do short-lived light bulbs point to a bigger problem?

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Old 12-18-07, 02:59 PM
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Lightbulb do short-lived light bulbs point to a bigger problem?

I'm now living in a house, but in my prior rental apartment, I seemed to be replacing light bulbs WAY too often. Usually, I'd turn on the light and pop! it'd go out. I asked my landlord about it and she said something like - they don't make bulbs like they used to. But, honestly, I've never had to buy so many anywhere else I've lived. I suspected an issue with the electrical system, but it was easier to buy a house than pursue it! (ha!) I even bought better bulbs, but it didn't seem to make a difference.

So - what do you think? Could this have pointed to a bigger problem? Or was I just unlucky?
 
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Old 12-18-07, 03:21 PM
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For the most part, 3 things influence bulb life(assuming incandescents).
Line voltage: If it tends to run high the bulbs will not last as long, normal is 117-123VAC. If the power is sirty, spikes or surges, life will be less. Buy bulbs rated at 130V
Switching: Switching a bulb on/off often will shorten life. It shocks the filament every time you turn it on.
On too long: Bulbs have a life, usually 750 to 1300 hrs, depending on the bulb rating. A bulb left on all the time will accumulate time quickly.

Other things that affect the life can be switches that spark. A spark is the same as a spike/surge from the POCO. Lamps with poor or once overheated contacts, also often a spark.
Usually you get what you pay for, cheap bulbs don't last. But it is hard to tell anymore. You get overcharged for cheap bulbs and...........well, you never get undercharged.
 
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Old 12-18-07, 03:23 PM
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I've seen this question a few times. The first thing I would do is check the voltage. The cheapest way is with an analog millimeter. If a standard outlet has a voltage between about 115-125 you are ok. Check the voltage throughout the day, as it can vary. Also, check several outlets, to be sure there isn't a problem with a particular circuit. An unusually high voltage, say, 135, could indicate a problem with your wiring or the power company. Some people have reported success with the heavy duty light bulbs, which are rated for 130 volts.
 
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Old 12-19-07, 05:47 AM
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power companies are pushing the max up to 250 vac and you can see 125 vac leg to ground. If you read the bulb you will see 120 vac The bulbs wont last. 130 volt bulbs last longer. they also have 130v rough service bulbs.

I have seen a loose neutral in a meter socket that allowed the voltage to spike up to 160vac on a leg. Blew every bulb in a dining room chandelier
 
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Old 12-19-07, 07:02 AM
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Other things that can shorten bulb life: using too high wattage bulb, vibration, incorrect fixture orientation (e.g., upside down or sideways), incorrect type bulb, incorrect bulb orientation (e.g., installing a bulb in a downward direction that was only intended for installation in an upward direction), fingerprints (mostly on halogen bulbs), rough handling of the bulb prior to installation, poor quality bulbs.
 
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Old 12-19-07, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Strategery View Post
The first thing I would do is check the voltage. The cheapest way is with an analog millimeter.
Quick correction: analog multimeter. We knew what you meant, but a newbie might not.
 
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Old 12-19-07, 04:22 PM
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Thank you. I usually proof read & spell check. Sorry I missed that one, and for any confusion.
 
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Old 12-20-07, 08:19 AM
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Lightbulb Thanks!

Thanks for the info!

I never noticed that bulbs might be available for 130V vs. 120V -- very interesting, I'll have to look next time. I never heard of bulb orientation being a factor - that's very odd.

I think the most helpful comment of all is to check the voltage with a megameter, uh, multimeter. (I guess where electricity is concerned, size does matter!)
 
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