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CFL Bulbs Are Not PERFECT !

According to energystar.gov, “If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs.”

BUT they can cause problems if not used correctly.

My husband came home and said one of the guys he works with was having trouble with his furnace. The man called a repair man. The first thing the repair man asked him was if he had recently replaced any bulbs with a cfl bulb. He told him that in the last week since it had gotten really cold he had received several calls that people's furnaces were not working. He had found in 6 cases that there was a new cfl bulb installed in the home that was the problem.

I asked my husband if the co-worker told him if the repair man had explained how the cfl bulb would interfere with the furnace and he said no. I wanted to know so I googled to see if I could find out. I didn't find anyone who explained this but I did find out about these problems I didnt know about.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps can’t be used with a dimmer, unless they are one of the newer types specifically designed for dimmer applications. If that is the case, the packaging and the bulb will clearly state that it can be used in a circuit with a dimmer.

CFLs should never be installed in a fixture that encloses the bulb without ventilation. While conventional bulbs can withstand very high temperatures (with some decrease in bulb life), CFLs will quickly self-destruct if they get too hot.

CFLs should be operated base-down. If operated in an inverted, base-up orientation, the heat generated by the fluorescent tube will rise, heating the bulb’s base containing the electronics, shortening the bulb’s life.

Like any fluorescent bulb, CFLs don’t work well in low ambient temperatures. Even when used indoors, if the air temperature is, let’s say, 50 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit, a CFL will operate at significantly reduced brightness until it has warmed up.

CFLs create rfi. They can cause tvs, radios, home alarm systems, wireless phones, cell phones not to work properly.

I wonder if the furnaces' thermostats were effected by the rfi? I also wonder if this may explain some problems my husband has been experiencing with his laptop. Hmmmmm, time to do some more investigating.


  1. Did you also know that there is mercury in the bulbs and that if one breaks you are supposed to hire someone to do the clean up to the tune of $2000??? That doesn't seem worth the savings to me.
    Not frugal and not safe for the environment.

  2. I replaced all my bulb in March of 2007 and several of the bulbs already had to be replaced.(Sept.) They were getting too hot, the base was turning brown on most. I wonder if they have a different real lifespan, then what were told.

  3. Call me a cheapskate or whatever, but I kept the receipt and package my bulbs come in. ALthough the owner of the store where I bought them told me goodluck trying to get them replaced or money back. He said they (the bulb company) will weasle out of the guarantee by stating they were misused. :(