going to have a choice after 2014.

BTW I'm not sure what you've done to your CFL's but mine last forever. I've not replaced any that I've installed in the last 5 years. That seems to deflate the argument that they don't last long. sure they cost a bit more but when you use 14 watts to light what used to take 60 It doesnt take an advanced math degree to see that these are reducing your electric usage by about 4X which also lowers your monthly electric bill.

perhaps reading this will calm your fears

http://www.energystar.gov/ia/products/lighting/cfls/downloads/CFL_Cleanup_and_Disposal.pdf

If your state or local environmental regulatory agency permits you to put used or broken CFLs in the garbage, seal the bulb in two plastic bags and put it into the outside trash, or other protected outside location, for the next normal trash collection. Never send a fluorescent light bulb or any other mercury-containing product to an incinerator.

If your ENERGY STAR qualified CFL product burns out before it should, look at the CFL base to find the manufacturer’s name. Visit the manufacturer’s web site to find the customer service contact information to inquire about a refund or replacement. Manufacturers producing ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs are required to offer at least a two-year limited warranty (covering manufacturer defects) for CFLs used at home. In the future, save your receipts to document the date of purchase.

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Message 1101411 - Posted: 28 Apr 2011, 16:31:02 UTC - in response to Message 1101407.

Seems they use Mercury, claim to last for years and don't even fit a lot of sockets. I am done with them, I did a remodel 5 months ago and changed every light bulb in the house. Spent too much and now 1/2 have burnt out. What a SCAM...They hurt the envirement, cost too much and burn out 10 times faster than they claim...Almost seems there should be a class action law suit against all involved!


Wrap a paper towel around them to put them in with. The oils from your fingers can greatly reduce the life expectancy. They do not work well in very cold places, and take a moment to light up. Other than that, not a farce.

LED lighting promises to be even more environmentally friendly, efficient, and safer to dispose of. It also costs quite a bit more. Again costs should come down as production goes up. Life expectancy is many times longer than either CFL or Incandescent bulbs.

As far as fitting, they fit conventional sockets. Some of the really bad ones are larger in size than conventional. Look for the tightly wound ones that are physically smaller at the widest point than a conventional bulb.


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Message 1101487 - Posted: 28 Apr 2011, 22:29:52 UTC - in response to Message 1101410.



You always have a choice. Whether or not you are willing to pay for it is the problem.

I use cfl's in 2/3 of the apt, except where I need to be able to see for reading or cooking.

Martin

ps LED lighting will have to improve greatly before I would use it for anything.

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Message 1101491 - Posted: 28 Apr 2011, 22:43:42 UTC
Last modified: 28 Apr 2011, 22:52:14 UTC

Ok, lets put the myths to rest here. I'm qualified in this area of science.

hiamps,
If what you say is true, then there is something wrong with the electricity supply in your house or the area you live in.

1. CFL = Compact fluorescent lamp; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_fluorescent_lamp

2. They do last longer, this is fact!! Roughly about 5 times longer. Why??? Because all they do is heat the gas inside the tube instead of "burning" a filament wire as the old bulbs do.

3. The gas inside the tube can vary, but it never changes, it just glows.

4. Yes, they will fail eventually. This is not because the gas burns out. Its because the fluorescent dust on the inside of the tube degrades.

5. There is NO mercury inside the bulb you will buy for home use!! Yes, there are bulbs called "mercury vapour" bulbs but they are very powerful and expensive and only used in industrial applications.

6. Handling the bulb is absolutely fine, no problem!!! Yes, "halogen filament" spotlight type bulbs do have a special quartz glass you should not touch. But the CFL for inside your home does not require special handling. You can handle the glass!

hiamps,
As i said, if what you say is true, then there is something in your home, or in a home near your home that is causing some kind of "static spikes" in the electricity supply. That might cause the electronic starter in the bulb to be damaged. It could be electric motors in your home, fridge or washing machine, or a house near by that are switching on and off to fast and too regularly. Or it could be old wiring in your home. If there is a loose or "resistive connection" somewhere in your wiring, this could cause "sparking" that would blow your bulbs faster than normal. If it continues, talk to an electrician. It can be a frequent problem in houses with old wiring.

John.
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Message 1101496 - Posted: 28 Apr 2011, 23:02:49 UTC


US' EPA CFL info:

http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/promotions/change_light/downloads/Fact_Sheet_Mercury.pdf


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Message 1101769 - Posted: 29 Apr 2011, 17:54:09 UTC

CFLs are a transient technology......

When LED technology gets sufficiently advanced, and they get the color temperatures right, and the costs come down, CFLs will vanish. The sooner the better.

I can't speak as to why hiamps seems to be having trouble with them. I have some that I have in use for, like, forever......they are like the Energizer Bunny.

They aren't very good in cold temperatures, and the mercury problem is paramount.
Most folks are just gonna toss these things in the trash, like it or not.

RIP CFL.

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Message 1101783 - Posted: 29 Apr 2011, 18:24:48 UTC - in response to Message 1101491.
Last modified: 29 Apr 2011, 18:25:20 UTC

Worth repeating;
5. There is NO mercury inside the bulb you will buy for home use!! Yes, there are bulbs called "mercury vapour" bulbs but they are very powerful and expensive and only used in industrial applications.

John.
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Message 1101784 - Posted: 29 Apr 2011, 18:28:05 UTC - in response to Message 1101783.
Last modified: 29 Apr 2011, 18:30:57 UTC

Worth repeating;
5. There is NO mercury inside the bulb you will buy for home use!! Yes, there are bulbs called "mercury vapour" bulbs but they are very powerful and expensive and only used in industrial applications.

John.

Johnney.......come on.

There IS a small amount of mercury in ALL CFLs. At least as best I can determine.

CFL cleanup recommendations from the US EPA.....
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Message 1101792 - Posted: 29 Apr 2011, 18:55:16 UTC - in response to Message 1101783.

Even mercury vapor is poisonous for us humans to breathe and just as harmful to our landfills.

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Message 1101810 - Posted: 29 Apr 2011, 19:54:33 UTC - in response to Message 1101792.

I recall reading the articles involved with CFL and Mercury. they pretty much state that the Mercury is in the base not the glass portion of the light bulb. It also states that about 4mg of Mercury total. Old Mercury thermometers contained about 500mg. So the CFl has less than 1% of the Mercury that a Thermometer holds. Mercury is a poisonous metal for certain. Even 4mg is more than I want to deal with. However it seems the fear mongering is overblown when it comes to the danger that 1 lightbulb may posess.

Heck look at halogen lights. they can contain either Iodine or Bromine. Both of which can be dangerous if inhaled. Yet we never saw any of the silliness over them
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Message 1101814 - Posted: 29 Apr 2011, 20:14:56 UTC - in response to Message 1101810.

Mercury is a poisonous metal for certain. Even 4mg is more than I want to deal with.


My feelings exactly. While I really want to save on my electricity, I won't put anything that heats up mercury in my house for an extended period of time without lots of safety testing.

Heck look at halogen lights. they can contain either Iodine or Bromine. Both of which can be dangerous if inhaled. Yet we never saw any of the silliness over them


I admit that I don't know all the uses of halogen lights, the only example that comes to my mind is car headlights, which are often protected by a plastic covering and are on the outside of a vehicle. That's far enough away from me to not be concerned, and I certainly don't use any halogen lights in my house.

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Message 1101926 - Posted: 30 Apr 2011, 2:00:19 UTC - in response to Message 1101810.

Heck look at halogen lights. they can contain either Iodine or Bromine. Both of which can be dangerous if inhaled. Yet we never saw any of the silliness over them

Not to be a fear-monger or anything, but the risks from mercury (like other heavy metals) aren’t really comparable to those from toxic gases. The difference is that the former accumulate in the human body (and elsewhere in the biosphere); although small quantities have little effect, one gets more and more exposure over time. OTOH halogens, hydrogen sulphide, & the like are rapidly converted to fairly harmless salts, so small exposures cause only temporary, local damage.
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Message 1101996 - Posted: 30 Apr 2011, 5:00:27 UTC - in response to Message 1101926.

the point was that there are other chemicals involved in current lighting options (trac lighting for one) that contain dangerous chemicals yet we get an uproar over this now. I just look at this as another side show
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Message 1102191 - Posted: 30 Apr 2011, 18:53:26 UTC - in response to Message 1101996.

Agreed … I think a disproportionate amount of attention is generally paid to the content of consumer goods themselves, as compared to all the various manufacturing & distribution processes involved in converting raw materials to items on store shelves—considering both the waste by-products and the energy consumption.

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Message 1102401 - Posted: 1 May 2011, 8:53:10 UTC

CFL's do last longer and cost less to run but there are some drawbacks. Firstly the sheer physical size of some of them means that they stick out the top of light fittings, also you cant use the old type shades that clipped round a bulb.

Also they give out a different type of light which most people don't seem to like, and they take time to warm up to full power. For instant on and shortly off type of appliocations, such as cupboards under the stairs etc I still use 100W filament bulbs, just more appropriate.

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Message 1102493 - Posted: 1 May 2011, 17:15:20 UTC - in response to Message 1102191.

lets also not forget that by using 1/4 the wattage the CFL's will also use 1/4 of the coal that an incandescent uses. Thereby also reducing the amount of heavy metals and sulfur being released into the atmosphere.
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Message 1105157 - Posted: 11 May 2011, 13:23:27 UTC - in response to Message 1101411.

Seems they use Mercury, claim to last for years and don't even fit a lot of sockets. I am done with them, I did a remodel 5 months ago and changed every light bulb in the house. Spent too much and now 1/2 have burnt out. What a SCAM...They hurt the envirement, cost too much and burn out 10 times faster than they claim...Almost seems there should be a class action law suit against all involved!


Wrap a paper towel around them to put them in with. The oils from your fingers can greatly reduce the life expectancy. They do not work well in very cold places, and take a moment to light up. Other than that, not a farce.

LED lighting promises to be even more environmentally friendly, efficient, and safer to dispose of. It also costs quite a bit more. Again costs should come down as production goes up. Life expectancy is many times longer than either CFL or Incandescent bulbs.

As far as fitting, they fit conventional sockets. Some of the really bad ones are larger in size than conventional. Look for the tightly wound ones that are physically smaller at the widest point than a conventional bulb.


I believe you are thinking about quartz lites for no figerprints, lets hope the CFL's don't get that hot. Lowes must get all the bad brands since I got them there and I am an Electrician so I know it isn't the wiring. Funny thing is that when talking with others they say the same thing...What brand do you use Skildude?
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Message 1105159 - Posted: 11 May 2011, 13:26:38 UTC - in response to Message 1101783.

Worth repeating;
5. There is NO mercury inside the bulb you will buy for home use!! Yes, there are bulbs called "mercury vapour" bulbs but they are very powerful and expensive and only used in industrial applications.

John.

Do CFLs contain mercury?
CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 4 milligrams (mg). By
comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury – an amount equal to the mercury in
125 CFLs. Mercury is an essential part of CFLs; it allows the bulb to be an efficient light source. No mercury is
released when the bulbs are intact (not broken) or in use.
Most makers of light bulbs have reduced mercury in their fluorescent lighting products. Thanks to technology
advances and a commitment from members of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, the average
mercury content in CFLs has dropped at least 20 percent or more in the past several years. Some manufacturers
have even made further reductions, dropping mercury content to 1 mg per light bulb.
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Message 1105189 - Posted: 11 May 2011, 15:33:28 UTC - in response to Message 1105157.

Lowes must get all the bad brands since I got them there and I am an Electrician so I know it isn't the wiring. Funny thing is that when talking with others they say the same thing...What brand do you use Skildude?

Brands do make a big difference. I know some years back the local power company gave every house a few. Those lasted. Bought some and those burned out quick. Got another batch from a different store and those were mixed. Got more and that batch has lasted. Looks like the production lines have gotten better. I'm at work now so I can't look at who made them. IIRC the first bad batch was from a company with America or some variant in their name. I believe the ones the power company gave out were made by a SUNsomething company.

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