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Useful lifetime of power compact fluorescent tubes?

I recently switched out the first of a pair of Custom Sealife 27W tubes
after eight months use.  My plans were to alternately switch a tube every 8
months so that I would always have one tube less than 8 months old and one
tube more than 8 months old. This assumes a 16 month useful tube life.  The
difference in light intensity between the new tube and the other 8 month old
tube seemed fairly dramatic to my eye.  My plants seemed to be enjoying a
growth spurt since the switch.

Is there any real data on the intensity decay of these tubes?  How often do
you change a power compact tube?  Do most people run them till they burn
out?  I'm now thinking that a 12 month replacement cycle (that is change
alternating tubes every 6 months) is a better idea.

Joe K

2 inches of snow yesterday