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Old    Jason Buffalow (buffalow)      Join Date: Apr 2002       02-09-2012, 7:36 AM Reply   
Hey WW,

I have standard ceiling cans with flood lights throughout my house. These were installed with the house brand new 7 years ago. We go through a TON of light bulbs. Like in the kitchen we have 6 flood bulbs and I probably change them about every 2-3 months. In the bathrooms we have a few 3 bulb fixtures with standard bulbs and those go out about once a month. I have tried cheapy bulbs, expensive bulbs, high efficiency and even tried LED and nothing works. We only even use the bulk of these lights for 2-3 hours per day. It's mostly the can lights that burn out.

Any thoughts? Anything I can check? Any other bulbs that might help this? I think it is probably ballast related, but changing those cans is probably a nightmare?

We don't have any other electrical issues with the house and I don't think the power has ever gone out.
Old    Dave Gast (nautiquesonly)      Join Date: Sep 2007       02-09-2012, 8:01 AM Reply   
as far as the cans go,make sure u are using the right wattage bulb. If the bulb is to big the cans will over heat. newer cans will cycle back on after they shut themselves off and cool down. I am pretty sure most cans don't like anything bigger than 60 watts. Also some fixtures will not work with cfl bulbs. look inside the can to see the max wattage allowed on the label and go slightly smaller. Als you can adjust the depth of the cans with a wing nut that is inside. lower the bulb down as that can help disipate heat. If the house is newer which you may have said, it could just be time to replace builder grade junk. You wall mount fixtures i really have on clue other than maybe builder grade atuff too.
Old    Trapper (canucked)      Join Date: Jun 2007       02-09-2012, 1:07 PM Reply   
I have this problem with a few of my fixtures as well...contantly changing the bulbs.

Mine are not cfl's they are the little round Halogens, and they are expensive.

Interested to hear is an electrical issue can cause this?
Old    Scott (crypted1)      Join Date: Jun 2009       02-09-2012, 2:14 PM Reply   
Your cans are overheating.
I have many many cans in my house and had the same problem. I talked to a buddy of mine who is a residential electrician, (i'm industrial) and he said to check to see if the cans were over heating. They would get EXTREAMLY hot after only being on a few mins. Like 10-15 mins. I climed up in the attic and pulled the insulation off the cans, bought and installed the tubes to keep the insulation off the cans, and don't have that problem anymore.
It does seem crazy to pull the insulation off your cans, but some cans espically the older ones were designed to "breath" and dont do well with insulation covering them. And also it allowes a place for the heat to escape and not collect overheating your bulbs.
This is what I did to solve my issue: It may solve yours...it may not. I would turn your lights on, climb in your attic and see how hot they are...then decide what your comfortable with doing to solve your issue.
Old    Jason Buffalow (buffalow)      Join Date: Apr 2002       02-09-2012, 2:24 PM Reply   
Unfourt. it is a two story house and they are rocked in so no way to look above other than getting the can out some how. One of my buddies thinks is the little brass "connector" where the end of the bulb makes contact, he says on builder grade stuff it is often that they do not stick far enough down causing a bad contact.

He recommends ripping out and doing LED retro kit. 50K life bulbs and not the heat build up.

He says often it's just builder grade junk thats the problem
Old    Baitkiller (baitkiller)      Join Date: Jan 2010       02-09-2012, 2:55 PM Reply   
Scott may have hit it. I used HD cheepo cans in my office addition and noticed that one out of four lights burned out 3:1 compared to the rest. Always this one can. I got a ladder out and unscrewed the adjuster wing nuts and slid it down far enough to get a hand inside. I pushed the insulation out of the way the best i could and the problem seems to have gone away. This is a vaulted ceiling with no access.
Old    Jason Buffalow (buffalow)      Join Date: Apr 2002       02-13-2012, 7:58 AM Reply   
So based on this and a few other electrician buddies, I swapped the lights. Went down to the depot and bought 10 LED conversion/retro kits for $39. each. WOW. The light is much brighter, warmer color and the LED runs much cooler to the touch. They look and work awesome. They do not have that stupid delay that the CFL's have that the wife hates while they warm up. 65Watt traditional bulb is now 14 watts with a much better result. I kept the receipt and boxes and we'll see how it goes. If they go out, I am returning them all. So far... Big thumbs up.
Old    Scott (crypted1)      Join Date: Jun 2009       02-14-2012, 4:28 AM Reply   
Good for you!!!!
LED is the way to go. At the plant where I work, we are in the process of switching all of our lights to LED. Main plant lighting, fixture lighting, and robot cell lighting. All the lighting on control pannels have been switched already.
The guys on my crew love it. Change the bulb once and never touch it again. The LED's are much cooler heat wise, use less energy, put out a better light, and last much longer.
I bet you love your LED's! And over time you wonder why you didn't switch sooner...
Old    J D (jeff_mn)      Join Date: Jul 2009       02-14-2012, 6:53 AM Reply   
Can you post some before and after pics Jason? I wouldn't mind doing this on my main floor.
Old    Jason Buffalow (buffalow)      Join Date: Apr 2002       02-14-2012, 8:42 AM Reply   
No because the old ones are out, but I have some ones upstairs I have not yet changed, so let me take a photo of that and the new one tonight and I'll throw them up here tomorrow.
Old    Matt (duramat)      Join Date: Feb 2008       02-17-2012, 8:32 PM Reply   
I know vibration is bad on filaments (stereos, kids upstairs,etc). Heat kills lamps. CFLS have come a long way BUT I still can't win on them in my house. I've replaced all my halogen par lamps for CFLS and I still get short life out of them. I've dropped the wattage down and still no luck. I asked a co-worker of mine that has his own electrical supply store and he says it's the constant on/off of the lamps (turning them on/off) The inrush current is taking its toll on the electronics of the lamp. (I can understand that) I'm about ready to put a surge suppression system on my main and panel downstairs, can't always rely on your power co. for clean power.(Really a good idea considering all the electronics you have in your home now these days)

LED, my wife's uncle is in the theatre lighting business, and has been for quite some time. He was the first to go LED and has done ALOT of R&D and has learned what works and what doesn't . Talking with him he says there is alot of junk (LED) out on the market now. What fails the most are the drivers for them (they get HOT) I'm still waiting to see what the verdict is on the new LED's (for cans) is. Who's product is lasting and who's isn't (GE, SYLVANIA, TCP, PHILLIPS, etc)

If you found a good LED replacement for can lights I'm all ears. I'd love to know what to try and feel confident that I ain't wasting my money. My big peeve is the washed out color/feeling from them (most I've seen)

My background: worked 3 years for GE lighting distributor (largest in UT, and largest stocking in the west) and the past 14 as res/commercial/industrial electrical.

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