Last year, I posted on my lighting upgrade in my home. I changed out over 100 incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs for recessed cans, chandeliers, outdoor fixtures and lamps. Unfortunately, I had immediate negative results from several bulbs that came out of the box DOA. I was able to exchange them at the store but now wonder if they recycled the bad bulbs or just threw them away!
After about 3 months of use, I had several more of the CFL bulbs fail. Now that I have been using them for over a year, I have a whole box full of dead CFL bulbs and several dead bulbs that are still in fixtures that need replacing. This is very disappointing performance and in some cases, the CFLs had a much shorter life than incandescents in the same duty cycle!
The most disappointing performance was from the recessed can light bulbs. Several of the bulbs lasted less than 3 months. I spoke with a lighting engineer with a major manufacturer and he confirmed that most of the current CFL bulbs designed for recessed cans have trouble with the ballasts overheating and failing prematurely. My complaint here is that they shouldn't sell a CFL designed for canned lights, if they know there are design issues with using them in recessed lighting applications.
Now I need to make a decision about recycling vs. returning them to the manufacturers. I have several options for recycling in my community including city recycling and Home Depot. I don't have the receipts for the bulbs but I could try sending them back to the manufacturer hoping for a refund. However, I won't know if they will be properly recycled or just dumped in a landfill.
For reference, here are the manufacturers of the bulbs I've tried:
Lights of America - indoor recessed bulbs, standard fixture bulbs and chandelier-style bulbs
Phillips - indoor recessed bulbs (I have chandelier style bulbs but none of the Phillips brand have failed)
By far, the LIghts of America brand bulbs have been the most prone to failure. Per my previous post, if you decide to upgrade recessed and chandelier lighting, I would recommend skipping CFLs and going straight to LED bulbs. However, if you do proceed with CFLs for this application, stay away from the Lights of America brand. They just don't hold up. Make sure you save your receipts and cut out the UPC symbols and save them as well. Also, try to find "Energy Saver" branded bulbs. According to several sources, they must provide a two year warranty on the bulbs as one of the requirements for the branding.
I hope this is helpful for reference if you are planning a residential lighting upgrade. Is anyone else having the same issues with CFLs? If so, let us know!