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Why Are My Light Bulbs Burning Out So Fast?

Written by Aaron Robarge | December 18, 2020

Upclose shot of a bistro light bulb.

Few things as a homeowner can be quite as frustrating as having your lights constantly burning out. When you’re constantly changing light bulbs, not only are you spending money on the replacements, but you’re wasting time as well. There are some electrical problems that can cause this issue, so here’s a closer look at why your bulbs may be burning out consistently.

Reach out to All Comfort Services for electrical help in Madison, Wisconsin. Call (608) 838-7300 or contact us online for help.

1. Power Supply Voltage Is Too High

American homes have a 120-volt current. Sometimes, homes will also have 220-volt currents for certain appliances. If you plug in a light bulb to one of these on accident, or if the outlet is a standard outlet but is sending too much voltage due to a wiring issue, it will cause the bulbs to burn out.

2. Bulbs Are Not Connected Properly

If your bulbs are flickering often, they may not be fully or properly connected. Check the bulbs to make sure they are snugly screwed into the socket. However, don’t screw them in too tightly, or this could damage the socket tab at the bottom of the socket. This can also cause premature burnout.

3. Excessive Vibration

For fixtures that are near vibrating items, like ceiling fans or even your garage door, the vibration can cause the filament in an incandescent bulb to break. This will cause the bulb to burn out. LED bulbs do not have a filament and will eliminate this problem. If that is not possible for your fixture, consider upgrading to “rough service” bulbs. These are designed to handle vibrations.

4. Wrong Bulb for the Fixture

Each fixture has a rating for the number of watts it is designed to handle. If you put in a bulb rated for a higher wattage, then it will heat up. This shortens the life of the bulb and can put you at risk for an electrical fire. Always check the rating of the fixture and choose an appropriately sized bulb.

5. A Short Circuit

If there is a short circuit somewhere in your wiring, it can cause the light to go dark. In this instance, the light isn’t actually burnt out. Always check the circuit breaker to see if one of them has tripped. If it has tripped, you need to address the short circuit rather than change the light bulb.

6. Insulation

If you have recessed or can lights in your home, they may have insulation above them. If the lights are older designs, you need to make sure there is at least three inches of space between the top of the light fixture and the insulation. If the fixture is too close, it can cause the light to overheat and the bulb to burn out. To know whether or not you can cover the light with insulation, look for an IC rating. Non-IC rated fixtures should not be covered in insulation.

7. Utility Lines

If we’ve looked at everything in the house and we haven’t found a solution, there may be an issue with the utility lines. We recommend you contact a licensed electrician before you contact a utility company first so that they can identify if it may be a utility line issue. Some utilities may charge for a service call.

If you’re dealing with bulbs that consonantly burn out, and you can’t find the source of the problem, All Comfort Services can help. Call our Madison area electricians at (608) 838-7300. You can also contact us online to discuss your needs today.

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