Increasing the Lifespan of a Light Bulb?

Can you save a light bulb from going out?

By sbobo from Tacoma, WA


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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
August 29, 20110 found this helpful

Well, you can't prevent them from never burning out but one of the ways to help extend the life of a bulb (especially the soon to be required CFL's that are so expensive) is to not switch them on and off within a really short period of time often during any given day because doing that actually shortens the life of a bulb.

How many times do we go to a room, flip the switch on to see and grab an item or do something really quickly and then flip the switch off right away?


For example, in a room like the bathroom where people go in and out alot but only have the switch on for a minute or two? I have an energy efficient sensor nightlight in my bathroom and kitchen and only turn the main lights on when absolutely neccessary and using those saves money on constantly having to replace regular bulbs and they do not pull alot of power.

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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 278 Feedbacks
August 29, 20110 found this helpful

Yes, but you have to leave it on all the time. The filament usually snaps when you turn it on and off. Keeping a light on wastes energy and the cost of the bulb is not worth it.Better to buy those new funny looking bulbs that last anywhere from 3 to nine years.


They do cost more up front but in the long run are worth it. I just threw one of those blubs out from my bedroom and I use that light everyday. It lasted beweent 6 to 7 years and they cost less to use too.

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August 29, 20110 found this helpful

I don't know how to expand the life of a light bulb (except the obvious of not using it, but then does it really have a life? :) And of course don't swing a broom around the ceiling fan and don't play ball in the house.

But I do want to share my experience with the old vs. new bulbs.

I had an old, 100 year old house. Let's just say electric wasn't up to par. My bathroom light bulbs went out at least once a month when I used the old bulbs. The new style bulbs went on sale, I grit my teeth and bought some, and they lasted for months! In fact, maybe a year, it never died, I moved out.


I've since been using the new bulbs whenever I can. I don't know if any of them have ever died out, my kids usually break them. But they are definitely worth the extra cost (if you buy the cheap ones at Walmart).

I am a cheap, cheap person. I've lived below poverty most of my life (raising six kids as a single parent). I was a diehard "I'm not paying more than $1 for four light bulbs cause they break so much" kinda person. But these new light bulbs are worth it because they last so long. Definitely give it a try.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
August 30, 20110 found this helpful

Need to add here to please not throw those CFL bulbs in the trash can because they contain mercury. Call your local city trash collection and find out where the collection center for them is. Last I heard Home Depot will take them for proper disposal too.


Please read this information from the Environmental Protection Agency on proper cleanup and disposal:

Before cleanup
Have people and pets leave the room.
Air out the room for 5-10 minutes by opening a window or door to the outdoor environment.
Shut off the central forced air heating/air-conditioning system, if you have one.

Collect materials needed to clean up broken bulb:
stiff paper or cardboard;
sticky tape;
damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes (for hard surfaces); and
a glass jar with a metal lid or a seal-able plastic bag.

During cleanup
Be thorough in collecting broken glass and visible powder.
Place cleanup materials in a seal-able container.
After cleanup

Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of properly. Avoid leaving any bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors.


If practical, continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the heating/air conditioning system shut off for several hours.

Actions You Can Take to Prevent Broken Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Always switch off and allow a working CFL bulb to cool before handling.
Always handle CFL bulbs carefully to avoid breakage.
If possible, screw/unscrew the CFL by holding the plastic or ceramic base, not the glass tubing.
Gently screw in the CFL until snug. Do not over-tighten.
Never forcefully twist the glass tubing.

Do not install CFLs in table lamps and floor lamps that can be easily knocked over, in unprotected light fixtures, or in lamps that are incompatible with the spiral or folded shape of many CFLs.
Do not use CFL bulbs in locations where they can easily be broken, such as play spaces.
Use CFL bulbs that have a glass or plastic cover over the spiral or folded glass tube, if available. These types of bulbs look more like incandescent bulbs and may be more durable if dropped.

Consider using a drop cloth (e.g., plastic sheet or beach towel) when changing a fluorescent light bulb in case a breakage should occur. The drop cloth will help prevent mercury contamination of nearby surfaces and can be bundled with the bulb debris for disposal.

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