Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Die Faster Than Thought
California studies say they burn out in 6.3 years, not 9.4
By Nick McMaster, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2011 7:56 PM CST
Updated Jan 22, 2011 7:00 PM CST
Compact flourescents are more efficient than old-fashioned incandescents, but not as long-lasting as originally thought, say studies in California.   (PRNewsFoto/OSRAM SYLVANIA)

(Newser) – Compact fluorescent light bulbs are promoted as revolutionary power-saving devices—able to produce more light with less juice and last for nearly 10 years. But a review of conservation measures undertaken by California—a state that adopted CFLs more enthusiastically than any other—shows the bulbs to be a little disappointing, reports the Wall Street Journal. CFLs were supposed to last 9.4 years, according to initial projections by California's PG&E, but that's now been revised to 6.3 years.

The bulbs burn out even faster in locations such as bathrooms and in recessed lighting, or when they're turned on and off frequently. They're still more efficient than the soon-to-be-gone incandescent bulbs, but considering that California utilities are shelling out $548 million over seven years to subsidize consumer purchases, the less-than-hoped-for results take a toll. "What California has learned, in a nutshell, is that it is hard to accurately predict and tricky to measure energy savings," writes the Journal.

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Jan 23, 2011 11:41 PM CST
Well, no shit. We've been in our house for just days over 4 years, and most of the CFLs we put in a year after moving in have been replaced at least once, some twice. For something that was supposed to save (minimal) money, it ends up costing more in the long-run. MUCH more. And I don't care what the package says, the "equivalent" bulbs are much dimmer, and the light is the wrong color. Everything has got this horrible orange to it now, instead of a crisp white. And the delay in full brightness, good grief! Sorry, just don't think they're worthwhile. Once plans come out to permanently stop selling normal incandescent, I'll start stocking up. These CFLs need serious improvement!
Jan 23, 2011 9:07 PM CST
6.3 years? BS. Mine always burn out after about 3 mos. I would be all for the things if they weren't so expensive to the original bulbs.
Green Lights
Jan 23, 2011 2:32 PM CST
Thomas Edison's first and other bulbs have been steadily burning since 1908, you can Google it. THAT is true sustainability. i hope this doesn't turn into a Right/Left thing, it's a simple case of 'Planned oboslence'...creating items for us to consume so we don't look at the truth. That the innocent light bulb was probably the greatest invention of all time. Simple, easy to dispose of, dimmable, warm. Those touting CFLs are just buying into GE's plan to take over every socket on the planet without having any plan to recycle these. It's not even on the packaging about the dangers if you break one. I feel sorry for little islands who are going to pollute their own ground water with these since they don't have recycling, Not even third world countries, heck, Miami Beach doesn't recycle at all. It's like watching lemmings go off the edge. I hope we're not complacent when the 'new law' to outlaw incandescents tries to push through. We can't say we didn't see it coming. There's a bill out right now to repeal the ban, take a look and keep it alive.