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Light Bulbs - Why They Burn Out Quickly

Nothing is more frustrating then replacing the same light bulbs every couple of weeks in your home. Many people often wonder why and assume there is something wrong with the light bulbs or their electrical wiring. Some think it is caused by too much floor vibration that rattles the bulb and makes it burn out quicker. Even though these could contribute to a light bulb burning out prematurely, more often than not it comes down to how the light bulb was installed.

Light sockets have a spring like brass tab inside of them that makes the connection with the bottom of a light bulb. All light bulbs have this soldered bottom but not all are exactly the same size. Sooner or later if light bulbs have been over tightened when replaced, the tab can lose its spring or bounce back and remain compressed. Once you install the new light bulb the soldered connection doesn’t make firm contact with the tab causing an electrical arc to be created. Over time that arc can burn a small hole in the bottom of the bulb breaking its airtight seal. Once air gets into the bulb it will cause the bulbs filament to rapidly burn out.

How To Fix It

First visually inspect your light socket for a compressed tab. If the tab is flattened out from repeated over tightening of light bulbs then you must adjust it. NEVER stick your fingers in a light socket to check if the tab is compressed. You could be badly shocked. Turn the light circuit off at the breaker panel. Turn the lights switch on to be sure that there is NO power and NO light coming from the bulb. Then remove the light bulb and use a needle nose pliers to pull the brass tab out to about a 35-degree angle. Then turn the power back on at the breaker box. Turn the switch on and put a new light bulb into the socket. Once the light first turns on then give the light bulb an additional half turn and stop tightening.

Over tightening can cause light bulbs to burn out prematurely. Try checking your light sockets to see if this could be the cause of your problem. Nothing is more frustrating then replacing light bulbs every two weeks and you shouldn’t have to.

Tip: Always play it safe when working with electrical circuits and be sure the power is off when repairing or installing any electrical device.



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