Why Do Lightbulbs Keep Blowing?

Of course, we all use lightbulbs on a daily basis. Lightbulbs that keep blowing are not only inconvenient but also dangerous. If your lightbulbs keep blowing, it’s time to investigate the source of the problem. Then, if there are symptoms of deeper electrical difficulties, do some investigating and possibly call a certified electrician.

The Most Common Causes of Lightbulbs Blowing

Cheap LightBulbs

The most common reason lightbulbs continue to blow is that they are poorly constructed. The adage “you get what you pay for” applies to lightbulbs, as it does to almost everything else. Low-quality bulbs not only burn out faster, but they are also more prone to failure under less-than-ideal settings. When a filament bulb burns out, the filament snaps at its weakest point. Cheaper bulbs often have thinner filaments, making them more prone to damage. Using higher quality bulbs, preferably LEDs will help to avoid these issues in most cases.

Electric Arc

A faulty connection in the lamp holder (the socket into which the bulb is screwed) can also cause bulbs to blow repeatedly. The circuit is not completed as tightly as it should be when there are loose connections in the lamp holder. This means that rather than simply flowing through the contact sites, electricity must “arc” or jump across them. When electricity arcs, the fitting generates more heat than the bulb can tolerate, causing the bulb to blow.

Remove the bulb and inspect the bottom for black patches or tiny indentations known as pits if you suspect this is why your lightbulbs keep blowing. These black streaks and holes are evidence of arcing electricity.

If arcing electricity is causing your lightbulbs to blow, you should contact an electrician for your own safety. There is, however, one common, easy problem that you can solve on your own. Look inside the light bulb socket for a small brass tab that is slightly raised (you’ve undoubtedly seen this in a flashlight). If a lightbulb is screwed in too tightly, this tab can flatten, resulting in arcing. If this is the case, you can bend the tab upwards again with your finger or a pair of pliers, but only if the fixture is entirely unplugged from power and the relevant circuit breaker is turned off. This is the only sort of arcing that would be safe for you to repair on your own. Otherwise, simply contact a certified electrician.

High Voltage

Even a tiny quantity of overvoltage can significantly shorten the lifespan of a light bulb. If a lightbulb blows owing to high voltage, it is mostly due to the excess heat generated, similar to arcing. The voltage that is excessively high or that is maintained for an extended amount of time might cause bulbs to blow. Many high-voltage incidents are caused by either your local electrical grid or your own home’s electrical system. A licensed electrician can troubleshoot and repair the problem.

Using Bulbs with the Wrong Wattage

Another cause of your bulbs blowing is a condition known as “overlamping.” Overlamping occurs when you use a lightbulb with a wattage that exceeds the capacity of your electrical fixture. This generates a lot of heat, which not only causes the bulb to blow but also melts the light socket and the wire insulation. When this occurs, you are putting yourself at risk of arc faults and possibly fires.

Simply by using the proper wattage bulb, you can avoid overlamping. The required wattage is indicated somewhere in the assembly of most modern lamp fixtures. If no wattage is specified, the conventional practice is to use a bulb rated at 60 watts or less. You should be fine as long as you don’t exceed the specified wattage for the fixture.

Final thoughts

Most of the time, simply switching to a higher-quality LED lightbulb can fix the problem. However, there are some cases where repeatedly blown lightbulbs are an indication of a deeper issue within your electrical system. In situations like these, contacting a professional Electrician is the only option. They have the necessary expertise, experience, and skills to safely put an end to the inconvenient, wasteful, and hazardous practice of bulbs repeatedly burning out.