Light bulbs Burn Out Too Quickly?

Home Inspector with Accurate Home Inspections of America, LLC

If you have a pool and the next time your pool light burns out, try using a less expensive standard or long life 100watt bulb instead of paying extra for a 300 watt pool light bulb. We have had a standard 100 watt bulb in our pool light for 2 years and no problems and the pool light gets used often.

 I pulled the follwoing from another blog and thought it is interesting. 

Light bulbs Burn Out Too Quickly

a) Check the line voltage for excessive voltage. Call your power company if you determine for sure that your line voltage is excessive. Use longer life or 130 volt bulbs if the power company cannot or will not correct excessive line voltage.

b) Check for excessive expectations. If you have 12 750-hour bulbs each operated 6 hours a day, it is normal to burn out three of them a month.

c) Light bulbs are junk such as "dollar store" bulbs. Get ones made by one of the "Big Three" lamp makers.

Light bulbs in Recessed Ceiling Fixture Burn Out Too Quickly:

Check that the bulbs are of a type and wattage recommended by the fixture manufacturer. Heat builds up in these fixtures.

Light bulbs in Small Enclosed Fixture Burn Out Too Quickly:

a) Check that you are not exceeding the maximum wattage recommended by the fixture manufacturer. Many fixtures are rated only for bulbs 60 watts or less.

b) Off-brand bulbs, especially dollar store bulbs, may not be up to the job.

Light bulbs in Ceiling Fixtures and Desk Lamps Burn Out Too Quickly:

a) Many of these fixtures are rated to use bulbs no more than 60 watts.

b) Off-brand bulbs such as dollar store bulbs may not be up to the job.

Light bulbs Burn Out Prematurely and Have a White Smoky Appearance:

This means the bulb cracked and air got in and oxidized the filament.

a) This usually means the bulb was an off-brand piece of junk.

b) Water dripped on a hot bulb.

c) The bulb overheated by being the wrong kind/wattage for the fixture.

d) Something hits the bulbs and breaks them.

e) Bulbs heat up and then cold drafts hit the bulbs (unlikely)

f) Condensation on a bulb causes thermal stress when dry parts of the bulb get hot (not especially likely).

Light bulbs Break During Use:

a) See just above.

Long-life Bulbs Don't Last as Long as Expected:

a) Bulb is a junkier off-brand one. Use long-life versions of "Big Three" bulbs, use traffic light bulbs especially if made by the "Big Three", or use ones made in Poland (available in some hardware stores).

Light bulbs Sometimes Get Dim and/or Flicker and then Go Out:

a) Check for corroded contacts on the bulbs or in the socket.

b) Check for poor fit or mashed-down socket contact. You may be able to pry up the center contact in the socket (with power off!). Do not over tighten the bulbs.

c) Check for poor contact or wires screwed down too loosely in the fixture or in the house wiring, especially if changing the bulb does not change the behavior much.

d) Replace the socket or the fixture if necessary.

NOTE - Flickering with dimming must be fixed or avoided. There could be major heat production at the site of resistance due to poor contact. This is a possible fire hazard.

Light bulbs Sometimes Bet Brighter When Something Else is Turned On and also Burn Out at an Excessive Rate:

a) This usually means that you have a broken or poor neutral connection, usually in the main panel, or sometimes in a sub-panel if you have any sub-panels. Be sure that screws holding down wires in your fuse boxes / breaker boxes / panels are adequately tight. If you are not up to this fix or it fails to correct this situation, call an electrician. This is a dangerous condition that must be fixed urgently.

Light bulbs Break or Pop Off Their Bases when they Burn Out:

a) Some off-brand bulbs and a few production runs of "Big Three" bulbs have been known to lack internal fuse wires. The current surge due to a "burnout arc" reaches hundreds of amps and makes the wiring in the bulb explode.

Light bulbs Damage Dimmers or Electronic Switching Devices when they Burn Out:

a) This usually means marginal quality dimmer or switch that cannot withstand the current surge drawn by a burnout arc. Get a sturdier dimmer or switching device.

b) The light bulbs lack internal fuse wires - change brand.

c) For adventurous hacking homebrewers, replace the triac or (or SCR, less likely) in the dimmer circuit with one having much higher current capability and trigger current no higher than that of the original. Use a triac or SCR with slightly higher trigger current requirement at your own risk, although this usually works.

Light bulbs Burn Out Too Quickly Only In Certain Rooms/Fixtures:

a) Check for wrong kind or over-wattage bulb in the fixture.

b) Check if you are putting junky off-brand light bulbs such as dollar store bulbs in the fixtures in question.

c) Check for vibration from slamming doors, people dancing nearby, children jumping or bouncing balls, etc. Vibration-resistant bulbs may be the solution.

Light bulbs Seem Dim:

a) Check line voltage - if necessary, shift loads or upgrade the wiring. Call an electrician if you need a wiring upgrade that you can't do yourself. Call your utility if the problem is upstream from your electric meter.

b) Long-life bulbs are dimmer than standard-life, "Big Three" bulbs.

c) 130 volt bulbs are dimmer than 120 volt bulbs - typically by 22-25 percent, more if the life at 130 volts is longer than "standard".

d) Light bulbs with vibration resistant or shock resistant or rough service filament design are normally less efficient than standard light bulbs.

e) Junky off-brand bulbs such as most dollar store bulbs are dimmer than "big three" light bulbs.

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