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May 31,2018

What Causes a Light Bulb to Explode?

We have seen it in the movies: a ghost is displeased with an earth-dweller and illustrates its frustration by causing a light bulb to explode. We won’t get into superstitions here, but we will explain some physical reasons for a light bulb explosion. If you have had a light bulb explode, then be careful because the glass pieces can travel quite far. Also wear safe gloves when you deal with the remainder of the bulb in socket. Call Mr. Electric of Fort Worth if you would like to have a local electrician come by and inspect the situation.

Insulation at The Base

Light bulbs are filled with gases such as argon, nitrogen, halogen, or xenon. The gases in conjunction with oxygen allow the filament to glow. When there is a leak in the system such as weak insulation, a melted base, or a crack in the bulb, the gases leak out and the bulb is filled with oxygen. With too much oxygen, the filament burns up immediately. This pressure difference can make the bulb explode. The cause for the leak may be due to faulty malfunctioning or damage after the fact.

Power Surge

Always use a light bulb with the appropriate voltage and wattage for the corresponding fixture. Wrong voltages can cause power spikes and overheat the filament, causing the light bulb to explode. This same situation can happen with a power surge. Power surges can happen unexpectedly, especially during a lightning storm. The abundance of power going into the light bulb will overheat the light bulb and it will explode. Finally, faulty wiring can also have the same effect. Have a certified electrician take a look at your wiring to make sure everything is intact. Mr. Electric of Fort Worth has certified electrician qualified to handle this job.

Halogen Light Bulbs Are Sensitive

There are several types of light bulbs including incandescent, compact florescent, halogen, and light emitting diode. Halogen light bulbs are known to explode because they are hotter than other light bulbs. Further, they are sensitive to oil which causes a temperature difference. This is why you should be careful about using halogen light bulbs in the kitchen where cooking oil can splash onto the bulbs. Also, don’t touch halogen light bulbs when installing them. Use a paper towel or cloth gloves to prevent oil from getting onto the lightbulb.

Flying Filament

As you know, light bulbs are not everlasting. Over time, the filament burns, becoming weaker and weaker until it breaks and cuts the connection. In some rare cases, the filament can snap and fly towards the glass bulb. If this filament continues burning as it is attached to the glass, pressure can build up and cause the bulb to explode.

Reach Out to A Certified Electrician

Electricity is a volatile element and light bulb explosions can be frightening experiences. If you experienced such a situation, we hope you are safe and urge you to be careful with the cleanup and remnants. If you would like to have an electrician evaluate and assess the situation, call Mr. Electric of Fort Worth. We are proud to be available 24/7 to take your call.