Blown Away: Why Do My Lightbulbs Keep Blowing Out?

Blown Away: Why Do My Lightbulbs Keep Blowing Out?

Wait a minute. What’s up with that lamp? Didn’t you just change that bulb a few weeks ago? How has it blown out again already? If you have an issue with your lightbulbs’ longevity, read on. We’ll clue you in on some potential problems, and offer our best solutions to keep you all lit up.

You Get What You Pay For

Cheap bulbs tend to be lower quality, and lower quality bulbs just don’t last. Spending a little more on better bulbs can pay off in the long run. Also, CFL bulbs have a reputation for checking out early. Try switching to LEDs. They’re more efficient and more reliable. Plus, they don’t contain mercury.

Danger, Danger: High Voltage!

The voltage powering your home might be higher than normal. This will cause bulbs to burn brighter and hotter, noticeably shortening their lifespan. If you suspect high voltage might be the reason for your blown bulbs, we recommend spending $20 or so on a voltage tester. If your outlets measure more than 125 volts, call in your residential electrician.

Bad Vibes

If the bulb in question is attached to, say, a ceiling fan or a garage door, fixture vibration might be to blame. Frequent or vigorous movement could be jiggling the bulb’s filament, causing it to burn out more quickly. To solve this problem, look for bulbs labeled “rough service”. Their heavy duty filaments are specifically built to withstand vibration. Switching to LED bulbs will also eliminate this issue.

Connect the Dots

Loose connections cause bulbs to flicker, making it appear like they’re wearing out. Make sure bulbs are firmly screwed into their sockets. If the problem persists, the connection issue might be with the fixture’s wiring. If you’re handy, try replacing the socket. If not, you’ll need to replace the entire fixture.

Watch Your Wattage

Make sure you’re using the right bulb for the fixture. Check the fixture’s label to see how much wattage it can safely handle. Just like the voltage issue above, a bulb with too much wattage will burn too hot and burn out way too soon. Using the wrong bulb can also cause other safety issues, like melted insulation. Be safe, read the label, and use the correct bulb. If the room is too dim, try switching to LED bulbs, which give off more light for less wattage.

Raiders of the Lost Arc

Arcing electricity is another common cause of blown out bulbs. If the bottom of the bulb isn’t making full contact with the socket, electricity arcs between them and generates excess heat. In many cases, this is another case for your residential electrician to handle. But before placing a service call, unplug the fixture (or turn off the power) and check the metal tab at the bottom of the socket. If it’s flat, try using your fingers, pliers, or even a popsicle stick to raise it back up. This should improve the connection.

Frequently replacing your bulbs is more than an annoyance — it might also be the sign of a larger issue and potentially, a serious safety hazard. Whether you’re dealing with a high voltage home or just buying cheap bulbs, we want to help you stay away from the dark side and go towards the light!

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