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Why Do My Light Bulbs Keep Burning Out?

It can be very annoying to have the same light bulbs burning out time after time. Not only does it create a hazard trying to navigate your home in the dark, but it also gets costly. But what you might not be taking into consideration is that these lightbulb issues could be an indication of a much more severe and potentially dangerous problem with your home’s electrical system.

Typical Light Bulb Life

Traditional incandescent light bulbs are rated to last around 1,000 hours under typical use conditions. Compact fluorescent bulbs, CFLs, are rated to approximately 10,000 hours, while LEDs can provide about 25,000 hours of use. If you are only getting a few weeks or months from a new bulb, then you should start to consider other potential issues.

Possible Causes Of Early Light Bulb Failure

There are many reasons a light bulb could fail long before the expected number of hours of use. Some are relatively easy to detect and correct, while others will require a licensed electrician’s assistance. Some of the simple issues causing the bulbs to fail include:

  • Loose Bulb: It sounds odd, but check the light bulb to see that it is firmly installed in the socket. This is often the case when you are struggling to replace a bulb in the dark or have climbed up precariously to install a new bulb. But checking this first is an easy way to save yourself the cost of a new bulb.
  • The Wrong Bulb: It is also possible to have inadvertently installed the wrong type of replacement bulb. In most cases, the only time this is an issue is when the bulb exceeds the fixture’s rating. A 120-watt bulb placed in a 60-watt fixture will create excessive heat and can burn out very quickly.
  • Insulation Issues: The problem might not have anything to do with your lightbulb. The real issue could be the insulation around the fixture. This is most often a problem found in recessed lighting fixtures. The insulation in the ceiling is packed around the can portion of the fixture and is creating a massive amount of heat build-up. The result is an early failure of the bulb due to all of the heat. You might only experience this issue in the summer months, or it could e a year-round problem. A simple solution is an LED bulb. The switch will eliminate the heat and future issues.
  • Excess Vibration: Too much jarring and vibration can shatter the filament in an incandescent bulb. The culprit could be a garage door opener, a slamming door, or even the motion of a ceiling fan. These issues are found in a ceiling light fixture that experiences heavy foot traffic on the floor above in more rare cases. CFLs and LED bulbs are fast and affordable solutions to these problems.

There are also a number of causes that are more serious and will need the attention of a licensed electrician. Some of these include:

  • Loose Wires: A loose wire or corrosion on the fixture contacts can also cause intermittent power to the bulb and result in an early demise. The best way to check for these issues is a call to your favorite electrician.
  • Bad Power: If your home is experiencing power surges or has outdated wiring or an older electrical panel, it can impact the function of anything plugged into any outlet, including lightbulbs.

If you cannot determine what is causing your light bulbs to burn out prematurely and correct the problem, call (703) 463-9866 to schedule an appointment with the professionals at Circuit Doctors.

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