Bulbs burning out at same time throughout house

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  #1  
Old 12-23-06, 02:45 PM
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Bulbs burning out at same time throughout house

Hey everyone.

I've been looking for some advice with a problem we're having with the lighting throughout our home, and was hoping I could get some help here. First of all, our town home is two years old. Recently, my in-laws gave us a slew of nearly-new Progress light fixtures that didn't fit their tastes. So, I went ahead and replaced nearly all the dealer-standard lighting fixtures in our home with these new lights. A couple months after installing these new lights, I noticed something strange. Soon thereafter, whenever we'd turn a switch on, all the bulbs in a fixture would burn out. In some cases, this was as many as three at a time. In about a week and half, we had a grand total of about fifteen bulbs in about seven different fixtures burn out. We would replace them, then they'd be fine for a couple months before doing it again (it's starting again right now, actually, as all three 60w bulbs in the fixture in our entryway burned out when I turned the switch on). I have taken the lighting fixtures down to inspect the wiring, but haven't noticed any obvious problems. On these lights, the maximum recommended bulb wattage is 60 Type A, which we use, and have never exceeded. The breakers are 15 amps, and the wiring is 14 gauge throughout the house. The one breaker has three light fixtures on it (and thatís about it as far as I can tell), and these fixtures have a total of eight bulbs (typically 60w). But for some reason all the bulbs in each fixture go out at the same time, and the fixtures go out within a couple weeks of one another. These lights do get regular use as they are in the entryway and stairs, but I canít imagine it would be normal for all the bulbs to go out within such a short time of one another. The other fixtures are the lights in the kitchen (two pendants, one two-bulb-Close-to-the-Ceiling type [just like the ones in the entryway and in the hall], and one three-bulb chandelier), which is on the same breaker as our front room (which has three computers and three lamps). All the light fixtures I installed, but the one in our bedroom on yet another breaker, have given me this problem. The only thing I can begin to think is that maybe adding these fixtures has exceeded the wattage on the 14 gauge lines theyíve run, but that doesnít make sense. For instance, on the computer Iím running in the front room, I purchased a battery backup due to all the power shortages and black-outs we were having in our town home development. The other day, when I flipped the switch and all the lights in the entryway fixture blew, my battery back-up gave a warning chirp. But I canít understand this, as they are on two different breakers. Can anyone give me some advice? Iím completely lost and have no idea what the problem is. It just doesnít seem right that each bulb in a fixture typically burns out at the same time, and then all the fixtures burn out within the same roughly two-week time frame.

I've included a link to the line of lights we installed here:
http://www.progresslighting.com/search.cfm?search=search&Category=&finish_id=62&family_id=157&minprice=0&maxprice=3000&sku=

Thanks in advance and Merry Christmas,

Barkley
 
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  #2  
Old 12-23-06, 03:13 PM
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My only thought is that your AC voltage in your house may be higher than 120V, can you measure the voltage, seems it should be between 110 and 120.
 
  #3  
Old 12-23-06, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by 67lplc View Post
My only thought is that your AC voltage in your house may be higher than 120V, can you measure the voltage, seems it should be between 110 and 120.
Thanks so much for the fast response. I just have a couple of questions, if you dont' mind.
1) Can you tell me how I'd go about measuring the voltage? If you could direct me to a website, that may be easier for you.

2) If I see the voltage is off from what it should be, what do I do then? Are there voltage regulators I should put on the house side of the breaker box?

Thanks so much,

Barkley
 
  #4  
Old 12-23-06, 04:08 PM
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Buy a multimeter (voltmeter). I bought one at Autozone for $20.00.

You stick on of the leads into the socket, and the other to a ground.

Also, your breaker will trip if you exceed the voltage/amps which I don't think you are.
 
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Old 12-23-06, 04:10 PM
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What are your connections like inside the outlet? 2 wire? 4 wire?

Make sure you are not tightening those bulbs tight. Just screw them in till they are snug, but not tight. To tight and they will burn out.
 
  #6  
Old 12-23-06, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by HotinOKC View Post
What are your connections like inside the outlet? 2 wire? 4 wire?

Make sure you are not tightening those bulbs tight. Just screw them in till they are snug, but not tight. To tight and they will burn out.
Thanks for the response. If I understand your question correctly, there are three wires in the wall, and three wires from each of the fixtures, though the wires from the lights are the fibrous ones, rather than the solid. I hope I haven't missed the intent of your question.

To give you a better idea, the lights are fixed to plastic boxes, so I ground it to both the bare wire (from the wall) and to the metal plate over the plastic box.

I hope this answers your question.

Thanks,

Barkley
 
  #7  
Old 12-23-06, 05:11 PM
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Breakers only trip if your current is exceede, voltage means nothing. Most likley have fluctuating voltages , the Poco can install a voltage sure monitor to see what your getting . Install 130v bulbs for now.
 
  #8  
Old 12-23-06, 10:38 PM
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Barkley - I too suggest that you ask your POCO to test/monitor the voltage level. Burkej62's idea of 130v rated bulbs is good too.

Here's a link that might be helpful: http://www.arcadianlighting.com/troubleshoot-lamps.html

Merry Christmas!
 
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