Are Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Junk?

Buyers complain that some eco-lights last hours, not years
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2009 2:35 PM CDT
Are Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Junk?
A display of compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs is seen at Ritters True Value Hardware in Mechanicsburg, Pa., Tuesday, April 29, 2008.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Compact fluorescent light bulbs cost a little more than regular bulbs, but they’re supposed to last for 10,000 hours, cut your electric bill, and, incidentally, help save the planet. But buyers are finding a disturbing number of bulbs that last hours, not years, the New York Times reports. “It’s irritating,” said one consumer, who found three defective bulbs among the 16 he bought.

Some experts say the government’s push to make the bulbs cheaper lead to manufacturers using low-quality components. Consumers counting on the government’s Energy Star sticker to certify bulbs may be disappointed; experts say the standards are weak. Energy Star “essentially establishes a floor, which sorts out the junk, with the expectation that the rest is good,” said one lighting expert. “It’s not.” (More light bulbs stories.)

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