Light bulbs aren’t perfect. While it’s true that most just “go bad” one day after you’ve used them for a long time, they can do something much worse.
Here you’ll learn more about I mean plus why it can happen – and more helpful details, too.
Do light bulbs explode?
Any type of bulb could explode and there are multiple reasons that this could happen. In some cases it can be down to a lack of insulation at the base of the bulb. This means that there may be a chance that the manufacturers of said light bulb did not use enough insulation at the base of the bulb.
A lack of insulation at the base of a bulb will then cause the metal base to melt and the gas inside the bulb then leaks out which causes a pressure imbalance, and thus the bulb explodes.
There could also be a loose connection in the socket. A loose connection will cause the electricity to jump across the contact instead of flowing through it like it should. This can lead to the fitting becoming overheated which then causes the bulb to blow to explode.
There’s a simple solution to this problem – you should just tighten up light bulbs in their sockets, so they’re nice and snug.
Other basics to know
Light fixtures are designed to operate with certain types of light bulbs due to particular wattage ratings. If a bulb exceeds the fixtures’ wattage limit then the fixture can overheat which will make the bulb at risk of a possible explosion.
Check the side of the fixture to see what the recommended light bulb wattage is. If it is not there, contact the manufacturer to find out, or use a bulb with a super low wattage rating.
Finally, oil from your hands can also cause explosions in some bulb types- specifically halogen bulbs. You may not think of your skin as being oily, but to a halogen bulb, it is in fact. Skin oil is a bad thing for halogen bulbs and can cause an explosion due to hot spots on the glass.
If a halogen bulb is switched on and the oil on the surface heats up, cracks will appear, gas will leak out, and you can end up with an exploding bulb.
What are the reasons other light bulbs explode?
The most common cause of light bulbs exploding is when the manufacturers of the light bulb do not put enough insulation at the base of the bulb. This will then cause the base to melt and the gas that is stored inside the light bulb leaks out.
When this happens the pressure difference makes the light bulb explode. There are plenty of other reasons why a light bulb may explode though.
Faulty manufacturing and wiring is also a possible culprit for exploding light bulbs. Similarly, if an incandescent bulb does not have a high-quality seal, condensation can occur inside the bulb and this will also cause an explosion.
Not all bulbs will explode though. For example, LED bulbs are very loved nowadays, this is because they are known for not being big on explosions. Halogen light bulbs, on the other hand, are the most common bulb type to explode.
Not only are they hotter than incandescent light bulbs, but if there is any form of oil on the bulb then this is most likely why the bulb exploded. When you install or change halogen light bulbs, never touch them with your bare hands.
You should wear gloves, or use a cloth or paper towels. This prevents oil from getting onto the bulb, and as clean as you think you are, human skin is always releasing oils.
Can LED light bulbs explode?
Any light bulb will degrade over time, this includes LED bulbs, but this doesn’t mean that catastrophic failures can’t happen. They do happen, even with LED bulbs. It is very, very unlikely that LED bulbs will explode.
But, in very rare cases thermal and electrical stress can be caused by voltage surges, faulty capacitors, or poor heat management, which can then lead to LED bulbs exploding.
Bulbs such as incandescent bulbs, fluorescent bulbs, and halogen bulbs explode more often when they get too hot. These bulbs emit light via a filament held inside a glass vacuum. Excess heat will cause the sealant to melt around the base of the bulb which allows the gas to leak out and causes an explosion.
This isn’t something that happens with LEDs though. LED bulbs emit light through a semiconductor, instead, LEDs would explode in extremely rare cases due to electrical and thermal stress.
On average, an LED bulb only required 2 to 4 volts of electricity to function. This can be pretty problematic since the average household wall outlet is about 120 volts. In order to counteract this, LEDs require a capacitor that drops the mains voltage down.
This is a huge task which means that capacitors get stressed. If there is an electrical surge then the capacitor may accidentally let the full current through to the LED, and in this scenario, regardless of how long this exposure is present, the LED bulb will then explode.
It is very unlikely that an LED bulb will explode, much less likely in comparison to other bulbs, however, this doesn’t mean it can’t and will not happen.
What happens if a light bulb explodes?
If a bulb explodes in your home, you need to first of all make sure the power is turned off. You do not need any power going into a shattered bulb.
You should also clean up. Some bulbs are more prone to shattering than others, incandescent bulbs are big culprits of shattering into a million pieces when they explode, whereas LEDs are more likely to break into a few easier to clean pieces.
You need to turn off the power and wait for it to cool down, while you wait to clean up, you do not want to be stepping on bits of a broken bulb especially if you have kids or pets in your home.
Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the pieces, use damp towels or wet wipes, and if you can’t find any fragments use tape to find them, duct tape is a good option. And in the future ensure you choose good quality bulbs, the better the quality, the less likely they are to explode.