What causes light bulbs to burn out?
The average life expectancy of a light bulb depends on its type: incandescent, LED, halogen, or compact fluorescent light. The traditional 60-watt incandescent light bulb, the type most commonly found in homes, is estimated to last 1,000 hours. More energy efficient bulbs can last 10 times longer or more.
Because of their energy efficiency, homeowners are encouraged to convert their lighting to CFLs. These bulbs last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. LED lights are estimated to last 10 times longer than CFLs.
However, some individuals experience persistent burnout of light bulbs long before the bulbs indicated lifespan. What causes this problem?
Nine times out of 10, the problem is something other than the bulb. One reason may be that the expectations of the resident exceed the actual life expectancy of a bulb. For instance, someone who works from home may use a lighting fixture for more hours during the course of a day than the average person who works outside the home.
Here are some other reasons light bulbs are known to burn out earlier than expected:
1. Unusually high home voltage. Sometimes a home’s voltage exceeds the average 125 volts, causing the bulbs to burn brighter. You need to contact your utility company to correct the problem.
2. Twisted too tightly into the socket. The light socket has a brass tab that should make contact with a small portion, known as the solder, at the end of the light bulb. Sometimes the solder is not uniformly applied and doesn’t make proper contact with the brass tab, leading to an electrical arc that can start to melt the solder.
Both the tab and the light bulb can be in perfect working order, but if the solder is melted enough, it loses its contact with the brass tab, breaking the electrical connection.
3. Fixture vibration. This repetitive movement, especially as a result of vibrations of ceiling fans, causes damage to the fragile filament.
4. A bulb with excessive wattage. If you use a bulb that exceeds the recommended wattage, it can cause the fixture to overheat, shortening the life of the bulb.
5. Improper air circulation. This can be a problem, especially in areas with little or no climate control like an attic. Again, the fixture can become overheated and shorten the life of the bulb.
If you have a trouble spot in your home where light bulbs won’t stay burning, you might want to consider calling a Los Angeles electrician to come and diagnose the problem. When dealing with electrical issues, never put your own safety at risk.
Sign in to Angie’s List to find more than 6,600 electricians in the Los Angeles area who can safely help fix any electrical issues and keep your bulbs burning brightly.