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BOB OLINGER
10-30-2017, 12:07 PM
Does anyone have any thoughts on light bulbs that burn out way in advance of their projected life expectancy? For example, a 3-way conventional bulb in the lamp by my recliner (used for reading) just burnt out. I know it didn't last as long as the life expectancy. We've had the same thing happen for good LED bulbs, like in the garage - they don't last as long as stated. BUT, what do we do, there's no claim or retribution other than disturbance on our part, is there?

Kev Williams
10-30-2017, 12:22 PM
I bought an LED-lit magnifier, maybe 5 years ago. That's quite awhile but the box stated something like '20 year lifespan'. About a month ago it started flickering like an on-the-way-out fluorescent tube, only faster. Does it for up to 10 minutes, then finally works. While it does technically still work, the wait is pretty irritating, and you simply can't look at it while it's flickering...

hard to warranty light bulbs I guess ;)

andrew whicker
10-30-2017, 12:44 PM
If it helps, you can pick up some great bulb deals at Re Store's (the habitat for humanity stores). They sell halogens for something like a dollar a bulb and LED's for slightly more. (I have not had luck with tubes, just bulbs)

cheers,

John K Jordan
10-30-2017, 12:48 PM
Does anyone have any thoughts on light bulbs that burn out way in advance of their projected life expectancy? For example, a 3-way conventional bulb in the lamp by my recliner (used for reading) just burnt out. I know it didn't last as long as the life expectancy. We've had the same thing happen for good LED bulbs, like in the garage - they don't last as long as stated. BUT, what do we do, there's no claim or retribution other than disturbance on our part, is there?

Bob,

I started writing the date near the base of my bulbs when I install them. The gentleman at Home Depot told me if any bulbs didn't last as long as they should just bring them back and exchange them for new! (The Phillips brand they sell seem to be the worst.) I haven't tried this yet but the chances of success might be better with some documentation.

Something I found really works for incandescent bulbs: buy 130v bulbs. The light output is reduced a tiny bit but the life is greatly extended. They are sometimes hard to find but years ago I bought a lifetime supply. (I prefer the light from incandescents for some uses even if they do cost more to run.) At one point I found buttons place in the socket under the screw base which reduced the voltage a little - these worked too but I have no idea where to find them now. You could probably plug your lamp into a dimmer and dim it ever so slightly.

As for CFL bulbs, I've read this and my experience shows some merit: when turning on a CFL leave it on for at least 15 minutes so the temperature can reach equlibrium. I used to have those burn out prematurely. But one outside on a pole near my horse pasture I left on continuously for years - it finally burned out when I was working on the power and turned it on and off too quickly!

As for LEDs, I don't know how to extend their life except make sure they have plenty of ventilation or a good cooling heatsink. Perhaps the Home Depot thing would be good there if it's true. I refuse to buy fixtures with hard-wired LEDs since I've had several go bad - I'd rather use a replaceable LED bulb. BTW, HD also told me I could return LED fixtures that burn out but I didn't save the receipts.

BTW, even with bulbs not lasting as long as they should we've got it great compared to some. I was working at a children's camp in the highlands of central Mexico, adding lighting circuits and fixtures and repairing and replacing things. (One classroom in a basement only had what daylight came down a stairwell!) One day I purchased and installed at least a dozen incandescent bulbs in a dining area. Without making a 5-hour drive to San Louis Petosi I bought the only bulbs available at a little local shop. At least half of them burned out in the first 24 hours! The missionary said that was typical. On the next trip I brought crates of electrical supplies including bulbs!

JKJ

Andrew Joiner
10-30-2017, 1:33 PM
I researched the life span claims on led bulbs. It's based on averages in testing. Since the prices have dropped on led bulbs, I'm finally changing over. The real value/price point is 60 Watt equivalent leds. Even my local dollar store has a well reviewed brand.

I'm using two-socket adapters to double up bulbs and lumens in our existing fixtures. Lots of lumens fairly cheap so if they burn out before the claimed 10 years who cares!

Paul F Franklin
10-30-2017, 1:36 PM
Aside from factors that others have mentioned that might shorten bulb life, one should keep in mind how stated life is determined.

If you take a large number of bulbs and run a test to determine their lifetimes, and then plot lifetime vs number of failures at that time, you will get a bell curve, or close to it.

I think consumer expectation is that the lifetime figure on the box should be at the -2 standard deviation point of the curve, which would mean about 97% of the bulbs would last that long or longer.

Manufacturers are free (or at least at wide latitude) to choose any point they like or think they can get away with. I suspect most reputable manufactures choose the mean point, meaning half the bulbs will fail sooner (some much sooner) and half will last longer (some much longer). They can state that as the "average" life with clear conscience. So right off the bat, there is a substantial difference between customer expectation and manufacturer claim. Add to that the likelihood that manufacturer tests are done under optimum conditions (always on, reasonable temperature, steady line voltage with no spikes, etc) where most bulbs see more stressful operation and you can see why it is common for bulbs to fail earlier than the "average" life stated on the box.

Add to *that* disreputable manufacturers who have poor quality control and who purposely misstate average life, and you get the situation where most of the bulbs fail before stated life.

Having said all that, it's been my experience that current LED's are much better than the early ones, and much better that the CFLs ever were. Do I expect them to last 10 years or 20 years....well, some of them will; most probably won't.

Steve Peterson
10-30-2017, 1:49 PM
The great thing about LEDs is that they last for 20000 hours. The bad thing is that they need other components to get them to operate at 120VAC. The capacitors used are probably the weak link and they start failing way before 20000 hours. So the label may be correctly stating that the LEDs are rated for 20000 hours, but it is extremely misleading if the capacitors fail at 1000 hours.

Not sure what the solution is. I keep buying them for the energy savings. The quality does appear to be getting better. The success rate 5 years ago was maybe a 50% chance that they would last a year. More recent purchases have at least a 95% success rate. I usually stock up at Costco when the local utility company adds a rebate.

Andrew Pitonyak
10-30-2017, 5:00 PM
Many of my "20 year" LED bulbs burned out in well under 2 years. One set of bulbs were fakes. They were labeled one thing, but the claimed manufacturer said "nope, sorry, not our bulbs, the circuit board is wrong". Hopefully that is less true than it used to be. the known fakes were purchased on Amazon. I mean, I now know that they are fakes, Amazon pulled the item from availability when it was figured out.

Based on my experience, I have no particular reason to expect the bulbs to last as long as the CFLs that I have used in the past. I am, however, trying to choose name brands that I know well from distribution channels that I feel are less likely to be compromised. Hopefully, this will yield bulbs that last closer to the manufacturer's claimed life. For sure, if it is a "knock off", their only goal is to last long enough to sell their existing stock and then disappear. Safety and long life is not any concern of theirs.

Yonak Hawkins
10-30-2017, 5:05 PM
BOB, I don't know if this is related to your question but I've noticed that in some fixtures incandescent bulbs just seem to burn out much more quickly and regularly than most of the other fixtures. ..Especially one night light and one lamp ; it seems like I have to change the bulbs every month while I have never changed the bulbs in many of my incandescent fixtures. Is there something about these fixtures that make the bulbs burn out more often ?

roger wiegand
10-30-2017, 5:20 PM
The other marketing scam is how that "20 year life" is determined. They show that an "average bulb" will go for 7,000 hours (without cycling on and off), then assume that you run the light one hour a day, hence a lifetime of 7000 days or ~20 years. Only problem is you do cycle the bulb, shortening its lifespan, and for many fixtures you run it more than an hour a day.

I bought some fearsomely expensive ($30) specialty bulbs when we just finished our addition. They are on a lot and are still going strong after five years, none have given up--which is good, they are in hard-to-reach fixtures. The $2.99 LED floodlights in all the can lights from the Borg last about 2 years on average. That's comparable in both price and lifespan to the incandescents or halogens I've used.

Perry Hilbert Jr
10-30-2017, 5:43 PM
Around 2008 I was given an LED bulb that screwed into a standard l;ight bulb socket. Don't recall the brand. It was expensive, like $11.00 at the time. The light output was about the equivalent of a 25 watt incandescent. So what the heck. I installed it in the exterior light next to the front door. That bulb stayed on 24-7 (unless there was a power outage) until the house burned down in early 2015. We were going through regular incandescent bulbs about once every 4 months. Mrs. was going to college at night and step son worked second shift so the light on the front was necessary. The experience with the LED convinced us to switch over as soon as we could afford more bulbs. Our electric bill dropped about $8.00 a month. That was a three 24-7 outdoor bulbs, plus lights for indoors at night, base ment during the day and out in the barn in early mornings. (CFL's were worthless below 30 degrees. ) The savings was enough to buy a new bulb every month. We had one of the two dozen LED bulbs stop working. Our new house has a mixture of incandescent, cfl and LED fixtures. The outdoor lights are all sealed LED's CFLs would be worthless outdoors in winter and the dampness would get to and kill regular incandescents. The bedroom ceiling fixture has no bulb, just a ring of yellow LED spots covered by a frosted glass cover. Puts out about the equivalent of 150 watts. Our power company recently sent us a bunch of LED bulbs and other electricity saving items. Other than they are not bright enough for reading, they are great.

As for warranty. There is a warranty of fitness for use as a lightbulb. In most states under the uniform commercial code, there is also a warranty of fair and average quality. I believe the second one may permit making a claim. An LEd bulb that is advertised as having an average life of 20 years that fails at 18 months, certainly was not up to the fair and average. But then is it worth suing over.

Adam Herman
10-30-2017, 6:22 PM
i recently had a more expensive 3 way led go out, submitted a claim with Cree today and I got a reply that my claim would be processedin 1 to 2 business days. we will see if i get anything out of it.

Wayne Lomman
10-30-2017, 11:17 PM
Supply current stability is a factor as well. Given the stories I read on this forum about power company performance, it's worth checking. Not an issue for me as our power supply is subject to performance regulation - if they don't perform, they pay the consumer.
We had issues a few years back with lights blowing early. It was voltage instability. They fixed it and no more problems.
I disagree with newer bulbs being better. The early LEDs were so reliable that no-one was replacing them. Manufacturers then shortened lifespan to get repeat business. As for believing the spiel on the packet, take your chances... Cheers

Curt Harms
10-31-2017, 6:50 AM
The early LEDs were so reliable that no-one was replacing them. Manufacturers then shortened lifespan to get repeat business.

I wonder if the same is true of CFLs. We have a few CFLs purchased when they were pretty expensive that have been durable. I still much prefer LED bulbs and tubes for their light quality.

Frederick Skelly
10-31-2017, 7:32 AM
The other marketing scam is how that "20 year life" is determined. They show that an "average bulb" will go for 7,000 hours (without cycling on and off), then assume that you run the light one hour a day, hence a lifetime of 7000 days or ~20 years. Only problem is you do cycle the bulb, shortening its lifespan, and for many fixtures you run it more than an hour a day.

I've noticed these shenanigans too. So, I don't pay any attention to the advertized life expectancy of the bulb. I write the date installed on the base and track it by brand. It's the only consistent and "easy" approach I've come up with.

Fred

Barry McFadden
10-31-2017, 7:39 AM
I have the same problem with a 3 way bulb in the family room. I put a new bulb in and sometimes within weeks only one setting works or the bulb is out completely. I actually had one flash and burn out as I installed it! A while ago I even put a new socket in and I still have the same problem with the bulbs.

Jerome Stanek
10-31-2017, 8:58 AM
I saw something on the light bulb that is in the fire house that has been burning for over 100 years. They said that when they first came out with them they would last to long so they started making them to burn out

Jim Becker
10-31-2017, 11:05 AM
In the end...how many folks are honestly going to even bother taking the time to replace a lighting source that "burns out" prematurely? Some will, for sure, but most will not. Hence, the manufacturers/retailers are not going to worry too much about it and will cheerfully replace any that actually do show up. I've had very few CFLs fail and no LEDs fail to-date. The CFLs that did give up the ghost are outside security lights that automatically cycle on and off daily and as someone already noted, on-off cycles seem to be a factor, regadrless of light source type.

Stephen Tashiro
10-31-2017, 12:47 PM
As for LEDs, I don't know how to extend their life except make sure they have plenty of ventilation or a good cooling heatsink.

Light fixture fashion hadn't changed to accommodate LEDs. The directions for many LED bulbs say not to use them in a completely enclosed fixture. Yet when I tour the light fixtures at Lowes or Home Depot, at least half the overhead light fixtures have completely enclosed domes. Many vanity lights and sconces that have open shades don't look well ventilated.

Just as a matter of appearance, its irritating to deal with the slightly larger size of LED bulbs. For example, if you put 100W equilvalent LEDs in an old light fixture that has the platter style of shade , the top of the LED bulbs may be visible over the edge of the shade.

I've had LED bulbs that make an audible noise. I wonder if any of them contain a small fan!

Jerome Stanek
10-31-2017, 2:30 PM
I have had an LED fail that was only about 7 months old

Adam Herman
10-31-2017, 5:36 PM
I will only ever buy the Cree stuff now. They are sending me a new bulb, no questions asked to replace one that went out!

Stan Calow
10-31-2017, 6:11 PM
When LEDs first came out, I bought a few at around $7 each, to replace some lights in the kitchen. About two weeks later, I hit and broke one with a mop handle, thereby erasing any lifetime cost savings.

Jerome Stanek
10-31-2017, 7:44 PM
I did ask for my warranty and I had the receipt but they said that that model was no longer made. I ended up talking to a couple CS reps and finally they agreed to send me a replacement for the $40.00 one that went bad new one is now just a year old and works fine

Matt Meiser
11-01-2017, 10:10 AM
We are almost 100% LED for screw-in bulbs and even the fluorescent strip in the master closet. I've not converted the fluorescent strips we put in the garage and basement. Almost all of them came from Costco. Knock on wood, I think we've had 2 LEDs fail in a little over 3 years, both very early. One was more of a mechanical failure where the bulb fell apart. The other just quit working. I had them sitting forever to go back to Costco for replacement but we kept forgetting and I eventually just tossed them.

CFLs we had a lot more failures. I had success (kind of) getting Home Depot to replace them a few times. Initially, management refused so I stood in the store and called the CS number on the bulb (which was Home Depot CS) who told me the store would replace it on the spot. She put me on hold, called the store I was at and talked to the manager who's attitude instantly changed.

Lee Schierer
11-01-2017, 9:02 PM
I have the same problem with a 3 way bulb in the family room. I put a new bulb in and sometimes within weeks only one setting works or the bulb is out completely. I actually had one flash and burn out as I installed it! A while ago I even put a new socket in and I still have the same problem with the bulbs.

We replaced our 3-way bulbs with the Philips 120V 3WAY A21 20W 2700K E26 so far no failures after at least 3 years. Ours burn for several hours every day. They have excellent light out put and color for reading.370778 I purchased them at the local Borg.

Brian Elfert
11-01-2017, 10:05 PM
I replaced all of the light bulbs in my house with LED almost three years ago. Not a single failure to date! I have Philips, Cree, and GE bulbs. I found that CFL bulbs failed pretty quickly for the most part.

The Mythbuster did a light bulb test in 2006. They turned light bulbs on and off every two minutes. The early LED bulb they used was still going strong after six weeks while all other bulbs had long since burned out.

Dave Lehnert
11-02-2017, 1:07 AM
At work we moved into a new building about 3 years ago.
All the lighting in the shop was installed new with LED's. Few months ago we had a light go out ( not the first one). The company that did the install came in to fix. I said to the service guy I thought LEDs lasted for years. He said yes they do but not the fixture/ circuit board.

John K Jordan
11-02-2017, 6:54 AM
... I said to the service guy I thought LEDs lasted for years. He said yes they do but not the fixture/ circuit board.

I don't remember seeing a disclaimer about that on any LED bulb or fixture packaging!

JKJ

Mark Blatter
11-03-2017, 9:00 PM
I believe LEDs are more reliant on quality than any other bulb at this point. I have some from different manufacturers, but the only ones I ever had an issue with is Feit, from Costco. I bought some of the 4' fixtures for my shop and the first one I plugged in last about 6 seconds, then died. I was so disgusted I just took them all back. I have had the cheap T8 fixtures from Depot running now for three years and have not lost a single one, nor any bulbs.

LED lights are changing so fast, and the competition is pretty stiff, so I believe they all compete on price, believing (correctly) that most will buy any LED as they 'always' last a long time. We all want quality for cheap, yet all know they are mutally exclusive.

Curt Harms
11-04-2017, 9:15 AM
I have the same problem with a 3 way bulb in the family room. I put a new bulb in and sometimes within weeks only one setting works or the bulb is out completely. I actually had one flash and burn out as I installed it! A while ago I even put a new socket in and I still have the same problem with the bulbs.

I'm not fond of 3 way bulbs either but SWMBO likes the variable light output. We were in a local ACE hardware that had a 100 watt equivalent LED bulb on clearance. She homes in on clearance merchandise like a bee to a flower. ACE also had a dimmer device that screws into a standard socket and has a knob on the side. We bought both to replace a problematic 3 way CFL. Much better, it comes on first time every time. I've been eyeing replacement lamp sockets that have a dimming mechanism in place of the standard on-off switch but haven't bought one yet.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_8_11/135-7803467-7187965?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lamp+socket+dimmer&sprefix=lamp+socket%2Caps%2C165&crid=2RX2VU0RTHNKN

Adam Herman
11-09-2017, 11:57 AM
I will only ever buy the Cree stuff now. They are sending me a new bulb, no questions asked to replace one that went out!

i got my replacement in about a week. They really do stand behind their product!

Rollie Meyers
11-19-2017, 12:30 AM
i got my replacement in about a week. They really do stand behind their product!

Did you have to include a receipt? Have a number of failed Cree LED A-lamps, but tossed the receipts, as a whole LED's don't do much better then CFL's in terms of lifespan but like them better just because LED lamps come up to full brightness immediately. BTW, the worst lifespan was Utilitech from Lowes, but they did refund my money, so have to give them credit for that.

Curt Harms
11-19-2017, 8:54 AM
Did you have to include a receipt? Have a number of failed Cree LED A-lamps, but tossed the receipts, as a whole LED's don't do much better then CFL's in terms of lifespan but like them better just because LED lamps come up to full brightness immediately. BTW, the worst lifespan was Utilitech from Lowes, but they did refund my money, so have to give them credit for that.

I hope your Utilitech failure was a one-off. I bought two Utilitech 4 Ft. LED tubes that work with or without a ballast. I put them in a 20+ year old fixture after removing the ballast. So far so good, 2 tubes for $11, price good 'til January 2018. The tubes came with a sticker to apply to the fixture stating that the ballast had been removed from the fixture. The sticker also had the manufacturer's name on it, it was certainly not Utilitech but some Chinese outfit.