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#205 - 12/22/00 10:44 PM Exploding Light Bulbs!
BOFO Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/23/00
Posts: 1
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I am not an electrician, just a homeowner with a problem. My light bulbs are burning out quickly and often explode within. Tonight one exploded (outward), sparked and smoked--not good. Any advice is welcome. Yes, I am shutting off power to that one! I am calling in a licensed electrician, but can't get one until after Christmas now. I have not had this problem in this old home before. We have a older rewired 100 amp panel with copper. We also have a humdity problem that I am going to check as a contributing factor.

Thanks again for anything you can offer.
TeamBCon@aol.com

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#206 - 12/23/00 04:50 AM Re: Exploding Light Bulbs!
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
BOFO,

Are you talking about different locations throughout the house or 1 particular fixture/room? Have you tried different brands of bulbs? (Name Brand ones may be better than generic ones)

What do you mean by "explode within" ? If you mean a bright flash (when you turn it on) and it goes out this is a very common time for bulbs to burn out. When the power is first turned on and the filament(little wires inside the bulb) heats up very hot very quickly it goes through rapid convulsions (as would I at that temperature!) and it sometimes will break.
Another thing to look at is vibration and tightness of the bulbs. Either of these can also cause short lamp life.

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#207 - 12/23/00 07:04 AM Re: Exploding Light Bulbs!
sparky66wv Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2339
Loc: West Virginia
Another thing to consider is to buy 130 Volt bulbs at the proper wattage, usually 60 Watts. Here in WV the voltage is a little high and we tend to go through regular 120 Volt bulbs.
_________________________
-Virgil
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

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#208 - 12/23/00 08:03 AM Re: Exploding Light Bulbs!
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
Sparky66 is right. I think that the filaments might be thicker too and might withstand more vibration. There are also what is called "Rough Service" bulbs that can solve some common problems.

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#209 - 12/23/00 10:24 AM Re: Exploding Light Bulbs!
Bennie R. Palmer Offline
Member

Registered: 11/09/00
Posts: 72
Loc: Milwaukie, OR 97267 USA
This appears to be more than poor quality lamps. Check at the service panel and see if there is any 3 wire home runs. Respond with this answer, I will then deal with the next move.

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#210 - 12/26/00 05:00 PM Re: Exploding Light Bulbs!
Eclavea Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/09/00
Posts: 5
Loc: OKC
I've seen this once before .The neutral was hooked to the hot and the circuit became 220v.
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Eclavea

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#211 - 12/26/00 08:43 PM Re: Exploding Light Bulbs!
sparky66wv Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2339
Loc: West Virginia
Easy Boys...

It was stated that it was an old home, so I will assume that no one has tinkered recently with the wires in the house before the bulbs started blowing. And being an old home, I'll bet that there's several devices drawing on that circuit that would be obviously destroyed in a lost neutral situation.

I suppose best would be to call your local electrician to meter the circuit to see if the voltage is not excessively high (130V or less to ground) and is approximately half of the line to line voltage. Then I'd just buy some 130V bulbs.

However, corroded or loose neutrals on a multiwire circuit can cause resistance that will unbalance the voltage and cause an overvoltage on one leg while causing a deficiency on the other. I've seen this with my own eyes. In this situation, the multiwire doesn't completely become a series 240V circuit, but rather a series/parallel circuit with a fluctuating voltage dependant upon the load(s). In the situation I witnessed, 205V were read with 35V on the opposite leg when the furnace motor kicked on and brought the load (amperes) past the ampacity of the corroded connection. With the thermostat off, the voltages read normally.

As I stated in another post, a little sandpaper and some penetrox and I was a hero...
_________________________
-Virgil
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

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#212 - 02/23/01 11:25 PM Re: Exploding Light Bulbs!
silverbk Offline
Member

Registered: 02/24/01
Posts: 61
I did service in a house that had 3 phase power with a high leg or a wild leg, and you guessed it. Tha leg got connected to a bus which fed some circuits, needless to say the stuff on the other end did not last long at 208 volts. It stayed like that for about 20 years until I came along and changed the service.

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