Compact Fluorescent Life Bulb Lifespan

Many Factors can Influence Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Lifespan

By Mark J. Donovan

Question: Compact fluorescent light bulb lifespan seems to be much shorter than advertised. I have purchased both inexpensive and expensive compact fluorescent light bulbs and both have had much shorter life spans then what I was told they would have. Do you have any idea why this might be?

Answer: Compact fluorescent light bulb lifespan varies by product and manufacturer, however in general they are designed to last 10-15 times longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs.

There are a many factors that can influence the life of a compact fluorescent light bulb.

One factor that can significantly reduce a compact fluorescent light bulb’s lifespan is turning it on for short periods of time, e.g. the bulb is on a switch that is frequently being turned on and off.

For example, a compact fluorescent light bulb that is only cycled on for 5 minutes at a time on average could see an 85% reduction in the bulb’s lifespan. The U.S. EnergyStar organization suggests increasing the cycle on/off time to a minimum of 15 minutes to prevent a dramatically shorter compact fluorescent light bulb lifespan.

Other factors that can reduce compact fluorescent light bulb lifespan are manufacturing defects, mechanical shocks from dropping or hitting the bulb, and fluctuations in operating voltage and voltage spikes.

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