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Having a bulb blow out is stressful, especially if it’s new. Some common light bulbs and their average lifespans are: 

  • CFL: 8,000 hours
  • Fluorescent light bulbs: 24,000-36,000 hours
  • Halogen light bulbs: 2,000-4,000 hours
  • Incandescent light bulbs: 1,000 hours
  • LEDs: 35,000-50,000 hours

If you find that your light bulbs blow out before their time, you might have another issue to fix. Below, we list the most common reasons why your bulbs keep blowing out.

Reasons Bulbs Keep Blowing Out 

burnt out light bulb on white background

Cheap Bulbs  

Cheap light bulbs are made with thinner materials. Any fluctuation of energy, no matter how slight, can cause your bulb to blow out. To fix this, replace them with bulbs made of quality materials.

Damaged Socket Tab 

If you have a lamp or light fixture where the light never comes on, it could be you have a damaged socket tab. The socket tab connects to the bulb, which turns it on. You can use a popsicle stick to pull it back up.

If your fixtures are old or the socket tab breaks when trying to fix them, you’ll have to replace the entire bulb socket or fixture.

Electricity Arcs 

Electricity arcs happen when the bottom of your light bulb doesn’t have a firm connection to your socket tab. When it does connect and then loses the connection, electricity can jump, causing your bulb to blow. Dark pitting or spots at the bottom of the bulb occur as a result.

Double-check that your socket tab is not flat and pull it up if it is. Hopefully, this will establish a better connection. If that doesn’t work, call an electrician.

Excessive Vibration 

Excessive vibration can shorten the lifespan of your bulb by jostling the filament. These vibrations can come from appliances, loud music, heavy footsteps, light fixtures that contain fans, and garage doors opening and closing.

You can fix this with rough-service bulbs. They have filament support and are more durable.

High Voltage 

danger high voltage sign

High voltage will cause a light bulb to burn brighter and decrease its lifespan. For example, an overvoltage of 5% cuts a bulb’s life to about 1000 hours. 10% overvoltage will cut it to about 700 hours.

You can test for over-voltage using a multimeter or voltage tester, but make sure you know how to use them safely since the power will be on. If it’s over 120 volts, call an electrician.

Loose Connections 

Loose connections can cause excess heat to the filament, causing it to flicker and burn out more quickly. Loose connections can be from not tightening a bulb enough, loose wires, or even a damaged socket.

Try tightening your bulb and seeing if that helps the issue. If not, turn off the power and check that the wires are firmly attached to the screw terminal. If it’s the socket, you may have to change the fixture.

Short Circuits 

Short circuits are caused by electricity flowing outside the normal pathways of the wires, causing your circuit to trip and your lights to cut out. Double-check for defective parts in the wiring, cord plugs, sockets, or fixtures and replace them as needed.

Overheated Recessed Lights 

Recessed light fixtures can extend into attics, and IC-rated fixtures have insulation over them. If your recessed lights are not IC-rated, keep at least three inches of space around your fixtures so they don’t overheat. Building a box around these light fixtures should alleviate the problem.

Wrong Kind of Bulb 

The wrong bulb can cause a blowout. CFL bulbs are notorious for not lasting as long as they should. Their lifespan also gets shortened if they get turned on and off too often.

LED bulbs are great since they’re stable, have a long lifespan, and don’t have mercury in them as CFL bulbs do.

Wrong Bulb Wattage 

Check your fixture for the correct wattage for your bulbs. If you’re using the wrong wattage, your bulb will burn brighter. However, blowouts will happen more often. If you find that the correct wattage isn’t bright enough, switch to LEDs for higher brightness.

Wrong Type of Dimmer Switch 

If you have an old house with a dimmer switch and your LED or CFL bulbs keep blowing out, you could have an older dimmer designed for standard incandescent bulbs. A simple fix is to upgrade your dimmer switch to a newer model. 

What Happens When a Bulb Blows Out? 

When a bulb blows, most of the time, the lighting circuit’s fuse will also blow or trip. This circuit, known as a Miniature Circuit Breaker or MCB, is more sensitive to low voltage surges than your fuses. Generally, the light fixture will trip, but the fuse won’t.

Got Bulbs That Keep Blowing Out? We Can Help! 

Bulbs that keep on blowing out are not only costly but may signal an even bigger electrical problem. If your bulbs keep blowing out, contact the expert electricians from US Electric. Our Richmond electricians can handle any electrical concerns you have!