• Why does my light bulb blow out?

    Posted January 24, 2013 By in Electrical, Light Fixture & Bulbs With | No Comments

    It’s annoying when you enter into a room or space, turn the light switch on and then nothing happens. The light doesn’t go on and you have no clue why the bulb didn’t light up.  At some point, you’re just staring at the ceiling or the bulb itself wondering why the process didn’t work.  That is: enter room, pull switch, circuit connects, electricity flows, and the space is suppose to be light up by the bulb.  

    There could be numerous reasons why, and we’ll describe a few.  Sometimes it depends on what type of fixture you have and type of bulb inserted into the fixture. In another blog, we’ll talk specifically about bulbs, lamps, and their fixture casing.  Its remarkable how varied these topics can become.  We’ll keep it simple for now. 

    The two main bulb types in the industry are your typical incandescent light bulb and  the florescent light bulb.  Incandescent bulbs have been around for years and the florescent bulbs were suppose to be the new and improved light saber when it comes to bulbs.  They have a few issues (containing mercury is one of them) and now they’re being phased out by LED bulbs.  Again, that’s news for another blog at a later date. 

    If your incandescent bulb doesn’t work, its normally the bulb itself that has blown out.  These types of bulbs are very delicate yet easy to replace.  It usually requires a straight forward screw in—and-out process.  This is after you’ve open the fixture (if it’s in an enclosed fixture) so you can get to the bulb.  If not, then the bulb is exposed (an example is the old fashion reading lamps) and you simple screw the bulb out and replace with a new one.  If the bulb is connected to a ceiling fixture and the bulb doesn’t light up (after you replace the burnt out bulb with a new one) then most likely you’re having problems with the internal electrical wiring on the fixture.  You’ll probably need to call in an electrician to further investigate.  If the fixture is not part of the household-internal electrical circuit, then maybe the lamp fixture itself is broken.  In other words, you need to by a new reading lamp fixture, plug it into the wall socket and see if the bulb works.  If it doesn’t then there are issues with the wall socket.  Time to call the electrician. 

    When it comes to certain florescent bulbs the fixtures are normally the issue.  Florescent bulbs are a bit more durable than the incandescent lamps but they come with extra parts inside the fixtures that are delicate.  The biggest culprits with florescent light fixtures issues is the ballast or starter being blown out.  These items are located deep inside the fixtures and would take some work getting to them.  A blown out florescent bulb is rarely the case (based on our experience on the amount of calls we get particularly for that issue) but consider yourself lucky if it is just that.  If this is the case, screw the florescent bulb in and out from the fixture socket just as you would the incandescent bulb.  Again, this depends on the type of bulb that you have mounted on the fixture.  If the florescent bulb is not the typical circular base socket but instead it’s the long “tubular-bar” (can measure anywhere from 24” and up) then more work is required to diagnose and replace the bulb.  Definitely call the electrician who would gladly offer a helping hand. 

    Other reasons why bulbs blow out are due to faulty wiring, improper installation of bulb, fuses can blow out, or it can be a power surge which overloads the bulb and break both the fixture and bulb.  If you find yourself trying to do the direct approach by simply replacing the bulb and there is still no light, then maybe the problem is more than a blown out bulb.  You might need some help finding the electrical issue at hand.  It can become very dangerous dealing with electrical wiring on your own, so please call your local bay area electrician for help first before dismantling electrical problems you don’t readily understand. 

    If all else fails, give us a call.  We know of a few electricians in San Francisco and the Bay Are we can refer.

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