Troubleshooting and Fixing Common Causes of Frequent Light Bulb Burnouts


As a homeowner, you've had to replace countless light bulbs over the years when they reached the end of their lives. But sometimes homes have light fixtures that seem to constantly burn through light bulbs faster than all the others in the house. Most people blame it on faulty wiring. But in most cases, frequent light bulb burnouts have nothing to do with electrical wiring, and the problems are easy for most DIY homeowners and/or residential electricians to fix. Keep reading to learn what these common issues are and how they can be solved.

Too Much Electricity Flowing through the Wires

The average home electrical system is built to handle a steady flow of 120 volts of electricity. But it's not uncommon for an electrical system to actually be overpowered. Most electrical equipment and appliances in your home can handle the extra power, if it's minimal. But even a slight overage of voltage will wreck havoc on light bulbs, causing them to burn out much quicker than they should.

To see if this is a problem in your home, use an electric meter to test an outlet in the room that has the most frequent light bulb burnouts. If the meter reads more than 120 volts, then you've found the culprit. Switch all the light bulbs in that room to 130 volt, long-life bulbs.

Heat Buildup

If the bulbs in your recessed or covered lights are burning out often, it could be because of excess heat building up around the bulbs. To fix this problem, simply switch bulbs to ones with less wattage or try changing out the fixture covers for bigger ones to allow the heat to dissipate easier.

Bulbs Screwed In Too Tight

It's very easy to screw a light bulb in too tightly, which is another common reason for bulb burnouts. When light bulbs are screwed in too tight, the flexible brass tab at the bottom of the socket will bend. This prevents the tab from forming a proper connection to the bulb, thus wearing out the bulb too quickly.

To fix this problem, take a pair of needle-nose pliers and gently lift the brass tab up until it is about ¼ inch from the bottom of the light socket. Then, be careful not to screw in the light bulbs too tightly going forward.

Excessive Vibrations

If the lights that are constantly burning bulbs are under your children's playroom, the family game room, or another high-traffic area, then excessive vibration is most likely the culprit. While you can't always control the level of vibrations in your home, you can switch to 130-volt light bulbs in this room. This is a cost-effective means to fixing the problem compared to soundproofing a room or remodeling a home. There are thicker filaments in 130-volt light bulbs that are better able to handle the stress of higher-than-average vibration levels.

Loose Wires

If none of the solutions above have worked and you are going through light bulbs like they are going out of style, then it's time to call an electrician in to dig a little deeper for the problem. The electrician will cut the power to the faulty light and get to the junction box. He or she will look at all the wires and make sure all connections are tight and proper. A loose wire will cause the electrical current flowing through it to act wild and burn out a light bulb in a matter of days.

As you can see, there are a lot of things that could be going on in your home that can cause light bulbs to burn out often, many of which have nothing to do with the actual electrical wires of the home. If you are having this problem at your house and you've gone through all the steps above and still can't find the problem, give a local residential electrician a call. Try a service like Sun Coast Electric & Networking Inc. The electrician will be happy to help you.

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identifying electrical problems in a potential new home

During the house-buying process, there are so many things to look into as you inspect your potential new home. One element that is critical to be inspected thoroughly is the electrical system. Knowing what the signs are that could tell you that there are electrical problems that could be hazardous to your family or very expensive to repair will help you to avoid buying the wrong house. I'll show you what to look for and signs that warrant an inspection by a certified electrician before you even make an offer on a home. I hope this information helps you through your home-buying process.