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lrcc 02-15-2013 06:48 PM

Light Bulbs blowing all the time.
We built our home in 2005 and have an issue with light bulbs blowing throughout the house inside and out consistently. We have work with the builder and his electrician who wired the house in the past however the problem has not been resolved. Weíve tried all of their recommendation like use better quality bulbs (although the electrician installed the original set), higher wattage bulbs and try the florescent bulbs. Last fall I had another electrician come out to investigate but in spite of a real good effort, he could not determine the cause. At his recommendation, we had the power company come out and measured the voltage coming into the house and the neighborhood transformers, everything checked out within a normal range. Since December 8, 2012, Iíve had six bulbs to blow that I am aware of since keeping track in a spreadsheet to identified trends. Iíve replaced 10 bulbs since the December 2012 date. In the past, I have replaced 25 light bulbs at one time. I am back at square one and researching the issue online. Any suggestions on what to do next?

TarheelTerp 02-15-2013 07:10 PM

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Originally Posted by lrcc (Post 1117900)

At his recommendation, we had the power company come out and measured the voltage coming into the house and the neighborhood transformers, everything checked out within a normal range.

Until the next time.


Any suggestions on what to do next?
What you may need is a *recording* volt meter. Cool Link

It constantly measures the voltage over a 24 hour (or longer period) and leaves you with a recorded document of peaks, valleys and all other changes.

Old school paper record:

AllanJ 02-15-2013 07:14 PM

There are only so many reasons why incandescent lamps burn out too quickly.
1. Supply voltage abnormally high.
2. Excessive vibration whether from less than solid building construction, rambunctious persons upstairs, or trucks rumbling by outside.
3. Too much heat buildup in a closed fixture really intended for a lower wattage lamp.
4. Frequent turn ons (excluding when power is applied more gradually using a dimmer).
5. Overall poor lamp quaility or it was really designed for a lower than normal voltage.

Lamp life is officially defined as the number of hours it takes for half of a reasonably large group (say 3 dozen) of continuously operating lamps to burn out.

Kyle_in_rure 02-15-2013 07:32 PM

You could ask your POCO to come and install a recording voltage monitor. Bulbs usually burn out quickly due to excessive vibration or excessive voltage. What kinds of fixtures are these? Excessive heat can also cause them to go out.

lrcc 02-15-2013 07:53 PM

The POCO has monitored the voltage and stated it was fine. Bulbs have blown in ceiling fans(its winter so the fans are not on), porch lights, bathroom lights over the vanity, bulbs over the dinnette set, canister lights in the kitchen, over the shower and basement, fixture in the study, light post in the yard etc. Neigbhors are not having the problem if it's vibration from trucks or another source. I am averaging one blown bulb every seven days.

Kyle_in_rure 02-15-2013 08:03 PM

Do you notice lights flickering or power "surging", maybe when appliances come on, or any other weird behaviors?

Stubbie 02-15-2013 08:10 PM

Does your electrical panel have any multiwire branch circuits that are sharing neutrals? look it up on google to get an understanding. Typically if your home is wired with non metallic sheathed cable (romex) the cable will have a red , black and white wire plus ground. Red and black will be on a double pole circuit breaker.

mpoulton 02-15-2013 08:16 PM

Have you measured the voltage at the fixtures? Does it happen repeatedly in some fixtures and not in others? Are the bulbs that fail visibly brighter than the ones in different fixtures that aren't failing? This sounds like it may be a loose neutral problem. That can have many other very bad results, and will continue to get worse until it is repaired. The definitive test for a loose neutral is to see if the voltage at the device ever rises significantly above half of the line-to-line voltage at the service (nominally 240V).

dmxtothemax 02-15-2013 08:18 PM

Can you post pics of the lamps and lamp fittings ?

Cause we dont know what the resolution of the monitoring
gear is, we would not put much faith in it !
All it takes is a couple of very breif surges each day,
if they are breif the monitoring gear might not pick them up,
they look for long term averages more then breif surges.

Also be aware there is a huge problem now days with
poor quality lamps, as a lot are now sourced from china,
And there quality leaves a lot to be desired.
Even the larger supposidely more reputable manufactureres
are now sourcing there lamps from china.
Probably due to the phasing out of incandesant lamps.

Have you tried using high voltage lamps ?
They are rated at 130v instead of the normal 120v.

lrcc 02-15-2013 08:20 PM

There is no flickering when appliances come on. At first I thought it might be the furnaces or AC causing a surge. Once we moved in the issues notice right away, ironing in the master bedroom cause the breaker to trip and notice sparks in outlets when pluging items in. I've replaced two gfi outlets in the masterbath.

lrcc 02-15-2013 08:42 PM

Thanks for the responses. I will check into what has been suggested and follow up later.

kevinb70 02-16-2013 01:58 AM

+1 on floating neutral .. or bad ground ... of note is the sparking when plugging in items.... could be load elsewhere on the circuit trying to find its way back to the main panel via the item you just plugged in.... that current will be much greater than the item you plugged in, hence the sparks

can we assume you know the sparking isn't because the receptacle is bad? 1) loose prongs inside or 2) not connected securely (wires should be screwed in, avoid using the push-in hole on back of the receptacle

the utility may have only checked 'their side'... not 'your side' which is your responsibility - not their job to provide you free diagnosis on your home wiring/main panel... otherwise we wouldn't need Electricians...

64pvolvo1800 02-16-2013 04:54 AM

I'm thinking the poco is clear of guilt. Power surges would only be the culprit if the bulbs were on at the time of a surge and you'd notice that. I also think you'd notice if many bulbs went at the same time. I'm on the loose neutral band wagon. Do you notice lights change as you turn on other devices? Are you losing any electronics too? Plug a DVM into an outlet and turn stuff on while monitoring it. Preferably an outlet where you seem to be losing lamp bulbs.
Finally, are you buying cheapass bulbs?

kbsparky 02-16-2013 05:14 AM

Using a higher wattage bulb would make the problem worse.

Have you tried using LED bulbs?

busman 02-16-2013 06:18 AM

Try 130V bulbs.

If you don't notice lights getting brighter on their own, then the neutral probably isn't the problem.


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