If your incandescent light bulbs are giving you problems, here are some troubleshooting tips to help you find the problem. Incandescent light bulbs typically have a lifespan of around 900 hours. To put that into perspective, you’ll be able to turn the bulb on for around five hours per day for six months before the bulb will use up its lifespan. However, if the bulbs are not reaching their full potential in lifespan, there are likely problems that can be corrected to get them performing better.
One problem may be a loose contact connection between the bulb and the light fixture socket. This usually exists between the bottom of the bulb and the center contact post of the fixture. The contact post itself may have a loose crimp or the solder joint on the bulb may be too small to make a good connection with the post, causing an increase in resistance and heat buildup. This in turn overheats the bulb and shortens its lifespan.
Another common problem is an oversized bulb in a lamp socket. Please always use the appropriate sized bulb for the socket. The maximum wattage is posted on the side of the socket and is not to be exceeded.
Vibrations in and around the lamp socket can also shorten bulb life. An unbalanced ceiling fan is usually the culprit here. The vibration shakes the filement and lessens the lifespan.
Commercial-grade and industrial-grade bulbs are built for more rugged use and generally last longer than the cheaper standard-grade bulbs. Rough-service bulbs are commonly used at construction site due to their durability. They have a plastic coating on the surface of the glass that will prevent the glass from shattering. When these bulbs break, they resemble a cracked egg shell. Another nice feature about these bulbs is that they are built to withstand vibaration.
If a light bulb just won’t light, there are a few things that could be the culprit:
- The bulb could be burned out.
- The lamp or fixture wiring could be bad.
- The cord to the lamp could be unplugged or the power to the light could be shut off at the breaker.
- The bulb is loose in the socket.
- The outlet the lamp is plugged into may be bad.
- The switch feeding the light is defective.
If the light fixture trips the breaker or fuse when a light bulb is screwed into the socket, there are bigger problems:
- You may have a defective plug.
- The light socket may be defective.
- There may be a short in the cord or wiring feeding the light.
Finnally, if the bulbs works but flickers, here are a few things to look for:
- The bulb is loose. You’ll generally see this in ceiling fans where vibration loosens the bulbs and it intermittenly makes contact, causing a flickering effect.
- Be certain all wiring connections are tight. A loose connection on the socket connection or the wiring to the light or fan/ligh combination can cause the problem.
- Bad contacts in the switch feeding the light can be the culprit. You’ll normally here a buzzing or sizzlingsound around the switch when this occurs.
- A worn out receptacle can cause problems as well when a lamp is plugged into it. Sometimes, if the cord is falling out of the outlet, just the vibration of walking through the room can jiggle the connection to flicker the light.
As you can see, there are many associated problems that can cause the same result. More than likely, this trail and error method will help you find the problem and shine the light on the solution.