Compact Fluorescent "End of Life" Incident - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 2008-04-29, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
 
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Compact Fluorescent "End of Life" Incident

Hi:

Has anyone else experienced this?

I recently became alarmed by a smell in our bedroom. It smelled like burning electrical material.

A few days later, I discovered a burnt out Sylvania CF13EL bulb in the bedroom ceiling fixture.

There was soot on the fixture's receptacle (photo available).

There was soot on the Sylvania CF13EL bulb, at its base, near the screw (photo available).

This is frightening.

I have a few questions:

1. Is there a fire hazard from this sort of incident?

2. Was any mercury released during this incident?

Sylvania says NO to question one, and did not discuss question two. They do have a very few incidents of this type, and have asked for the bulb so that they can analyse it in their facility.
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 2008-04-29, 06:24 PM
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Months ago, I received an email from a reader who had experienced a similar incident although I don't recall the particular details.
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 2008-04-29, 06:27 PM
 
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There is some reading material here http://www.therenewableplanet.com/bl...Risk-Here.aspx
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 2008-04-29, 06:35 PM
 
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Its normal for there to be smoke, and melted plastic?
I guess its safe, but I would be worried too, if there was a burning smell, and then melted plastic...
We tried them in our living room, but didn't like them
We also had dimmers, which I think wouldn't work properly with the lights
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 2008-04-29, 06:43 PM
 
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You can buy special cfls for dimmers. They are more money than the regular ones and larger.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 2008-04-29, 07:02 PM
 
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Was it in an enclosed fixture ? An electrician friend of mine said this could be potentially unsafe ( due to high heat generated at the socket area ) also shortens bulb life.-If the light is used for extended periods.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 2008-04-29, 07:31 PM
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I posted this before when people started saying they would never use a CFL for safety reasons.

http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/a.../21/c5350.html
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 2008-04-29, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
 
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Globe Electric CFL Recall

Hi Jake:

Globe Electric issued a recall on some of their CFL's, probably much to the embarrasement of Porchlight. Reason was potential fire and shock hazard.
=========================

There's a recall on the Globe Electric CFL for their 13w mini spiral CFL manufactured from January 2002 to April 2003. Please read about it on their website: http://www.globe-electric.com/pdf/Pr...tober%2028.pdf and http://www.esa-safe.com/pdf/rn/Globe...%20release.pdf

There's a recall on the TCPI/Commercial Electric/DuraBright 32w 3-way CFL. Please read about it on the US Consumer Product Safety Commission website: www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml05/05064.html

Recall for 9w Teng Fei CFL on the US Consumer Product Safety Commission website: www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/prhtml05/05005.html
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 2008-04-29, 08:10 PM
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CFLs have a miniaturized power supply in their base. Like any electronics, it can become defective, short out and/or overheat. I am sure that the bases are designed to contain any fire. Otherwise they would not pass UL and CSA certification. Plastic stinks but that can happen with any electronics, even stuff that hasn't failed (especially new devices.) Even if the lamp overheats or some flames escape the lamp, electrical fixtures are designed to prevent the spread of fire. The heat given off by CFLs is much lower than incandescents so fire hazard is probably reduced.

Mercury is contained in the glass bulb. Mercury is only an issue if the glass itself is broken. Most consumer electronics components no longer contain significant amounts of toxic materials (though they are considered to be hazardous waste in some areas.) It is possible that melting or burning plastic and components could release small amounts of potentially harmful gases, I would not be concerned unless smoke is visible because the level will be low and will dissipate quickly. Devices that have failed should be taken out of service immediately and disposed of safely.
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 2008-04-30, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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CFL Stuff

Hi:

John 33: The fixture is ceiling-mounted. It is open to the air, all around its semi-circular glass shade -- and it is not recessed. The bulbs lasted about 4 years, which is about the right number of hours for the amount of use they get.

I Want My HDTV -- thanks for the info re: mercury. Apparently, some CFL manufacturers at the low end of the scale use ,well, low-end components and materials. This is where a fire hazard exists. Better mfrs (Sylvania, Phillips and so on) use UL-rated materials that are designed to be non-flammable. They also use better electronics with components called Voltage Dependent Resistors that are designed to act like fuses when the conditions demand it. When these VDR's go up, they can emit smoke.
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 2008-04-30, 01:04 PM
 
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Hi,
Are the CFL ones you buy at Rona/ Home depot any good ? I'd like to get some
more ones that do not flicker on start up. I'm just looking for normal room colour ones.

As a side question, how is the dimmer cfl technology working ? Are they worth getting
yet.

TIA
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 2008-04-30, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I_Want_My_HDTV View Post
Devices that have failed should be taken out of service immediately and disposed of safely.
In many cases, such as the one described in this post, the manufacturer will cover the cost to have the unit returned as it is crtiical for them to determine the cause of the failure and risk involved. This leads to better, safer products in the long run. UL and CSA labs may also be interested.

For disposal of a unit that fails safely, many stores (such as home depot I believe) offer a recycle box specifically for CFL so that the mercury and other elements can be safely extracted.
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 2008-05-01, 12:22 PM
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I saw a thing about these kind of CFL burn outs on TV a while ago. Apparently it is not unusual. As others have noted, there is no fire hazard, even though it looks pretty gruesome.

Long live the console war! Buy 'em all! Just don't give Sony any of your Personal info!
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 2008-05-01, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
 
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Manufacturer's Response

Hi Dosborne:

In my case, Osram Sylvania did just as you suggested. I shipped the smelly, smokey CFL back to them at their cost.

I also had a good conversation with a technical manager about the situation. He has agreed to relay some info to me about their findings.
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 2008-05-01, 09:54 PM
 
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How much mercury would be in one of these bulbs? My Dumb Dog ate about a 1/3 of a cfl she found in it's package on my night table. This was 3 weeks ago, and she seems fine, I did watch/examine her movements for internal bleeding (re: the glass) there was none.
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