Letter the other week in The Age:
Not worth the cost
AM I the only person having trouble with expensive ”green globes” alleged to last 10,000 hours? Used eight hours a day, a globe should last more than three years. I have replaced the globe in one lamp four times already this year. I want my cheap, long-lasting, environmentally unfriendly globes back.
Leone Garro, Northcote
My CFLs are lasting ages… provided they’re in the right places.
I would bet the globes referred-to above are switched on for short durations (less than 15 minutes), many times a day. That kind of usage is bad for CFLs, and it’s precisely why I’ve avoided using one in the toilet, for instance, and also in the bedrooms — our particular usage there seems to predominantly involve ducking in to get something/drop something, then out again.
For those types of spots, it’s far better to stick to non-CFLs, such as the energy-saving incandescents still available. (My local supermarket has the Philips EcoClassic products, which for instance provide 100w of light but burn 70w of power.)
Evidently this message isn’t isn’t getting through.
Or possibly Leone’s light fitting or wiring is faulty, but I’m betting it’s the former.
I seem to have reached the point where the first of my compact fluorescent light globes are starting to be replaced.
Many of them I installed about two years ago, and most in the house are still going strong.
The three that have expired get switched on generally for only short periods of time, which Wikipedia notes can cut the lifespan drastically, and says:
The US Energy Star program says to leave them on at least 15 minutes at a time to mitigate this problem.
I wonder if those ones should be replaced with conventional bulbs, while they’re still available? In the supermarket it appears the range has been radically reduced since I last bought any, with an “efficient” range of Phillips incandescent bulbs pretty much the only ones left in Safeway, probably reflecting stricter rules on light globe importation and power consumption.
Another CFL that is still working, but is showing signs of wearing-out, is in the hallway outside the kids’ bedroom, and gets left on at night. Given the number of hours it’s spent switched-on (I estimate something like 4600 hours so far) that’s pretty impressive.
What to do with the CFLs once used? It’s generally known that they have a small amount of mercury in them, and therefore ideally shouldn’t end up in landfill. Reality seems to be rather different though — when I rang the council about it, they said they know of no special arrangements for them. Hmm.
As with traffic lights, hopefully domestic lighting will move towards LEDs, which not only use less power, they don’t have the short usage problems, and nor do they (as far as I know) require special methods of disposal.
Update 12:20pm. Clarified that some Phillips incandescent globes still available in Safeway.