short light bulb life

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by sjcrawley, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. sjcrawley

    sjcrawley Electrician

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    alberta
    Our neighbor put in a new fixture in the basement and like the rest of the bulbs in the house they are all short-lived. Compact florescent bulbs dies in 6 wks and the same with the new 50w halogens in the new fixture. Any idea what is causing this? I have tightened or checked ½ the wires in the house for them (1/2 alum. And ½ copper). When a load comes on (washer and ect.) the lights brown down a wee bit. Any help or advice would be welcome
  2. got_nailed

    got_nailed DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    277
    Check the voltage with and without heavy loads. The main thing you need to look at is what it dose during start up of a heavy load.

    With all of ALUM wire I would look into a loose neutral.
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    A bad neutral connection, as mentioned by got nailed can cause voltage much than normal to appear across a load.

    On the compact fluorescents, make sure they are not on any kind of dimmer or "dusk-to-dawn" type device.
  4. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    I have been having the same problem with my outside lights. This isn't really scientific, it may not be of any help to you, but I have come to the conclusion that the bulbs are too old. They are about 3 years old and have been stored in my basement. Going to be buying all new.
  5. tonykarns

    tonykarns In the Trades

    Messages:
    82
    Location:
    wisconsin
    What to look for on screw in bulbs.

    Just to add a little info to the rest of the comments:

    3 years ago I installed 18 recessed lights going from a kitchen, down the hallways and into the living room. Every two weeks I would receive a call from the customer that a bulb burned out and everytime it was in a different location. I ran voltage tests to make sure that was ok, checked connections, and if I had any hair I probably would have pulled it out. Never did find anything wrong but the problem persisted. The screw in halogen bulbs were the worst problem as far as pre-mature burn out so I kept two of the burned out bulbs and took them to my electrical contractor. (An old timer). The problem was simple he said! He showed me the pitting at the end of the bulb that makes contact inside the socket. The reason for the pitting he explained was that the small contact on the bulb was bad to begin with. Showing him some of the new bulbs I purchased he showed me that 90% of them were not smooth on the contact solder with either a wisp at the end that protruded out or instead of the contact being round and smooth it was indented. Both problems cause arcing to occur which in turn causes bulbs to fail rapidly. The lighting company that I buy my bulbs at pulled a fresh case from stock and we began to inspect them. (Sylvania brand). What did we find? About 90% of the bulbs were either pitted on the contact or had a wisp sticking off the end of them. I then purchased all the good ones, replaced all the bad ones at my clients house and its been 13 months now and not a single bulb has burned out. My electrician friend says he rubs the ends if needed across emery cloth to knock off any wisp of solder sticking up and if its recessed he takes them back and gets it replaced. I contacted Sylvainia about the problem but they dont seem to care because they refuse to follow up with the problem. Im sure they like to sell bulbs!

    tonysprofessionalremodeling.com
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Most light bulb retailers have a very generous return allowance from the manufacturers.....so are usually very liberal with return of burned out bulbs, if you can show by receipt that they did not last anywhere near the life expectancy spec.
  7. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Nah, I recently heard Edison's first bulb still works!
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Another comment about bulb life. I got this from both Philips and Sylvania catalogs:

    Bulbs all are given a rated life expectancy. A simple 60 watt bulb could be 1500 hours, or a "long life" rated at 2500. Compact fluorescents are usually 10,000 hours, etc. The way they determine this is they take a large batch of bulb, and turn them on. When HALF of the bulbs are burned out, that point is rated as the life expectancy. Meaning half of your bulbs will last longer than that, and half wont/
  9. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,540
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Look here to see the bulb of the centry. Never needs replacing
  10. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Quite a few years ago (10-15) I used to be able to get bulbs from an electrical supply house that had heavier filliments.

    I think I remember that they were rated for a higher voltage like 130V or 135V and that they would last much much longer than regular bulbs.

    If I recall right they were $3-4.00 each back then. Does anyone know if they are still avaliable.
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,133
    Location:
    New England
    Picking up bulbs with 130v filaments are available and will last longer...on 110, they don't get as bright, so you might want a higher wattage (doesn't actually use that unless the voltage is as rated, though) to get the same light output. Otherwise, they tend to look reddish because they don't get as hot.
  12. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Still readily available commercially with 130 volt filaments. Not at the depot, though. Bulbs for things like Exit signs are typically rated at 145 volt, for extra long life.
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