Keep CFLs From Burning Out Too Soon

It’s not cheap to switch your energy-efficient incandescent light bulbs to long-burning, compact fluorescent lamps, but you’ll save money in the long run by replacing the bulbs less often and by using less electricity to burn them.

So if you’ve noticed that your CFLs are burning out too soon, it could be that you’re buying the wrong kind.

Normal CFLs aren’t designed for use with dimmers. And they don’t last as long if you use them in enclosed areas or where there’s excessive heat, vibration or fluctuations in power.

Some tips:

  • Before you buy a bulb for a dimmer or another special use, check its label to learn if it’s made for that. Some CFLs work in dimmers, motion sensors or three-way sockets, for example. But not all of them do.
  • Buy the right size bulb for the fixture. Using a larger bulb or one that burns brighter than recommended for a lamp or ceiling fixture can cause the bulb to overheat and burn out prematurely.
  • Avoid placing CFLs in enclosed indoor fixtures. The lack of air circulation and increased heat can reduce its life.
  • Choose a special, more-durable CFL for use in an overhead fan light, which can vibrate and disturb the bulb.
  • If you’re using CFLs outdoors, find bulbs designed for exterior use, and check the package to learn if the bulbs can withstand cold temperatures. Placing them in protected fixtures.
  • Turning a CFL on and off frequently can shorten its life. Try to leave the CFL on for at least 15 minutes at a time.

With normal use, CFLs typically last for 10,000 hours--13 times longer than an incandescent bulb.