Why do my light bulbs keep burning out?
“Why do my light bulbs keep burning out?” We’re glad you asked! Asking this question of an average electrician will get you sales pitches for expensive electrical inspections. But often the problem is one that can be diagnosed and fixed rather quickly, and there is no need for a whole home inspection. In fact, your light bulbs could be burning out due to a problem with the circuitry of the appliance, and not be a problem for the electrician at all.
Why is it important to worry about blown bulbs if they don’t burn out right away?
You might think that your frequently blown out lights are a mere inconvenience, especially if they don’t burn out right away. But in addition to fire hazards, light bulbs that actually break can be very dangerous. LED bulbs, for example, contain toxic compounds like arsenic and lead, among others. You really need to stay on top of these types of issues.
So, how many reasons are there for light bulbs to keep burning out?
Actually, there are quite a few, and you won’t need help with all of them. Let’s break down which ones you don’t need us for.
Faults with the lamp or fixture that the light bulb is screwed into can cause them to burn out continuously, one after another. Some fixture problems burning out light bulbs are:
- A problem with the power supply. If the voltage gets higher than intended, it could blow out bulb after bulb. This can be very dangerous, and the appliance should be removed from use immediately.
- Loose bulb connections. If the bulb isn’t screwing firmly into place, there could be an issue with the socket. Discontinue use until you know it is safe. If your lamp frequently vibrates, such as from a nearby train, even slightly loose connections could be a problem.
- Loose wiring. Your ceiling light fixtures and lamps all have internal wiring beyond that which connects to the electrical circuit. If any of this wiring becomes loose or degraded, it could cause small surges to the bulb, causing it to break.
All of these problems can be addressed by a local appliance repair shop, or by replacing the appliance completely. Often replacing a ceiling or otherwise hardwired fixture will require the services of an electrician, but it is a fast and cheap fix.
Sometimes a simple mistake can lead to bulbs burning out one by one. It is important to make sure that you are getting the right bulbs for your lamps and fixtures. Some common mistakes are:
- Wattage matters! If you have a lamp rated for a 60 watt bulb, but you use a 90 watt bulb, you are going to see that connection overheat and the bulb will break. You can get bulbs that have a lower wattage, but never higher.
- Does your home have outdated dimmer switches? These require a specific type of bulb, and one that is not seen often. It can be a good idea to just replace these switches with modern fixtures.
- Do you have old recess lighting? The bulbs could be overheating from contact with insulation in your ceiling. There are some fixtures and bulbs that are made for use with insulation without overheating, but it does require an update of that lighting system.
If you’re not sure about what type of lightbulb you need for your fixtures, this handy lightbulb shopping guide from the Federal Trade Commission is a great starting point.
Of course, you can do your homework and find just about any bulb online, even if you can’t find it in your local store. But if you decide you want to upgrade to make light bulbs easier (and cheaper) to find, we can help you get them switched out.
Finally, there are those residential electrical repairs that an electrician really should handle.
These could include:
- Loose wiring or circuits. If there is loose wiring in the wall outlet or hardwire connection, it could be causing short circuits or small electrical surges. This can burn out bulbs quickly, and could be a fire hazard as well. You may need electrical socket repair.
- Outdated lighting system. Whether you’re needing to replace and upgrade an outlet, a permanent light fixture, recessed lighting, or a dimmer switch, you should leave these electrical upgrades to the professionals.
- Exploding bulbs. If you have a bulb that doesn’t just burn out but shatters, you should contact us right away for emergency electrical repair so we can ensure your family’s safety. Don’t use that circuit until an electrician can inspect it.
We know that your family’s safety is your number one priority, and we’re not looking to take advantage of that. Where other electricians might try to sell you on a whole home electrical inspection, we’re not interested in taking your money. We will start at the point of the problem, the fixture or outlet, and work our way out from there toward the breaker box until we find the problem. You only pay for the electric repairs that you actually need.
If you are tired of your bulbs always burning out, contact us today to learn what your next steps should be.