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Thu, 03/09/2015 - 16:38 -- M0RBY

Is it just me or are energy saving lightbulbs rubbish? Not in the noble aim that they attempt to serve by reducing the carbon footprint of the average household but in the claims of the manufacturers.

Take, for example, some bulbs from General Electric that we installed in our kitchen. As part of an ongoing series of observations I have been noting the installation date of bulbs (writing the date on the bulb housing in pencil) and comparing them to the stated expected lifespans lauded all over the packaging (which I’ve also kept) – I know this might seem a little sad but without idiots like me making these sorts of notes, life doesn’t evolve :)

These 20W (90W equivalent) bulbs were installed on the 19th October 2013 in our kitchen. That is, by my calculations 684 days, a little short of two years.

Given that we are out most of the week and that we don’t live so far north as to render the place in total darkness all year round we only tend to switch the lights on when they are needed. Let’s say that they are on for (and we are being generous here) 8 hours a day from 4pm until midnight every day. In the winter it may be a bit more and in summer less. Swings and roundabouts.

This should give us 8000 / 8 = 1000 days of operation (rubbish in its own right given some of the old style bulbs are still going since we got here 16 years ago)

How is it then that we have had only 70% of this operating time?

Could it be to do with the number of switch activations? Again, I doubt it. The claim is that they can work for 5000 actuations. As the bulb has only been running for 684 days, we are not likely to have switched the thing on and off 7 times a day.

To be quite frank, I’m fed up with these bulbs. They are an environmental nightmare in their manufacture and their lifespan. You can’t recycle them at all and their lifespan is shocking.

Manufacturers of low energy bulbs you need to step up your game and sort this nonsense out. If only to stop me having to do things like this! I will continue my observations and will be slating them all over Twitter as this appears to be the only way to get any resolution from companies!

Rant off.


Submitted by andyripley on

I'd also question their claims for light output. Even from new they seem to be rather dimmer than their incandescent equivalents, and then their light output drops as they age. In fact I've cycled lamps from the kitchen round to the bathroom and hallways before they have become unusable.
The ones I've had difficulty with are the 30W ones, they are supposed to be the equivalent of a 150W lamp but I'd say nearer 100W, and they are like rocking horse muck - rare! In fact one thinks that we are all to try and do tasks in the gloom.
I'm not sure the energy savings really counter the price premium, except that they were subsidised and they were giving sets of them away by the energy companies (who should have really refunded you their excessive charges - quick rise very long wait to drop as wholesale prices changed.
I'd really like to just put a 4 or 5ft fluorescent up in the kitchen, at least I know it'd work for years. That is until they decided to ban those as well.