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What is the expectation for unused fluorescent bulbs that are 1 year, 5 year and 10 years old? In general, do fluorescent bulbs appreciably degrade over the first 10 years?

I am referring to tubes and NOT CFLs.

  • Since it might make a difference, are you referring to tubes (which have no active components) or to CFLs which have some electronics (equivalent of starter + ballast)? – manassehkatz Dec 14 '18 at 15:31
  • Shelf life or in use lifetime expectation? – Alaska Man Dec 14 '18 at 22:12
  • Shelf life. Though it is conceivable that the longer it sits on the shelf the useful life would be reduced – gatorback Dec 14 '18 at 23:22
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I think there could be a chance of a less expensive lamp that was not well sealed leaking over many years I have found this true on incandescent lamps I bought cases of prior to the out law of standard 100w bulbs but have not seen the problem with linear flouresent tubes or CFL's . I just installed a CFL lamp last week that is at least 5 or 6 years old on my back porch it was fine, I have a few old 4' t8 tubes left in a case that is even older, however after these are gone or I have ballast fail I am converting to LED's because of more perceived light at 1/2 the power consumption. But as far as shelf life it may all come down to the quality of the tube.

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I have not seen any trouble with old tubes, and we have some that are genuine museum pieces in the 30yo range.

Tubes I tested and sorted into the "good bin/trash bin" 5 years ago, good bin still is reliable.

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