East-West Electric, Inc

Why Did My Light Bulb Explode and What Are Its Causes?

a light bulb exploding against a darkbackground. There is a blue hue from the lightbulb.

Why Did My Light Bulb Explode and What Are Its Causes?

There are multiple reasons for a light bulb to explode. To find the solution to this problem, you have to understand the basics. As simple as lightbulbs are on the surface, their actual mechanics are quite vast. 

Do Light Bulbs Explode?

Yes, but not in the dramatic fashion you’d see in film or television shows. A light bulb exploded gives off more of an interior ‘boom’ without its glasses shattering into a million pieces. This should be a relief for anyone with a light bulb in carpeted areas. Sharp glass of any size is dangerous, especially when you have pets or children in the area.

At this point in the light bulb industry, incandescent lighting is the dinosaur of lighting. When people talk about light bulbs exploding dangerously, they are usually referring to the traditional incandescent lighting and all of its flaws. This isn’t something you can fix with glue but is instead a con that has lived with traditional light bulbs from the beginning. 

Reasons Why Your Light Bulb Exploded

Out of the multiple reasons a light bulb suddenly exploded, there are a few common situations. This doesn’t mean the answer will be below, but it does point to some of the biggest frustrations with traditional lighting. Some of it is user error, while the others are rooted in the original design.

Lack of insulation – There is an explosion risk when the base of the bulb lacks insulation. The result of this problem is a pressure imbalance as the parts slowly degrade. This is a design flaw and is firmly on the manufacturer of the bulb. 

Loose socket connections – A loose connection creates the likelihood of electricity overheating the bulb to the point the light bulb exploded in the socket. Since it can’t make firm contact, the flow becomes erratic. This is a user error that happens when you don’t tighten the bulb enough. 

Mismatched bulb wattage – Wattage is important when installing a light bulb. A bulb fitting into a socket does not mean it was meant for that particular unit. The light bulb needs to match the supported wattage of the unit. When light bulbs explode from this error, it is on the user. Using a low-wattage bulb as a guesstimate is also not an option since you can damage the actual unit in use. 

Excessive fixer vibration – Vibration in or around the unit will cause flickering. Ignoring the flickering will only lead to damage to both the unit and the light bulb. This is a user error that is common when bulbs are used in older units. 

Oily hands – A common misconception about oily hands is the type of oil that causes damage. It’s obvious any type of oil is bad, but the point being missed is how much natural body oil causes issues. This is a user error that can be avoided by wearing gloves when handling light bulbs.  

Can LED Light Bulbs Explode

Yes, but it is considered a rarity. An LED light bulb exploding is like seeing multiple rainbows in the same place after a thunderstorm. A catastrophic failure for a traditional light bulb is more of a ‘boom’ while its sister LED is a ‘pop’. It’s a small difference that has a lot to do with how LEDs handle the extra stress. The included capacitor in LED bulbs handles volts in a single file lane. Since a traditional bulb is free for all highways, the stress from it overloading is sudden and causes the quick explosion they are known for. 

What Happens if Your Light Bulb Exploded?

When a light bulb explodes, do not attempt to remove it with your hand. The leftover glass is sharp, and there is a chance of electrocution. Clean up the area where the explosion happened so that there are no hazards when changing the bulb. Turn off the power from the breaker, and use gloves to carefully remove the broken bulb from its socket. Doing it in this order will ensure that the broken bulb is cooled off by the time you attempt to take it down. As a final thought, continue to clean the room multiple times throughout the week. It’s easy to miss glass shards, and it only takes one to cause a serious injury.

 

Call a Qualified Electrician in Pinellas County

Light bulbs exploding could also be a sign of a dangerous electrical problem in your home or business property. This might be the right time to call an electrician to inspect your property and make sure everything is safe and functioning. You can call our office and speak to a qualified electrician if you think there might be an underlying electrical problem. Call now at (727) 771-9403.