Serving Newcastle & The Hunter Valley

How to stop your light bulbs from blowing: 3 simple solutions

30 January 2018

You finally trudge through the front door after a marathon day at work.

You grab an ice cold drink, get into your comfiest pair of slippers and sit down on the couch for one fleeting, refreshing moment…

…and then your damned light bulb blows.


It’s a groan-worthy moment and nobody enjoys scaling a table or chair to change a light bulb – worse still when you have to lug your ladder in from the back shed.  

Light bulbs are fragile, technical things. They demand proper installation and the right wattage. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself making that journey up the ladder all too frequently.

We want to take the frustration out of installing light bulbs – and we want to help you prevent them from blowing every couple of months.

There are three really common reasons why light bulbs blow and the solutions to help you avoid an early blowout are actually quick and easy.

#1. Make sure your light bulb has the correct wattage

Most people don’t know the difference between a 20-watt and a 100-watt bulb. But when a light blows or burns out, you need to take note of the voltage you need to light the room. Watts are the amount of energy a light bulb uses.

The lower the watts, the lower the power bill.

CFLs and LEDs have a lower wattage than incandescent bulbs but create the same amount of light.

Here’s a quick break down of the difference in watts between incandescent, halogen, CFL and LED light bulbs:  

a table showing light bulb wattages

Image source: Lowes

The bulbs needed to light your home will vary from appliance to appliance.

All light bulbs have the maximum wattage displayed on the packaging which can be matched to an appliance.

If you’re not sure – get a qualified electrician in to sort out the best possible match for all of your house’s fitting in one go. You’ll save yourself a bunch of cash on your power bill, and you’ll stop that pesky three-month cycle of blowouts and bulb changes.

One word of caution when installing new light bulbs…

Never install light bulbs with a higher wattage than the light fixture.

The excess heat generated by the bulb might burn insulation, melt the insulating jackets on wires and cable sheathing, or burn out entirely.

It’s not worth gambling with you and your family’s safety.

Have your lighting installed by a reliable professional.

Want to make sure you’re getting a fair deal on your electrical job? Check out our article on how much it costs to hire an electrician and you can make sure your next quote isn’t grossly inflated.

#2 Don’t settle for cheap light bulbs

What sells you on a light bulb?

You probably don’t give this purchase much of a second thought.

Is it the look and feel of the item?

The quality or energy rating?

Or the price?

There’s something compelling about a low price tag. It’s like a hit of adrenaline spotting a discount sticker or big black letters screaming “$0.99”.

You’re not thinking about the tens or hundreds of dollars you might save over the long term with a slightly pricier option.

We’re more compelled to purchase cheaper items because we’re all drawn to the idea of saving money in the moment or getting a sweet deal.

However, when it comes to household electrical fittings like light bulbs, it might pay to go for the ‘slower burn’.

Cheap light bulbs are cheap for a reason.

The filaments are thinner and made from substandard materials to keep costs low during manufacturing.

Waikato Electricians in New Zealand reported they were receiving up to ten calls per day from homeowners concerned there was something wrong with their wiring.

There was nothing wrong with their wiring. Instead, Waikato electrician, Colin Hyde, said most cheaper bulbs are “absolute rubbish” and it’s better to spend a few extra cents on higher quality bulbs.  

In the long run, LED lights are more reliable and cost-effective, designed to run up to 50,000 hours in some cases – a huge bonus considering incandescent bulbs last an average of 900 hours.

The bulbs might cost more than your average cheapie but overall, the LED lights will save you so much more on your power bill – and last you so much longer before they blow.

#3 Make sure you don’t have a loose connection to the fixture

Sometimes a blown light bulb can be as simple as incorrect placement in the fixture.

Light fixtures can be hard to navigate – especially if you’re installing the light bulb on top of a two-metre ladder. The bulb doesn’t always want to click into place. It’s just not how electrical work happens.

When a bulb isn’t connected to a fixture properly, electricity has to “arc” or jump across to make contact rather than flowing through.

The result – more heat is produced than the light bulb is designed for.

Then, bang.

The lights are blown. And the blowout happens much quicker than you’d expect.

Make sure you install your light bulbs tightly so no arcs of power blow the lighting early.

The heat produced can be dangerous, and you’re wasting cash on continual replacements.

The secret to long-lasting light bulbs is… spending more now to save more later with proper installation 

Spend a little more upfront and you’ll save yourself stacks of time and cash in the future.

The larger your home or office space – the bigger the savings.

It’s frustrating having to purchase more light bulbs when the things bust, blow and burnout all the time.

To keep light bulbs glowing for years rather than months – we recommend spending a few extra cents and purchasing reliable, high quality LED light bulbs.

Cheap bulbs are fragile, quick to fail and not worth the saving.

Don’t forget to pay attention to wattage and proper fixture placement when installing new light bulbs. Installing a bulb with a higher wattage than the fixture can cause overheating and a short lifespan of the bulb while doing a dodgy job clipping or screwing the new bulb in can cause “arcs” of power which overheat the bulb.

Overall, the safest, most cost-effective way to keep your bulbs shining brightly is to have them installed by a qualified professional. Our team can help sort out your light fittings and save you the hassle of continual blowouts.

Want to get your light bulbs sorted in Newcastle & the Hunter? Give us a call on 1300 766 324 to have a qualified electrician do the work for you.

Image: Pexels

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