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perpetual98 01-14-2008 09:19 AM

Bad power? Going through bulbs
I was wondering over the weekend as I was replacing a light bulb in the basement again if there was something electrical that was causing them to blow. We moved into our place in October and I've replaced a couple bulbs twice, but two of them were in the garage, where I just expect that they really don't like frequent temperature changes.

Just curious mainly.


AllanJ 01-14-2008 09:59 AM

Incandescent bulbs are most likely to burn out at the moment of being turned on, as current rushes into the filament that has a lower resistance when cold. (The wattage settles down to what is rated after about a half second.) But I did not expect them to be more likely to burn out when used outdoors in winter. Vibration while on also shortens incandescent bulb life. Does the garage structure shake when you drive your car in?

Your voltage may be on the high side. You would need a voltmeter to check this. "Long life" bulbs are simply those designed for a higher voltage.

But be careful. If one side of your 120/240 volt service goes noticeably above 120 and at the same time the other side goes noticeably below 110, you have a problem with the neutral wires. You'll need an electrician (or more than basic electrical skills of your own) very quickly. All electronic gear including stoves with electronic timers should be unplugged or breakered off until this problem is fixed.

If only two or three bulbs actually had a short life, that may be just normal manufacturing tolerances.

perpetual98 01-14-2008 10:11 AM

The next time an indoor one blows I'll get the voltmeter out. I had good luck in a past apartment by putting "rough service" bulbs in the garage. I don't think I have a neutral problem, but I'll check. Had to rewire my office at work a while back when we lost a neutral somewhere and lost most of the electronics in my office.


J. V. 01-14-2008 10:26 AM

Have you tried 130 volt bulbs? Are 130 volt the rough usage type? You could eliminate the problem by going to CFL's. It does not solve the problem, just makes life a little easier.

tribe_fan 01-14-2008 11:42 AM

Not to hijack - but I have found that I have to go "up" on rating to get the same amount of light when using CFL's - ( Use a 75 when it calls for a 60).

Anyone else see this ?

perpetual98 01-14-2008 02:37 PM

Ugh, I just typed a big response and my computer ate it, so here I go again...

It's funny that you mention CFL bulbs. I have 4 of them in my garage and I've replaced the incandescents a couple times and the CFL bulbs haven't given me any issues.

What irritates me about the CFL bulbs is that they take a bit to get up to full brightness. It really irritated me in the kitchen and bath, but probably would be a non-issue in the garage. Anyway, once it gets warmer out I'll be hanging some fluorescent in the garage anyway, since I like it absurdly bright when I'm working out there. :)

tribe_fan, I have noticed that you do seem to have to go up a "step" with the CFL bulbs. I guess you're still saving money on wattage anyway.

J.V., regarding the Rough Service bulbs, I think they're 130V and they also have reinforced filaments, but don't quote me as gospel on that. :)

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