How long do bulbs last in your can lights?

marti8aAugust 14, 2014

I didn't want to hijack the other thread, but it made me wonder if mine are normal or if I have a wiring problem. My bulbs only last about 6-9 months. They are CFL, the spiral inside the flood shaped bulb. The electrician who installed them said there was no wiring problem but sometimes enclosed CFLs don't last as long. These bulbs say they are 5 yr.

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I have no earthly idea whether this is true or who told me this (perhaps a little voice inside my own head??) but I recall hearing that if you screw in a bulb too tightly it will burn out more quickly. I used to replace my non-CFL can light bulbs all the time until I screwed them in more gently and it definitely improved their longevity By the time I adopted enclosed CFLs I was already using the gentle approach and mine lasted years....

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:41PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

I do not have CFLs in my cans but, that seems like an awfully short amount of time. We built our house 7 years ago and have not replaced a single can light in that time (all are incadescents).

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:30PM
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I'm having the same problem. I've lived in my house just over a year and replaced bulbs 2x. Its so annoying!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 11:21PM
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I have to change CFL bulbs much more often than the old bulbs. I hate them!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 12:32AM
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Elraes Miller

After trying them, have had the same experience. Is it because they are seated within a metal surround? Possibly getting to much heat? I'd love to know the answer. Or a suggestion for the right ones. At this point am not going to try LEDs, it would really tick me off if these went out short time.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 6:34AM
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Post your question on the "lighting" forum; lots of knowledgeable people over there.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 9:45AM
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At one point I had CFLs in the can lights outside my garage, so they were exposed to heat and moisture and vibration from the doors going up and down. They were on about eight hours per day. I found them to last 2 - 3 years while incandescent bulbs in the same fixtures lasted under a year. I've since switched over to LEDs.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 10:45AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

How many hours a day do you have them on? That could be part of the issue if you have them on throughout the day. We haven't replaced ours (incandescent ) for years, but we rarely have them on and they are on a dimmer, so we rarely have them full-on. We are very careful about turning lights out when we aren't in a room. I would not go with CFL (hazardous waste as discussed in other threads), but would give LED a try. I am going to start switching over as lights burn out, but will replace all the cans in kitchen/keeping room to LED at the same time.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 11:23AM
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We had some in our living room that lasted 20+ years. Of course, they were made in Mexico, not China. Some of the replacements didn't last very long. Now we have switched over to LED.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 11:28AM
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We've been having this same issue for the past few years! So frustrating to have brand new bulbs go out in six months!

I'll tell my husband to try the "don't overtighten" method and see if that works.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 11:29AM
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Update: Last night I remembered that it was actually an electrician who told me not to over-tighten bulbs and that he had to fix something in our can light fixtures so that they worked better once we started screwing them in more gently. I googled and found this info which is worth a read.

Here is a link that might be useful: Why light bulbs may fail prematurely

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 1:04PM
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Interesting, and will pass along to Handy Guy, thanks!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 6:09PM
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Thank you, MarinaGal! I will take a look at the brass tabs on my fixtures. I was seriously starting to think these CFL bulbs were a scam!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 6:30PM
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Thank you MarinaGal! I had never heard of overtightening or of the solder thing. I'll have dh read that link and take a look at ours. I bet that is what it is, because some of the bulbs work in other spots.

I did ask on the lighting forum last year when the first one went out and the consensus there is that our wiring was at fault. That's when I called the electrician back out.

This post was edited by marti8a on Fri, Aug 15, 14 at 20:32

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 8:31PM
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I detest CFL bulbs. They definitely burn out quicker and they also seem to get a greyish color to them after a while.

Some of the incandescent bulbs in my high hats have been going for nearly 10 years. They are on dimmers but we use them several hours a day.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 9:04PM
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