Monday, December 15, 2008

Commercial Electric CFL bulbs - why these failed the kaizeneer's test

One of my kaizens at home several years ago was to replace all the incandescent bulbs with compact flourescent bulbs (CFL). The CFLs were more expensive so I made the replacements slowly over a matter of months. Later, I noticed the some of the CFL bulbs were failing pre-maturely. I had put my trust in the manufacturers claims of longer life but it wasn't panning out. So, I started writing the date of replacement on the base of the CFL with a black Sharpie so I would know how many days had elasped from installation to failure. Due to poor CFL quality, I was not able to realize the financial ROI that the Commercial Electric company claims-in fact, I am sure I lost money using this product.

To make a long story short, the Commercial Electric CFL bulbs I bought have had a high failure rate and have not lived up to the claims of long life when I checked the installation dates recorded. Foolish me, I didn't save the packaging or my receipt(another kaizen!) so I can't get them replaced. However, my kaizen of writing the installation dates on the bases has paid off and I will no longer purchase CFLs made by Commercial Electric. The brand names CFLs like Sylvania have fared much better. Here's the exact information on the bulbs that failed:

Commercial Electric CFL
Model EDXO-14
120V 60Hz
14W .200A
V # 42836

Keep on improving. You can't afford not to!

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer


Dave said...


I have also had at least three of these bulbs fail. They were purchased in a seven pack at Home Depot. The packaging which has a "2004 Homer TLC, Inc." Copyright Mark has "Lasts 7 Years Guaranteed*" marked on it. The asterisk caveat indicates "*Based on 4 hours use per day". The customer service # is (800)378-6998. Hope that helps... although I have not been able to reach anyone on that number in at least two attempts. If I continue to be unsuccessful, I plan to take up the issue with Home Depot.

Now back to some last minute shopping!

Merry Christmas!!!

cabeachguy said...


These bulbs ARE a big scam. At first Home Depot sold them under the Commercial Electric brand, but tens of thousands of them were coming back and the sales dropped off. So the manufacturer started branding them TCPi and selling them through Home Depot and tens of thousands of them started coming back, with more and more complaints about reliability and lifespan. Now, the SAME manufacturer is selling the bulbs under the brand name Ecosmart. Same crappy product, same results, same lifespan.

To top it off, here in Tennessee the government is subsidizing the purchase of ONLY these bulbs in Home Depot by consumers in a 4 pack for 1 cent if you fill out a form. The price on the bulbs for a 4 pack is supposed to be $6.99.

With a little digging, you can find a 4 pack of GE CFC bulbs in the store for the same price of $6.99, but those bulbs are not offered on the deal at Home Depot.
Want to know why? The reason is that the Ecosmart bulbs are manufactured in China (as are the other two brands) and distributed exclusively via Home Depot. As such, Home Depot makes about 3 times as much money on the Ecosmart bulbs than on the sale of the GE bulbs.

Put all these factors together….Home Depot is using a federal program designed to spur use of CFC’s to make huge profits by selling their proven crappy Chinese bulbs instead of promoting US jobs by including (or, better yet selling exclusively) the sale of the GE bulbs under the federally subsidized program.

Bottom line for Home Depot: it’s ALL about the profit and keeping the stock price up. Sell the sheep the crap Chinese stuff and don’t worry about US manufacturing jobs.


Sal B. said...

10/16/2016: Mine just burned out yesterday and worked fine without issue since I purchased and installed in 2008. It's actually the 2nd one that lasted that long. The other burned out earlier this year.