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Why do my lightbulbs keep blowing?

Relax !!! This problem does not mean you have a major wiring fault. This is a never ending problem which has been looked into for donkeys years. A wiring fault in your circuit will be picked up by fuses and MCB’s long before it gets to the bulb.

There are a few reasons bulbs can blow, the major one being cheaper bulbs. The elements in cheap bulbs are much thinner and any surge of power, however slight, simply breaks them. Always go for expensive light bulbs, its cheaper in the long run.

A loose connection in the lamp holder can also cause bulbs to blow. This is because the circuit is not completed as tightly as it could be and the electricity may have cause to “arc” or jump across the contact, rather than simply flowing through it. When this happens it produces more heat in the fitting than is expected or catered for by the bulb, and the bulb can blow.

The same can happen if the spring loaded connection in the bulb holder is slightly loose. This will cause electricity to arc across the contact, cause too much heat and blow the bulb. This can very often be diagnosed by looking at the contact on the bottom of the bulb to see if it is pitted. Arcing electricity effectively melts the metal it is arcing onto ( This is how arc welding works) so if the bulb contact is being subjected to arcing, tiny little indentations occur, called pitting.

It is sometimes possible, if the live connection in your light switch is a little loose, for this to happen here also. Heat will be generated and it is possible, though very very remote, for the bulb to blow as a result of this.

When a bulb blows, 99% of the time the MCB for the lighting circuit will blow or trip also. This makes the problem seem rather bigger than it actually is. The most common reason a burning out bulb pops the fuse is that just after the thinned filament vaporises there is enough metal vapour in the envelope to create a tungsten vapour lamp between the filament supports with a very high current as there is no control gear to limit it.  Design means there is no way the tungsten vapour lamp can survive as the vapour spreads to fill the rest of the bulb and becomes too dilute to support the discharge.
With some very small bulbs, the capsule type, the tungsten vapour can maintain the discharge long enough for the bulb to explode.

So, three things to look into if your bulbs keep blowing. Your bulb supplier, The wire connections inside your bulb holder, and if the spring loaded connectors are working properly inside the bulb holder. As a last resort you can also check the tightness of the connections in your switch.

In the case of quartz (halogen) bulbs the slightest bit of grease or other deposit on the glass will accelerate failure of the bulb by seeding crystal growth in the glass when it is hot.

Never handle quartz bulbs with bare hands, use a clean tissue.

Another way to improve lamp life is to install CFLs (low energy light bulbs)

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