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How Long Do Fluorescent Bulbs Last?

Although fluorescent bulbs do an impressive job providing light, they lose their effectiveness over time. But the question many people have to ask is: how long do fluorescent bulbs last?

In this post, we’ll answer that question and provide some tips on how to extend the lifespan of your fluorescent bulbs.

We’ll also discuss the benefits of using fluorescent bulbs and explain why they’re a smart choice for your lighting needs.

How Long Do Fluorescent Bulbs Last?

The lifespan of fluorescent bulbs varies depending on the type of bulb. However, most fluorescent bulbs have a life expectancy between 20,000 and 34,000 hours.

Fluorescent bulbs have become a favorite choice in most businesses and homes worldwide. They are long-lasting and energy efficient compared to traditional incandescent light bulbs. To get the best out of your fluorescent bulbs, follow the proper care instructions and choose the right type for your needs.

Factors that affect a fluorescent bulb’s lifespan

Quality of the Bulb

How Long Do Fluorescent Bulbs Last?

Like with other electronics, fluorescent bulbs vary in quality. So, naturally, expensive bulbs will last longer than cheaper ones. However, most fluorescent bulbs have a lifespan of between 20,000 and 34,000 hours. Higher-quality fluorescent bulbs may last longer.

Average Running Time

Fluorescent bulbs last longer when used frequently and for long hours, such as in an office or basement. When used for shorter periods, they will last a long time but not as when they are left on for long hours.

The temperature of the Room

Fluorescent bulbs may last longer in a cooler room. This is because it is easy to dissipate heat in a cooler room than in a hot one. So, if you want your fluorescent bulbs to last longer, use them in a cool, well-ventilated room.

Length of the Bulb

The length of your fluorescent bulb also affects its durability. Shorter bulbs tend to last longer than longer bulbs. Long bulbs have more surface area, creating space for heat to build up. And, as you know, heat is a great enemy of electronics.

Number of Starts

Fluorescent bulbs are more durable when they are rarely turned on and off. However, slight wear and tear happen whenever a bulb is turned on. Always limit the number of times you turn your bulbs on and off if you want them to last longer.

Quality of Power Supply

If the power supply in your premises is of poor quality, it can cause the fluorescent bulb to burn out or flicker prematurely. If the current is too high, it will also damage your bulb.

Comparison of lifespan between CFL and LED bulbs

LED bulbs last longer than CFL bulbs. CFLs have flickering problems and a shorter lifespan when turned on and off frequently. LEDs have several advantages over CFLs, including no toxic mercury use and longer lifetimes.

Tips for prolonging the life of a fluorescent bulb

  • Purchase a lower-wattage bulb: Although higher-wattage bulbs produce more light, they also generate a lot of heat, which can shorten their lifespan.
  • Reduce the number of times you switch the bulb on and off: Once you turn on a fluorescent bulb, it causes the filament inside to heat up and cool down. If done frequently, it can reduce the lifespan of the bulb.
  • Keep the Bulb Clean: Dirt and dust build-up on the bulb’s surface can cause overheating, which will shorten the lifespan of your bulb.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures: Fluorescent bulbs are designed to withstand temperatures between -20 and 40 degrees Celsius. Use them in a cooler, well-ventilated space.
  • Use a power surge to shield your bulbs from power surges: Power surges can ruin the filament inside the fluorescent bulbs and reduce their lifespan.
  • Store them in a cool, dry place: Don’t expose fluorescent bulbs to extreme temperatures and humidity. Store them in a cool, dry place to prolong their lifespan.
  • Stick to the manufacturer’s instructions: Different fluorescent bulbs come with their own instructions. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions during installation and usage to prolong lifespan. With the right usage and care, fluorescent bulbs are efficient and durable.

Best practices for replacing a fluorescent bulb

Here’s how to safely replace a fluorescent bulb:

  • Check if the bulb is too hot to the touch before holding it
  • Keep your hands near the base or ends of the bulb
  • Rotate the bulb clockwise to loosen it
  • Look for the pins holding the fluorescent bulbs in the light fixture
  • Gently rotate the bulb towards you and bring the bulb into vertical alignment
  • Place the bulb in a safe place while you add your replacement bulb


Fluorescent bulbs have different lifespans, but generally, they can be replaced after every year or two. Ensure you know when your fluorescent bulb will be replaced to prevent being caught without light, and also budget for the expense.

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