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Light bulbs burn out too fast



 
 
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  #1  
Old October 19th 11, 02:01 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 267
Default Light bulbs burn out too fast

This apartment has strange problems. Incandescent bulbs burn out too
fast, usually when a switch is turned on. I monitored line voltage with
a plug-in meter that displays voltages in the range of 90 to 130. The
needle stays pointing in the green zone (110 to 125 volts). I don't live
there, but I left the meter there and the renter says it stays in the
green zone.

Aside from that problem, the kitchen has a ceiling fan with three light
bulbs (standard base). The bulb in one position burns out, again when
power is switched on, much more often than the other two.

I've tried using bulbs rated at 130V. Seem to give better life, but
there is still a definite problem that I can't blame on simple high
voltage. There is no flicker that could indicate that the bulb isn't
fully screwed into the socket.

This is an "illegal" apartment, which means that there can be many code
violations.

Thanks for you suggestions/comments.

R1
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  #2  
Old October 19th 11, 02:34 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 3,241
Default Light bulbs burn out too fast

On Oct 18, 8:01*pm, Rebel1 wrote:
This apartment has strange problems. Incandescent bulbs burn out too
fast, usually when a switch is turned on. I monitored line voltage with
a plug-in meter that displays voltages in the range of 90 to 130. The
needle stays pointing in the green zone (110 to 125 volts). I don't live
there, but I left the meter there and the renter says it stays in the
green zone.

Aside from that problem, the kitchen has a ceiling fan with three light
bulbs (standard base). The bulb in one position burns out, again when
power is switched on, much more often than the other two.

I've tried using bulbs rated at 130V. Seem to give better life, but
there is still a definite problem that I can't blame on simple high
voltage. There is no flicker that could indicate that the bulb isn't
fully screwed into the socket.

This is an "illegal" apartment, which means that there can be many code
violations.

Thanks for you suggestions/comments.

R1


You don't say if the "meter" is an analog meter with a needle/pointer
or an electronic meter that displays line voltage with a digital
readout. A short sudden burst of high voltage, just for one or two
cycles, 30 milliseconds or so, might be happeneing on a semi-regular
basis without being visible, but would strain the bulbs.

A check of the voltage when a heavy user of electricity is plugged in,
such as an electric iron turned to the highest heat, should indicate
if there is a general distribution problem, plug the iron in to
outlets on the same phase and on the other phase of the 230V lines
coming into the unit, and tell us what you find.
  #3  
Old October 19th 11, 03:07 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 5,914
Default Light bulbs burn out too fast

On Tue, 18 Oct 2011 21:01:51 -0400, Rebel1
wrote:

This apartment has strange problems. Incandescent bulbs burn out too
fast, usually when a switch is turned on. I monitored line voltage with
a plug-in meter that displays voltages in the range of 90 to 130. The
needle stays pointing in the green zone (110 to 125 volts). I don't live
there, but I left the meter there and the renter says it stays in the
green zone.



Two things you need. First is an accurate meter. The other is the
recording at various hours.

I had a similar problem and checked voltage. It seems that at about 6
AM, it would spike 130 to 140, then settle down to 120. Once call to
the power company solved the problem. They were increasing power in
the morning for industry coming on line, but our feed was going too
high.

I'd also check for proper grounding.
  #4  
Old October 19th 11, 03:12 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 586
Default Light bulbs burn out too fast

On Oct 18, 9:01*pm, Rebel1 wrote:
This apartment has strange problems. Incandescent bulbs burn out too
fast, usually when a switch is turned on. I monitored line voltage with


Yes. Light bulbs always burn out when the switch is turned on. That
is when the stress on a filament is the highest.

I have not seen a case where voltage swings caused incandescent bulbs
to burn out. Not saying there couldn't be, but I haven't run into it.

What I've seen cause it was mainly two things: screwing the bulb in
too hard, and vibration.

If you screw the bulb in too tight, you flatten the contact at the
bottom and then you have to always screw the bulbs in too tight. The
connection between base and bulb is easily compromised. Bulbs should
be inserted with the power on, and tightened ONLY 1/8 turn past
contact. If the contact is flattened, bend it out (with the power
OFF).



  #5  
Old October 19th 11, 03:18 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 5,049
Default Light bulbs burn out too fast



Rebel1 wrote:
This apartment has strange problems. Incandescent bulbs burn out too
fast, usually when a switch is turned on. I monitored line voltage with
a plug-in meter that displays voltages in the range of 90 to 130. The
needle stays pointing in the green zone (110 to 125 volts). I don't live
there, but I left the meter there and the renter says it stays in the
green zone.

Aside from that problem, the kitchen has a ceiling fan with three light
bulbs (standard base). The bulb in one position burns out, again when
power is switched on, much more often than the other two.

I've tried using bulbs rated at 130V. Seem to give better life, but
there is still a definite problem that I can't blame on simple high
voltage. There is no flicker that could indicate that the bulb isn't
fully screwed into the socket.

This is an "illegal" apartment, which means that there can be many code
violations.

Thanks for you suggestions/comments.

R1

Hmmm,
Is it an old building? Aluminum wiring? There could be many loose
connections throughout the building from main power entry point and
on.
  #6  
Old October 19th 11, 03:33 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 10,563
Default Light bulbs burn out too fast

I was thinking floating neutral. In any case, a call to the
power company might bring some helpers with equipment and
experience.

--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
www.lds.org
..


"Ed Pawlowski" wrote in message
...

Two things you need. First is an accurate meter. The other
is the
recording at various hours.

I had a similar problem and checked voltage. It seems that
at about 6
AM, it would spike 130 to 140, then settle down to 120.
Once call to
the power company solved the problem. They were increasing
power in
the morning for industry coming on line, but our feed was
going too
high.

I'd also check for proper grounding.


  #7  
Old October 19th 11, 05:10 AM posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 267
Default Light bulbs burn out too fast

On 10/18/2011 9:34 PM, hr(bob) wrote:
On Oct 18, 8:01 pm, wrote:
This apartment has strange problems. Incandescent bulbs burn out too
fast, usually when a switch is turned on. I monitored line voltage with
a plug-in meter that displays voltages in the range of 90 to 130. The
needle stays pointing in the green zone (110 to 125 volts). I don't live
there, but I left the meter there and the renter says it stays in the
green zone.

Aside from that problem, the kitchen has a ceiling fan with three light
bulbs (standard base). The bulb in one position burns out, again when
power is switched on, much more often than the other two.

I've tried using bulbs rated at 130V. Seem to give better life, but
there is still a definite problem that I can't blame on simple high
voltage. There is no flicker that could indicate that the bulb isn't
fully screwed into the socket.

This is an "illegal" apartment, which means that there can be many code
violations.

Thanks for you suggestions/comments.

R1


You don't say if the "meter" is an analog meter with a needle/pointer
or an electronic meter that displays line voltage with a digital
readout. A short sudden burst of high voltage, just for one or two
cycles, 30 milliseconds or so, might be happeneing on a semi-regular
basis without being visible, but would strain the bulbs.


This is the meter.
http://www.lightinguniverse.com/addi...linkLoc=access

Clearly, it will miss short spikes. (BTW, I only paid about $20 for it.)


A check of the voltage when a heavy user of electricity is plugged in,
such as an electric iron turned to the highest heat, should indicate
if there is a general distribution problem, plug the iron in to
outlets on the same phase and on the other phase of the 230V lines
coming into the unit, and tell us what you find.


I won't be back in the apartment until the weekend. I don't know if I
can access the circuit breakers to get at the other phase. They may not
even be located in her apartment. As I said, these are illegal units in
the sense that they don't have permits and inspections, and I don't know
how knowledgeable the workers were.

R1



  #8  
Old October 19th 11, 05:11 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 267
Default Light bulbs burn out too fast

On 10/18/2011 10:12 PM, TimR wrote:
On Oct 18, 9:01 pm, wrote:
This apartment has strange problems. Incandescent bulbs burn out too
fast, usually when a switch is turned on. I monitored line voltage with


Yes. Light bulbs always burn out when the switch is turned on. That
is when the stress on a filament is the highest.

I have not seen a case where voltage swings caused incandescent bulbs
to burn out. Not saying there couldn't be, but I haven't run into it.

What I've seen cause it was mainly two things: screwing the bulb in
too hard, and vibration.

If you screw the bulb in too tight, you flatten the contact at the
bottom and then you have to always screw the bulbs in too tight. The
connection between base and bulb is easily compromised. Bulbs should
be inserted with the power on, and tightened ONLY 1/8 turn past
contact. If the contact is flattened, bend it out (with the power
OFF).


Thanks for the good tip.

  #9  
Old October 19th 11, 05:13 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 267
Default Light bulbs burn out too fast

On 10/18/2011 10:33 PM, Stormin Mormon wrote:
I was thinking floating neutral. In any case, a call to the
power company might bring some helpers with equipment and
experience.

As I recall, I did test the duplex outlets with one of those three-
light testers that detects reversed hot and neutral, as well a missing
grounds. Everything okay.
  #10  
Old October 19th 11, 05:16 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 267
Default Light bulbs burn out too fast

On 10/18/2011 10:18 PM, Tony Hwang wrote:

Is it an old building? Aluminum wiring? There could be many loose
connections throughout the building from main power entry point and
on.


The work for this apartment unit was done within the last 10 years or
so, so not likely to be aluminum wiring. There may be aluminum in the
older parts of the building. I'll check this Saturday or Sunday. Thanks.
 




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