Reports Of CFL Fire Danger On The Rise
We've all been led to believe that Compact fluorescent lamps or CFL's are a huge advancement over incandescent bulbs. Apparently they even start fires better.
They have a lifetime six to ten times as great and use a fifth of the power of incandescent bulbs. We've given some opinion before on CFLs, especially their dramatically increased cost but now there is another problem that should give you pause.
The US Consumer Product and Safety Commission launched an online complaint database in March. It has since seen reports of unsafe CFL bulbs. 34 reports to be exact, of bulbs emitting smoke or a burning odor. There have been four reports of fire.
After thinking about it I can remember at least one occasion where I replaced a CFL bulb and the old one had some burned and scorched areas. It wasn't something I reported or even thought long about. I'm just a little more careful with CFL bulbs.
It is unknown what causes the issue. The working theory is this: unlike an incandescent bulb which ceases to function electrically(the broken filament also breaks the circuit) when it no longer works, a CFL bulb continues to conduct electricity long after the gas inside fails to glow. Bulbs in fixtures will be powered after they burn out, with the other functioning bulbs providing light.
Now it seems the wisest course is to pull those bad CFL's as soon as they go out. Otherwise you could be risking a fire.