Why Do My Light Bulbs Keep Blowing?

Electrical safety tips for Business, Electrical safety tips for homes, information

Cheap Bulbs

Low-quality bulbs not only tend to burn out faster under normal conditions, they can be especially susceptible to failure under any of the less-than-ideal conditions that could otherwise cause a bulb to blow. When a filament bulb blows, for instance, the filament breaks at its weakest point—and cheaper bulbs have thinner filaments to begin with. Using higher quality bulbs, ideally LEDs, will generally avoid these problems.

Arcing Electricity

When the bottom of a light bulb doesn’t make a snug connection with the hardware in the light socket, it can cause electricity to arc between the socket and bulb. You may not know this is happening just by looking at the bulb, but arcing electricity can generate excess heat, leading to a blowout. If you think this may be happening, remove the bulb and check the bottom for dark spots or pitting—the telltale signs of arcing electricity.

For safety’s sake, you may want to contact an electrician to investigate and repair this issue. But there is one common, simple problem that causes light bulb blowouts you can easily fix on your own. Look into the problematic light bulb socket—you should see a small brass tab that is slightly raised.

If a light bulb is screwed in too tightly, this tab can be flattened, which can lead to arcing. You can bend this tab upward again with your fingers or a pair of pliers, but only if the fixture is completely disconnected from electricity. If it’s a table lamp, simply unplug it. If it’s a wired fixture, shut off the corresponding circuit breaker and use a fresh bulb to confirm that the socket is disconnected.

High Voltage

It only takes a small amount of excessive voltage to dramatically reduce the lifespan of an ordinary light bulb and cause frequent blowouts. Like the example of electrical arcing above, this is primarily due to the excess heat generated. Overvoltage that is too high, or sustained over a long enough period, can cause bulbs to blow. Consult an electrician to confirm instances of overvoltage and to correct the causes, which can originate from either in your local electrical grid or in your own home electrical system.


Filament light bulbs are often very delicate, especially if they’re cheaply made. Mechanical vibrations, over a long enough period, can contribute to sudden blowouts by causing the filament to snap. These vibrations can come from nearby appliances, sound waves, second-floor foot traffic and many other sources. When vibration is the culprit, switching to an LED bulb is a sure-fire fix.

Are you having trouble with light bulbs blowing out in your home? Let the expert electricians at your local Mister Sparky track down the cause and put an end to the inconvenience and waste. Contact us online or call today at (800) 906-4577.

Loose Connections

A loose connection in the lamp holder can also cause the light bulbs to blow.  When the circuit is not tightly completed, it makes the electricity jump and not flow. When the power jumps, it creates more heat in the fitting than recommended for by the bulb to handle forcing it to blow.

How To Fix Your Blowing Bulbs

3 places to check if your light bulb keeps blowing out. Also, always consider buying high-quality energy efficient light bulbs like LEDs.

  1. Your bulb supplier
  2. The wire connections inside your bulb holder
  3. If the spring loaded connectors are working properly inside the bulb holder

For high voltage

  • Put on a dimmer or variable transformer
  • Ask the power company about the voltage problem – is it neighborhood-wide?
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