While trying to figure out why my recently purchased CFLs are failing with exceptional speed, I learned that I must be way behind the curve.
Efficient Lighting Lessons From This Old House TV – Your Fixtures May be Shortening the Life of Your CFL
By now, most of us know these bulbs will burn out quickly if they’re turned on and off too frequently or placed in enclosed fixtures that don’t let heat dissipate. But the same thing can happen if the bulb is installed upside down, with the ballast above the bulb. One theory is that excess heat from the bulb rises, potentially damaging the ballast components. “That’s why many recessed CFL ceiling fixtures are designed with the bulbs oriented horizontally, not vertically,” says Bergman, referring to U-shaped CFLs with prongs instead of screw-in bases.
I had no idea about this. I thought CFLs, aside from not being dimmable, could be used like regular incandescent bulbs. As best I can tell, I can use standard CFLs in only 5 of the 36 bulb sockets in my house, and those 5 don’t even get used very much. Blerg.