Why Do My Lightbulbs Go Out So Fast?

Written on: February 5, 2024

AFC can fix your home’s electrical problems

electrician Augusta, ME If you find yourself adding light bulbs to your shopping cart more frequently, the problem may not be in the bulbs at all.

The team of licensed, skilled, and experienced electricians at AFC are here to help with our expert electrical services ! We can investigate issues and fix them, so your lights function properly, safely, and efficiently.

Possible causes of light bulbs going out quickly

There are many reasons why this is occurring in your home. For some, you may need an AFC professional electrician to solve the problem. For others, you may be able to make some changes on your own. Let’s run through some of the common causes.

  1. Fixture vibration: This problem is most commonly seen in ceiling fans with lights or with light bulbs in garage door openers. When a fan blade becomes unbalanced, it causes the fan to shake, which then jiggles the bulb filament and reduces its lifespan. To solve this problem, you can consider using rough-service bulbs that have heavy-duty filaments designed to withstand vibrations more effectively. By choosing these specialized bulbs, you can minimize the negative impact of vibrations on the bulbs’ lifespan.
  2. Bulb wattage too high for fixture: Most light fixtures come with a label indicating the maximum bulb wattage suitable for use. If you notice that light bulbs tend to burn out quickly in a specific lamp or fixture, take a moment to open the fixture globe or cover and check if the bulb wattage exceeds the fixture’s rating. While CFL or LED bulbs typically operate at lower wattages and are less likely to cause this issue, it is quite common with traditional incandescent bulbs. It’s easy to unintentionally surpass the fixture’s rating by using bulbs that are too large, resulting in excessive heat, reduced bulb lifespan, and potentially even melting the insulation on the fixture wiring. To avoid issues, ensure that the wattage rating of the bulbs you use matches or is lower than the rating of the fixture. You can also prevent future problems by switching to energy-efficient bulbs like LEDs, which have much lower wattage ratings. This not only helps in preventing such issues but also promotes energy efficiency.
  3. Short circuit: A short circuit in the wiring of a circuit can abruptly extinguish the light fixture, as well as all other devices connected to it. Technically speaking, a short circuit occurs when the electrical current deviates from its intended path, resulting in a reduction of resistance and a significant increase in current flow. As a result, the circuit breaker trips or the fuse blows to interrupt the current flow. Short circuits can be caused by various factors, such as wiring issues in the fixture or appliance cord, defective cord plugs, or faulty light sockets. If you’re experiencing this issue, we recommend contacting AFC to investigate and resolve the problem promptly.
  4. High voltage: When the supply voltage to your home is too high, it can cause light bulbs to burn brighter and have a significantly shorter lifespan. To check the voltage of a standard electrical outlet (120 volts), you can use either a multimeter or a voltage tester. However, it is crucial to be familiar with the necessary safety precautions, as the power will be active. If the test reveals a voltage reading above 125 volts, it is advisable to contact AFC for further inspection.
  5. Wrong dimmer switch: If light bulbs in a fixture controlled by a dimmer switch burn out quickly, it’s highly likely that the wall switch is equipped with an incompatible dimmer. Older dimmer switches were specifically designed for standard incandescent bulbs only. However, if you use CFL or LED bulbs in the light fixture, the standard dimmer may harm the circuitry at the base of the bulb, resulting in rapid burnout. The solution is to replace the switch with a dimmer switch specifically designed for CFL or LED light bulbs.

Do you need electrical service for your Central Maine home? Contact AFC today for more information and a FREE quote!