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Light bulbs keep frying out

We actually live in a relatively new house (2005) that we are renting. Since we moved in a couple of months ago, we've had to replace all of the light bulbs in the house, and many 3 times. We've been replacing with energy efficient bulbs when we can. We don't run much in the way of electronics, just a standard coffee maker and a DVD player is plugged in downstairs. Plus the occasional laptop. Most of the time all the lights are turned off during the day and the TV is not on.

Now the light in the upstairs bathroom has gone out, not the fan, which is on the same switch, just the light. I've tested light bulbs to make sure they are 'live' but they don't work in that outlet.

Thoughts? We have small kids and are worried about fire hazard, and our landlord has found any reason to charge us for any repair, they find us at fault for many things that I would consider wear-and-tear. So we feel like we are in a bind for getting this addressed.

Re: Light bulbs keep frying out

If you're using CFLs, what wattage are they and are they on dimmer switches? If you use dimmers (even if you just leave them all the way up) you're messing with the ballast in the light bulb and it can burn it out. There are dimmable ones - read the packages. The wattage recommendation for CFLs is the equivalent of the maximum rated for the socket, no more. If your socket is 100 watts and you put in a higher equivalent (on the package) CFL, you're creating too much heat at the base of the light bulb and they can blow. CFLs are a great bulb, but they cannot be used the way a traditional light bulb can, unless specified for that application, as well with the newer LED bulbs.

Re: Light bulbs keep frying out

Bulbs made outside the USA aren't as good as ours. Check the label carefully.

Re: Light bulbs keep frying out

We have not dimmers, so that is not an issue.

I mentioned the energy efficient bulbs to show that we don't have a large electric load. But we do make sure that there is the appropriate wattage for the outlet, we typically use the equivalent to 65w or 75w.

Do cheap bulbs from China last only 2 weeks? Because that' what's happening.

Re: Light bulbs keep frying out

Try regular incandescent and see if they last any longer. the usual culprit is vibration. Are you near a train or highway?

Re: Light bulbs keep frying out

You may have too high a voltage entering your home (wrong tap selected on a transformer) or a defective neutral conection, where they connect to your house. Both are the responsibility of your power company and they will investigate and correct those problems for free. You can make the call.

High voltage will fry a CFL lamp (and most electronics) very quickly, especially if it's over 130 volts.

If the power company doesn't find a problem inform your landlord you intend to call an electrician (and bill them) or they can call the one they like to use.

The problem you described is un-acceptable and is not only a safety issue but is considered "effective eviction" which voids your lease.

The defective outlet/light in the bathroom could actually be the source of the problem, if that circuit is a multi-wire branch circuit (MWBC) and the neutral connection is loose.

Re: Light bulbs keep frying out

Do what HoustonRemodeler and SemiRetiredElectric say first, but let me talk about your landlord and your lease:

Unless you did some modifications and fiddled with the electrical, the house electrical system is the landlord's to fix.
It is his duty to provide you with a home which is free of electrical hazards or your lease is void. No landlord-tenant judge in the USA will side with the landlord, if the electrical system was faulty when you moved in. If you select to move out, you will get your security deposit back (if you did nothing wrong).

Re: Light bulbs keep frying out

I also agree with semi-retired. If you know anyone who owns a multimeter, as them over to check your voltage at the electrical outlets in your house. It could very well be that the problem is with the transformer outside your house, either the wrong tap or maybe even the wrong or defective transformer.

If you live in a city, sometimes the transformers don't even have a tap changer on them and if you live close to the power substation, you can have a voltage that is too high. It is worth looking into. BTW, unless you live in a rural area, transformers are usually shared among several houses so you might check with your neighbors to see if any of them are having the same problem.

Sometime the lamp or light fixture can be unfriendly to CFLs. I know in my kitchen, the current fixture will eat a CFL in very short order, two weeks even. I can only use incandescent bulbs in it, but I use CFL's everywhere else around the house without any issues.

CFL's also will not last very long if they are being switched on and off a lot. For that, the LED's are the best, but they are still a little pricy yet. Maybe in a couple of years, the cost will be down to a reasonable level.

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