Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Burned out on compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs

In this post from last fall, I offered some personal opinions of LED bulbs.  My objection to them was the yellowing of the face-plate, which I find to be yucky-looking.  That being said, we haven't had a full-blown (pun intended) malfunction with any of them, and for the past several years, we've had them installed in our kitchen, where they get hours and hours of use every day. 

The same non-blowing claim cannot be made for the compact fluorescents I've purchased.
All of these things advertise years of hassle-free low-cost ownership.  But if my house is only three years old, why have two thirds of my CFs already burned out in this secondary bathroom?!
You can see that's a pretty common style of six-bulb bathroom strip fixture above.  Conveniently, Sam's Club sells low-wattage CFs in six-bulb packages:
I am a fan of Sam's Club.  This package was about fourteen bucks. 
So I'm going to do a little experiment, now.  I removed all of those old bulbs, including the two that were not yet burned out, and installed these six new ones.
But before I did so, I manually dated the base of each one of them with a red fine-point Sharpie, just to be absolutely sure that nobody swaps them when I'm not looking. 
Here's what the warranty claims:
I find it a bit confusing.  At the top, it predicts a 9-year lifespan.  But they're only guaranteed for 5 years.  I'm sure there's some logic in there somewhere. 

A secondary bathroom is not used more than 3 hours per day, so I'm safe on that point. 
Just to be extra-anal, I was very careful about how I installed these babies:
There's an old saying, maybe urban legend or maybe not, which claims that if you touch a light bulb with your bare hands, the oil from your skin can leave a residue which can weaken the glass and shorten the lifespan of the bulb.  I don't know if there's any truth to that or not, but I handled them with gloves just to eliminate that variable. 
So this latest suburban science project is now up and running, but there's one more thing to remember...
...if I (or anyone else) needs to make a warranty claim on these bulbs, proof of purchase (i.e., receipt) will be required.  However, I find it unlikely that a receipt printed on thermal paper will survive five years because they are notorious for fading.  Therefore, it's important to make a scanned copy of the sales receipt. 

Of course, in my case, if do I need to make a claim, I may just send GE the URL for this blog post. 

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