Like the smoke alarm beeping in the middle of the night, light bulbs always seem to blow at the worst possible time—when you are deep into a great book, as you put dinner on the table, or midway through applying makeup. To make matters worse, you never seem to have a replacement bulb on hand! How do they know?

We may never uncover the answer to that question, but the good news is, there are several steps you can take to prevent light bulbs from blowing unexpectedly. 

What makes lightbulbs blow?

Before we discuss how to stop bulbs from blowing out, it’s important to understand why they blow—sometimes even weeks after you start using them. 

Here are four primary reasons:

  • You’re using cheap, low-quality bulbs.
  • You’re using the wrong wattage bulb for your fixture.  
  • Your bulb-to-fixture connection is too tight or too loose. 
  • The voltage powering your home is too high.

Now that we understand what causes this issue, we can begin to see how to prevent it from continuing to happen.

Use high-quality bulbs

When it comes to bulbs, quality does matter. Bulbs have come a long way over the past 20+ years.

The good ones, specifically the popular LEDs, are more expensive up front, but make up for the initial cost when it comes to longevity, reliability, and energy efficiency. Learn about popular bulb types and their pros and cons here.

Use the right wattage bulb for your fixture

Unfortunately, you can’t just screw in any bulb that fits your fixture. Check the wattage recommendation on your fixture and the wattage number printed on your bulb to make sure they match. 

In addition to not lasting as long as you would like, using an inappropriate bulb wattage can lead to safety issues.

Twist your bulb carefully!

Bulbs that are screwed in too tightly or not tightly enough are prone to blowing. If your bulb is loose, electricity has to jump from the fixture to reach it, resulting in increased heat and an unexpected surge that causes the bulb to blow. 

Bulbs that are screwed in too tightly may flatten the fixture’s connection tab which is supposed to be slightly raised. You can bend the tab upward yourself to fix it, but ONLY after disconnecting the fixture from electricity by unplugging it or shutting off the breaker.

Investigate voltage issues you suspect

Electrical currents that are too high can cause bulbs to blow. The filament inside cheaper CFL bulbs is extra sensitive to heat and more likely than a LED to blow or stop working after experiencing a jolt or sustained high voltage. 

If you suspect the voltage powering your Marietta or metro Atlanta home may be causing problems, reach out. Electricity can be dangerous, so we highly recommend contacting a trained professional.

Keep extra bulbs on hand

Even if you follow all of these steps, bulbs don’t last forever! To minimize inconveniences, buy bulbs in pairs. That way you’ll always have a backup when the lights go out! Keep these bulbs stored safely and in a place that’s convenient for when you need them.

Be careful 

It bears repeating that electricity is nothing to play around with. If you notice anything unusual, call a professional electrician. 

If you’re in Marietta or Metro Atlanta, we’re happy to take a look. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.