Why Do Light Bulbs keep Burning Out?

Electrician Mornington

A typical incandescent filament light bulb can be expected to last between 1,000 and 2,000 hours. A typical compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) should last for over 10,000 hours and a light emitting diode (LED) light should last more than 25,000 hours. So, if you’re finding that your lights keep burning out after a couple of weeks, chances are it isn’t a problem with your bulbs.

We’re going to run you through some of the common reasons why your lights keep blowing and what you can do about it.

Power supply voltage too high

The nominal voltage supplied to Australian homes is 230 volts. However, electricity is generally supplied in an allowable range between 216 volts and 253 volts. If your home is receiving a higher voltage than it needs, your lights could be burning hotter and brighter than they’re supposed to. And this can greatly shorten their lifespan.

Using a multimeter, you can test the voltage coming from your outlets. If it’s above the allowable voltage range you should contact an electrician straight away.

If you suspect that your power supply is too high, then you could be paying significantly more for your power bills than you should be. Visit Victorian Energy Compare, to see how your power consumption compares to similar sized properties in your area.

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Improperly connected lights

If your lights are loose, they will be receiving inconsistent voltage, which can cause them to burn out faster. If you’re noticing flickering lights, it could be that the bulb isn’t properly fitted in. Make sure it’s properly screwed in and secured.

Over-tightening light bulbs, however, can also cause them to burn out. Over-screwing can damage the socket tab, which is the small bit of metal that delivers electricity to the light bulb. If the socket tab isn’t making proper contact with the bulb, it could be delivering inconsistent voltage.

Check that the tab is angled up. If not, remove the light from its power source (or turn off the power) and, using a plastic or wooden utensil, bend the tab up slightly.

Wrong type of bulb

Most lighting fixtures will have a recommended wattage. Using light bulbs that exceed this wattage will create excess heat and can reduce the life of the bulb. Make sure you are matching the wattage of the bulb to the wattage of the fixture. If you need brighter light, you could change to LED lights, which use less power and generate brighter light. Otherwise, you may need to upgrade the light fixture to accommodate higher wattage bulbs.

Excessive vibration

Excessive vibration through your light fittings can damage the delicate filaments in incandescent light bulbs. Vibrations can be caused by home appliances like unbalanced washing machines or ceiling fans, or external factors like construction and demolition work or nearby traffic.

To reduce the incidences of vibration burnouts, you can switch to LED lights. Since they don’t have filaments to damage, they are less affected by vibration.

Dimmer switches

If your home uses dimmer switches, it could be this switch that’s causing the lights to blow. Older dimmer switches were designed for use with incandescent lights only. These switches can damage the circuitry in LED lights. You may also need to ensure that your LED lights are compatible with dimmer switches.

Loose wires

Loose wiring either in the light fixture or connecting the light fixture to the power can cause intermittent power to the bulb. If you suspect that loose wiring may be the problem, it’s best to call an electrician.

If you’re dealing with light bulbs that keep blowing, it’s about more than the cost and inconvenience of replacing them. It could mean that you have some major wiring issues in your home, and that’s a safety risk. If unsure, it’s always best to check with your electrician.