Lightbulbs Keep Burning Out

Old 01-14-04, 06:52 PM
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Lightbulbs Keep Burning Out

Rental house is at least 40 years old. Lightbulbs have to be replaced every few months, or sooner.

Is this dangerous?

Do I tell the landlord?

What should be done, checked?

It's several rooms and different ceiling lights in each room.
Old 01-14-04, 08:12 PM
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What kind of light bulbs? For now, I'll assume simple incandescent.

Replacing bulbs every few months may not be unusual if you use the lights a lot. So I'll assume that these bulbs are not on for many hours a day.

The killers of light bulbs are:
  • High voltage. You can measure the voltage in your house with a voltmeter. Stick the two probes into a receptacle. If it is above 125, this may be the problem. If so, there's not much you can do about it except buying bulbs marked "130V". Another cause of high voltage is a loose neutral in the panel. If the voltage you read is above 130 volts, then ask your landlord to have an electrican or the power company check it out.
  • Too much vibration (kids jumping around a lot upstairs?). Again, 130V bulbs will help. Or you could try to eliminate the vibration (unless you live next to a busy freeway).
  • Too much heat. This can be the result of using 75-watt bulbs or 100-watt bulbs in a fixture designed for 60-watt bulbs. It could also be the result of improperly installed fixtures, such that the fixtures do not dissipate heat as they were designed. Even worse than short bulbs life is that this is a considerable fire hazard.
  • Cheap no-name of bulbs. If you're not using a major brand, you could switch to one. You could also try double-life bulbs (Sylvania makes some). Or putting the lights on a dimmer and keeping them slightly dimmed can considerably extend bulb life too.
Old 01-14-04, 10:07 PM
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One other long shot: You don't by any chance live near high voltage power lines do you. One of our fire stations is built near a set of high voltage transfer lines and light bulbs don't last much more than a month. People who live in the neighborhood report the same problem in their houses. I assume this is because of the magnetic field generated by the power lines.

Doug M.

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