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What Causes A Light Bulb To Explode

By February 14, 2022Electrical
exploding light bulb

Let’s just say that you come home from a day of shopping and the sun has already gone down. You are using your cell phone light to search for your keys while you wonder what happened to your lights out in the front of your home. Once you make your way inside the home, turn the interior lights on, you return to the front porch to see what’s going on with the lights. Low and behold the bulbs have exploded. What causes a light bulb to explode? If not enough insulation is put into the bulb by the manufacturer, it can heat up and explode.

Let’s take a look below at what causes light bulbs to explode?

LED light vs. regular light.

Do All Bulbs Explode

Not all light bulbs are exploders. LED lights are great insulators and rarely if ever explode. Let’s take a look at the causes for a light bulb to explode.

  • Poor Insulation-manufacturers that do not put enough insulation at the base of the bulb create the greatest chance of a bulb exploding. Cheaply made light bulbs are created so that you are forced to keep buying them. The more a bulb explodes the more you have to invest in new ones. Your best bet is investing in LED bulbs at this time.
  • Loose Connections-often times there can be a loose connection between the bulb and the fixture socket. If the bulb has a loose connection, the electrical current can hop from the metal contact instead of flowing through it. This could cause overheating and the bulb to explode. This is preventable by ensuring the bulb is screwed in properly.
  • Excessive Wattage-fixture designs and required wattage can be one of the biggest reasons for a bulb to explode. Keeping your limit in wattage down will allow the light fixture to not overheat. Making sure that your recommended fixture wattage aligns with the light bulbs wattage is key.
  • Oil-oil that is transferred from your hand to the light bulb can cause the bulb to crack and eventually explode. Oil residue can leave a hot spot on the bulb and when heated will crack. This allows gas to leak out from the bulbs interior and cause an explosion. Either wear a glove or wash your hands thoroughly prior to installing a new bulb.

How Much Does It Cost

Believe it or not, you could be causing your home’s electrical bill to be higher than it should be. This may be just by the light bulb you have chosen to install in your light fixtures. LED light bulbs are typically around $2.50 a bulb.

This seems high, however, they can save you a lot more over the span of usage. A traditional incandescent light bulb will cost you half as much at $1.25 on average. However, over time, can cost your electric bill to be much higher. Lastly, based on energy usage, an LED bulb cost around $1.83 per year for usage. On the other hand, an incandescent bulb can cost you $10.85 per year for usage.

While you are learning about what causes a light bulb to explode or blow, you should also be concerned about what types of light bulbs can cause a fire. One of the biggest misconceptions is whether or not a longer-lasting LED bulb can cause a fire. Make sure to read up on all of the electrical possibilities when it comes to illuminating your home.

Also, it is a great idea to go ahead and check out the amps and voltage on your refrigerator. Knowing your appliances and what their electrical requirements are is vital to the success of keeping your home from a fire starting. Read the manufacturer’s write-up on the amps for all of your appliances to ensure that they aren’t overloading the system with appliances, LED bulbs, or even smart bulbs.

Lastly, if you have installed smart LED bulbs, you will want to understand how they work. Knowing what it takes to reset the smart bulbs is important for your safety. You don’t want to come home to a dark place because the smart bulbs are acting up and not communicating properly with their applications or network.

Electrician checking out the light bulb.

When Do I Call A Professional

If you are having an exploding light bulb issue, it is more than likely a cause of the bulbs being incorrect types for light fixtures. Keep in mind that not all electrical systems are created equal. Older homes might have outdated fixtures and wiring that cannot keep up with newer technologies.

You should read up on the variety of light bulb types so that you can determine what makes sense for a specific light fixture in your home. If this is too confusing then you will want to call a professionally licensed electrician who understands wattage requirements and electrical load options on your breaker box.

Also, make sure that you contact your local home inspection team. They can look at your light fixtures and wiring in your home and recommend some great local professionally licensed electricians to complete your project needs.


Calling on a professionally licensed electrician can save you many headaches in this case. They will be able to check your light fixtures and wiring in the home. This will allow you to understand why your light bulbs might be exploding.

Additionally, before you purchase any replacement light bulbs, you need to know the wattage that is needed for each light fixture. This can affect whether or not the insulation of your light bulb is enough to keep it from exploding.

If you aren’t sure how old your electrical system is in the home, you can call on your local home inspection team. They can look into the wiring and fixtures that run throughout the home. Using the most current technology can typically keep your home more energy-efficient. This could save time and money with your electrical service.  Alpha building inspections conducts home inspections in Merrimack, New Hampshire, and surrounding areas.