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I have a ceiling fan in my family room that has five 60 watt incandescent bulbs in it. A bulb burned out so I replaced it, using a GE ceiling fan bulb. Within a day I noticed the same bulb burned out again. The bulb was kind of a smoky black color. Any ideas why this would have happened, and any suggestions on how to resolve this?
Thanks.
 

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I’m not even going to ask why we’re using incandescents in 2020.

But it might be a canary in the coal mine. I don’t buy “defective batch” when GE is the vendor. They do know a thing or two about making light bulbs.

I want you to get a voltage testing device with a precise readout. Like a Kill-a-Watt.

I want you to plug it into outlets all over your house; you only need to test one outlet per circuit. I’m looking for voltage readings that are different from each other by more than a couple of volts.

So like 122V vs 120V, I don’t care. But 133V vs 108V, that’s what I’m concerned about.

This is a “Lost Neutral” and it is an emergency that requires immediate action. Call the power company and report an outage: it’s almost always the neutral wire at the pole or weatherhead, which is their bailiwick. The neutral wire is also the carrier wire for the other wires. Sometimes you have to fight through customer service agents who are trying to avoid rolling a truck; they’ll ask stupid things like “Do your lights work” - NO, burning out is not “working”!

When it happened to me, they came and fixed it in an hour on a Sunday. I stayed with the truck and did “gofer” tasks like shutting off breakers and warning neighbors, that sped repair since he didn’t need to come down.

Now, if you only see it on one circuit./.a few outlets, it may be still a lost neutral, but only on one particular circuit type called a “Multi-wire branch circuit”. If the 120V circuit has a handle-tied (dual/2-pole) breaker, that’s the mark of an MWBC. Or you have to open up the service panel and see if the 120V circuit is wired with /3 (black red white) cable; a great many MWBCs do not have handle-ties. In that case the neutral broke somewhere on the MWBC.
 
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