First, studies have proven what consumers have been discovering. CFL’s rarely meet their rated life in real world applications. Why? Well they may have been used in the wrong application. But they also depend on being turned on continuously or at least for 4 hours at a time to meet their rated life. If they are on for only 1 hour you get a 20% to 50% reduction in lamp life. If the CFL is used with 5 to 30 minute use cycles like most incandescents, the life is reduced 70% to 85%. That means your 6,000 hour bulb is now lasting 900 hours, less than many incandescent bulbs.
Second, the lifetime quoted on a CFL is just an average, meaning that 50% of the lamps can and do fail before the stated hours and can still be considered a valid rating.
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