Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs are a Fire Hazard

Skeptical Eye on Earth Changes, Energy, more
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Fernando_the_First
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Here's an article that recommends compact fluorescent light bulbs and then list a few minor hazards like burning your house down.

http://www.buildinggreentv.com/workshop/lighting/1060

I installed some of these bulbs without doing the proper homework and then smelled something like burning styrene plastic for a few weeks until I finally "sniffed out" the problem.

The bulbs.

It seems that I had installed these bulbs in an enclosed fixture WITH a dimmer switch. I'm lucky to have avoided a major fire!

Just as with the heinous use of chemically altered fats (artificially un-saturated fat called "trans-fat") in order to address the "problem" of saturated fat in our diet, this cure for energy dependency is much worse than any disease.
"All major crime is an inside job."

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Rick Dagless
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Glad to hear you caught it before there was a disaster.

In California there are special fixtures required in new homes and remodels that are compatible with the new "eco-flourecent" bulbs.

But anybody can buy the bulbs at any store and plug them into anything they want that doesn't fit the code if it's not a new build or remodel.

Some public service announcements or some industry warnings might be helpful but it looks like it's just not important enough.
RockDock
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The CBC covered this story in 2004. I thought everybody knew enough to not use the horrible things.

Faulty light bulbs pose fire hazard, officials say
Last Updated: Thursday, December 2, 2004 | 12:17 PM ET
CBC News
Thousands of defective compact fluorescent light bulbs that have been sold across the country could short-circuit and cause fires, safety officials warn.

The bulbs have led to two fires in Alberta alone.

One bulb short-circuited in the home of a Fort Saskatchewan man, said Betty Lynn Akins, who investigates fires for the local fire department.

"He was having a nap at the time and it did activate his smoke alarm, so that made him aware there was an issue in his home."

No one was injured and the fire was quickly extinguished, she said, but "it could have been a lot worse."

The bulbs are made by a company in China and are labelled as "Globe mini-spiral 13 watts."

They also are stamped with a label reading "UL" or "Underwriters Laboratories," referring to a respected global firm that tests product reliability and safety.

However, the lamps were manufactured with parts that UL did not investigate. These parts can fail and melt a hole in the enclosure, posing a fire hazard.

The bulbs were sold across North America for more than a year, so thousands may have been installed in Canadian homes.

The Product Safety Branch of Health Canada is responsible for investigating and warning the public about some hazardous products.

The agency does not investigate electrical devices, though, so it's up to the provinces to warn consumers who may have the defective bulbs in their homes.


So that article is from 2004. In February 2007 the people at Green Guide claimed the plastic burning and turning black was normal.

Oh yeah, I really want burning plastics in my house as a part of "normal" operations!


Although a melted plastic base might lead you to believe otherwise, the Energy Wiser compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) you purchased are not a fire hazard. In fact, the melted plastic and burn marks are a sign that the bulb was working just as it should.

If you look at the plastic base, or ballast, of the light bulb, you should see a symbol indicating that the ballast is UL certified, which means that the plastic on the exterior can safely function during bulb operation and at the end of the bulb's life. The fact that the plastic on your bulb's ballast melted and turned black is totally normal, says John Drengenberg, consumer affairs manager at Underwriters Laboratory (UL), the company that evaluates plastics for, among other things, flammability characteristics. A CFL generates light from an electric current that runs through glass tubing filled with gases. The electrified gases emit ultraviolet radiation, which then comes in contact with a phosphorous lining on the glass, thus creating light. Bulbs burn out when the ballast overheats and an electronic component, the Voltage Dependent Resister (VDR), opens up like a fuse in your home's fuse box, shutting off the circuit and generating heat and possibly a small amount of smoke. This might sound dangerous, but the VDR is a cut-off switch that prevents any hazards. The melted plastic you're seeing where the glass coil connects to the ballast is simply a sign that the heat is escaping as intended in the design of the bulb.


Blah, blah blah... Sorry eco-freaks, but with each bulb containing very small amounts of mercury (*any* is too much), and with few of those bulbs ever being disposed of "properly" mixed with the normal operation spewing plastic smoke means that very few of those bulbs will find their way into my house.

When LED fixtures can produce warm "sun" coloured light, I will replace my incandescents.
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kathy
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We use these bulbs all around the house:

http://www.eudemon-int.com/index_uk.html

I noticed no plastic smell from them and they give a natural light.
Eudemon Pure Light negative ioniser bulbs deliver the daylight benefits
combined with those of the negative ioniser. So all those negative ioniser
benefits lie at the throw of a switch, which also reveals colours as they
appear in daylight!

At the same colour temperature as the sun, the bulb will help keep away
those blues caused by lack of sunlight. (e.g. S.A.D. Seasonal Affective
Disorder).

As with natural sunlight, the Eudemon bulb will also reduce glare and
eyestrain, helping the body produce vitamin D.

In essence, the Eudemon Pure Light simply enables the benefits of the
natural outdoors to be brought into and controlled in the home, providing
the householder with the means to enhance the lives of both family and
animals every hour the bulb is in use.

* Huge health benefits
* Daylight in the home
* Colours as they appear in daylight
* Purifies the air
* Helps remove anxiety, irritability, depression
To add to that they have reduced my electricity bill BIG time
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atm
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I use candle buffalo ethanol shit.

Works just fine, in the daytime. But the price of rice still ain't nice.

atm :|
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kathy
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actually atm we tried cow piss but it stunk like a skunk. Also tried running
lamps on cow farts but could not deal with the fall out, rebuilding is labor
intensive and costly.

Put that in your buffalo pipe and smoke it :twisted:

Reason I use energy saving bulbs it to save myself a small fortune on
electricity bills and the taxes paid on top of my electricity usage.

:wink:
RockDock
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I tried burning rabbit poo, but it stunk way too much and the smell of burning rabbit fur is sickening.

Sticking with my incandescents and candles from PartyLite. :)

Now that summer is almost here, the days are longer than 12 hours. w00t!
There are souls in the boots
Of the soldiers America
Fuck your yellow ribbon
If you want to
Support your troops
Bring them home
And hold them tight
When they get here
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Rumpl4skn
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I remember my Grandfather telling me about the good old days, when there was no electricity yet, and they had to watch television by candlelight.
RockDock
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Your Gramps had electric TV? Wow! My granddad only had an oil burner. Which really sucked as the inside of the screen would get fouled up with carbon and he would have to disassemble the unit to wipe the stuff off.

Of course that would always happen during his favorite shows!
There are souls in the boots
Of the soldiers America
Fuck your yellow ribbon
If you want to
Support your troops
Bring them home
And hold them tight
When they get here
-Andrea Gibson - For Eli
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Continuity
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Candles?! Oilburners!? :shock:

You were lucky. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.

And you try and tell the young people of today that ..... they won't believe you. :wink:
The rule for today.
Touch my tail, I shred your hand.
New rule tomorrow.

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RockDock
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Conti: Been perusing the Monty Python boards lately? :)

Back on track.

CFL bulbs still don't give the "daylight" spectrum I like to have in my lighting. And like I said, if spewing burning plastic is part of "normal operation" I don't want 'em.

Neither do LEDs but I found that if I put about twenty strings of LED xmas lights around the living room, it makes a pleasant enough ambient lighting. And 20 strings of these lights draws about 75W.

Some would say the strings are ugly, and I would tend to agree. But 75W!! to light a room?

I am looking forward to lighting designers using strings and bunches of LEDs in their fixtures.
There are souls in the boots
Of the soldiers America
Fuck your yellow ribbon
If you want to
Support your troops
Bring them home
And hold them tight
When they get here
-Andrea Gibson - For Eli
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Continuity
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You can get 6400K CFL lamps - they're mainly made for the Far East where they apparently prefer that kind of colour temperature to light their buildings with - the only problem is that it tends to make Caucasian skin tones look bloodless and corpse-like. ;)
The rule for today.
Touch my tail, I shred your hand.
New rule tomorrow.

Cat Haiku
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