C-9 Bulbs

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by Tq23, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. Tq23

    Tq23 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 98

    I was wondering how many seasons do you use your C-9 bulbs before replacing them, or do you just wait until they burn out and then replace one at at time?

  2. Toy2

    Toy2 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,924

    On the two houses I install Chrismas lights, I wait until they burn out, my bigger problem is paint coming off the colored ones...
  3. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    we have several display properties that have bulbs that are 8 years old. we have replaced as needed, but we reccomend to all customers to replace all bulbs in year 6 or 7. upon full replacement we give a 3 season warranty. colored c-9's pretty much need full replacement at year 5 or 6.
  4. 4.3mudder

    4.3mudder LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,227

    I have put up many strands, usually out of 6 strands, 3 bulbs will be burnt out already, brand new in the box! Wait until they blow out for me, it makes me made when you get a phone call on Christmas eve that one is out...
  5. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    when you start looking at projects that have serious numbers of c-9's, like 2,500-20,000 bulbs, the c-9 life hours numbers get dramatic.

    the 3000 hour bulb rating means out of 100 bulbs in a lab, 1/2 are burned out at 3000 hours. we use 3000 hour 130 volt bulbs, so we actually get closer to 5000 hours, but we'll go with 3000. the bulbs burn out in a linear fashion, not just a big poof at 2999 hours and then half are gone. one or two in the first ten ours and so on.

    so install, lets say 18000 like we did on 13 buildings all next to each other. and then turn on for 8 hours per day from Nov. 20th or so to Jan 1. on average, 9000 bulbs will burn out in a linear fashion over 3000 hours. that is 3 PER HOUR. in an average day we will replace 20-30 bulbs. one out over here, 2 over there, etc. It will drive you insane. by the time you replace all the burned out ones in a few hours, there are new ones out.

    we installed twinkle bulbs this year every 10-15 bulbs and it hides the ones out nicely, so we can do maintenance and not notice the new ones burned out so much.
  6. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 583

    I had one burnt out bulb this year after install. It was two years old. It burnt out a day or two after installation.

    Other than that I had one service call this year, thier flag was blowing in the wind and it blew up and caught the lights on the porch gutter and snagged them down. I fixed it under warranty because no one could have guessed that would happen...

    No calls on x-mas eve, no x-mas day calls..etc... I'm still wondering why you guys don't go all LED....
  7. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,744

    We are converting over, but it is a pricey proposition to switch while the existing incandescents still have a ton of life in them.

    Also, I would consider yourself lucky even with the LED. I got a call last night about LED snowflake linkables and had 7 sections that had a snowflake out and they were all new this year. How does that happen????? I assume it was due to the 14 inches of snow followed by 49 degrees that caused some problems but I dont know.
  8. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 583

    I'm sure there is a little luck in there!

    But, we test our lights year round, and pick what we offer to install. This helps weed out the problem children!
  9. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    we always average one service call per client per year. some clients may have 5, and many have none. but we did about 160-200 service calls this year, about 130 last year. Odd thing is the older porperties really did not have that much increased service over some that were brand new this year. :confused:

    The reason I don't switch is I have 3 LED c-9 properties out there with brand new bulbs last year. I am replacing these at a greater rate than most incandescant c-9 properties I do.;) at nearly 8-10 times the cost per bulb, I cannot imagine switching over until the failure rates improve dramatically. as in 8-10 times better than incansecant. Christmas Decor in my area and my brothers area made the switch to "all LED" this year. I sent a few of "LED interested" clients and potential clients to go and look at thier houses and asked them if they wanted to switch over or buy LED.

    The number that wanted LED after viewing what is arguable the best "warm white" bulb out there: zero.

    I know they will perfect these things someday, but that day is not here. The color, even the "warm white" is not such that customers want it.

    The mini's that I am testing now on my tree at my house look like regular super bright mini's and match the color and brightness of the Holiday Bright light incandescant. If they hold up and are available at the price I paid, I will be working these into the mix next year. I will also test the newest and latest LED c-9's on a property or two and report back how they do.
  10. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 583

    I would find better C9 LED bulbs, we always are about 1% fail rate from year to year and less than 0.5% fail rate right out of the box.
    I have tested a ton of these and the only ones I have found to be worth it are made by Minleon. Nice brightness, pretty good color. Every year the warm white gets a little better. Next year we will have one that is right on! So I am pretty excited about that.

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