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Why Are My Light Bulbs Burning Out Quickly?

Published May 6, 2022

By Quality Contracting Electrical & HVAC

Why Are My Light Bulbs Burning Out Quickly?

How many people does it take to keep changing a burning bulb?

Even though there’s not an everlasting bulb that shines bright until the end of time, you’re likely not interested in adding “buy bulbs” to your Prime list every couple of weeks. When your bulbs are burning more quickly than anticipated, it’s worthwhile to understand why and put a stop to the Burnt Bulb Syndrome.

Bulb Lifespan: How Long Should It Be?

There are multiple types of light bulbs, and each of them have different spans of life:

  • LED (light-emitting diode) light bulbs last on average 25,000 hours
  • CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs last about 10,000 hours
  • Incandescent light bulbs burn out after about 1,000 hours

Now, if you’re not a mathematician with cool glasses and a shirt pocket for writing utensils, you might not be figuring out exactly how many hours that translates to in terms of days, so we went ahead and put our thinking cap on and pulled our #2 pencil and fresh graph paper out:

If you were to keep an LED bulb on for 8 hours a day, you’d be able to keep it on for 3,125 days — That’s over 8 years!

How long should LED bulb last


Read on to find out the most common reasons your bulbs might be burning out too soon.

1. On/Off Switch Usage

While flipping the switch when you exit a room might save some change in the bank, sometimes little ones might enjoy their own disco party to the beat of their favorite jam. Maybe you find yourself going in and out of a room often, switching the light every entrance and exit. This frequency can shorten your bulb lifespan, leaving your bulb budget dim.

Every flip of the switch sends a surge to the filaments of the bulb and this surge tolls the filament, wearing it out than if you just kept the switch on.

If you’re looking to avoid unnecessary shortening of your bulb lifespan, cut down on the disco switch, and maybe consider alternative light sources like windows, skylights, solar powered nightlights, or even motion-sensor switches.

2. Frequent Shaking or Vibration

While light bulbs are built to exist in the normal, minimal shaking that happens when you move about the house, some fixture vibration can damage filaments within the bulb to burn more quickly.

Common types of fixtures where the shaking causes shortening of lifespan are often ceiling fans and garage bulbs. When fan blades become off-balance, shaking the fixture comes with each rotation. In the garage, the garage door movement and use of tools that cause shaking can vibrate the bulb even from afar.

If you notice these two places cause your bulbs to burn more than your passion for being a Hampton Roads resident, you know it’s time to find a solution. So what’s that? You can find rough-service bulbs that have sturdier filaments. You can also replace your ceiling fan to not shake so much.

3. A Goldilocks of Bulbs: Loose or Tight, It’s Not Right

Lefty-loosy, righty-tighty: Which way is too much? If you’re thinking politics, you’re on the wrong page but if you’re concerned about the light bulbs of your home, you’re certainly right to assume that too loose or too tight can be a problem. Bulbs that are loose in their sockets create a bad connection of electricity, which results in flickering and wearing of the oh-so precious filament.

On the other hand, making sure that bulb goes nowhere can also be a problem, melting the solder is a common issue. It’s a small but super import part of the base of the bulb. If the solder melts, the connection will cause the bulb to malfunction, and nobody likes a dimwit… or a dimly lit bulb.

The right tight, but not excessively bonded connection, screw the bulb in until it’s naturally finished durning but also doesn’t wiggle like a child that doesn’t want to go to bed.

4. Outdated Recessed Lighting Fixtures

Can soup? Nah. Can lights? Yeah, that’s the other name for recessed light fixtures. These fixtures can often get a little too friendly with insulation and overheat. A few can lights may turn off when they overheat, but many do not. While bulb burn is a problem, overheating can also be a major fire hazard.

The best way to take care of this is to simply replace your light fixture with newer, safer lighting. This means less fire-risk, and more bulb brightness for a longer time.

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