Why Do Light Bulbs Explode

Why Do Light Bulbs Explode? – Here Are The Answers

Have you noticed that light bulbs seem to blow at the worst times? It might be when your reading a good book or when you are on the computer and boom out go the lights.

Lightbulbs that exploded can be such an inconvenience, but it is quite easy to just exchange them.

Let’s take a look at some common reasons why light bulbs can explode.

Why Do Light Bulbs Explode?

Light bulbs can explode for many reasons, some more serious than others. If you have a loose connection within the socket or a lack of insulation for the base of the light, you might see them exploding often. Another common reason for exploding bulbs is using the wrong wattage. Most lamps cannot handle higher wattage than 40W. Oil from your hands can also cause your bulbs to explode, which is why you should always handle bulbs with gloves to ensure you don’t transfer dirt and debris onto the glass.

Having A Lack Of Insulation Within The Bulb Base

Sometimes there might not have been enough insulation used within the light bulb base. A lack of insulation can cause the base to actually melt.

When this happens, the gas that is kept inside the bulb can escape. The gas that leaks can create an imbalance of pressure which will cause the bulb to explode.

Loose Connection In The Socket

A loose connection can make the electrical current jump around instead of just flowing through the bulb as it is supposed to do.

When this happens, the fitting can overheat, and the bulb can explode. This is an easy fix of just tightening the bulb until it feels nice and secure in the socket.

The Wrong Bulb Wattage

Not many people are aware that light fixtures are supposed to operate with the right wattage ratings.

If you are using a bulb that is over the bulb limit of the fixture, then this will cause overheating, which will result in an exploded light bulb.

On the label of your fixture or the owner’s manual, you should find the right bulb wattage to use. If you cannot find this, you can seek advice from a professional electrician.

Oil And Debris Transferred

Another reason for exploding bulbs that people are not aware of is oil and debris being transferred off your hands onto the bulb.

Halogen bulbs are more sensitive to skin oils and work by the oil heating up on the bulb, which creates a hot spot on the bulbs.

As the heat continues to grow, cracks are created, which causes the gas to escape from the bulb.

After a while, the gas leaks, which can cause the bulb to explode. If you happen to notice cracks on your bulb, you will want to switch them over as soon as possible.

Changing Over A Light Bulb that Has Exploded

If you find a light bulb has exploded in the socket, you need to first cut off the power to the source, which will help you to avoid getting an electrical shot.

Just turning off the switch sometimes just isn’t enough, so turning the whole power off while changing the bulb over is the best option.

Remember to take caution as you are dealing with broken glass that can cut very easily, so ensure you wear a glove while changing the broken bulb over.

A Simple Hack, Changing A Bulb Over With A Raw Potato

Did you know that you can use a raw potato to remove the broken light bulb? First, put on your eye protection and gloves and ensure the power is off. Now grab a raw potato and cut it in half.

You can press it firmly against the socket and start to twist in the direction counterclockwise. The potato will grip the bulb base and pull It out safely. Once it is out, you can then throw away the bulb and potato safely.

Using A Broken Bulb Extractor

If you want to remove the broken bulb the official way, you can purchase a broken bulb extractor.

This little gadget will do the job safely and can be reused again. To use the extractor you need to cut off the power and put your safety goggles and gloves on.

Now you just need to insert the extractor into the bulb base and get a good grip on the handle, which will expand the tip and turn it anti-clockwise.

Light Bulb Safety Measures

To help avoid damage being done to your bulbs, ensure that you keep them away from moisture and humidity.

If you need a light for a high humidity area or for somewhere outside, it is best to buy a specific bulb for this use.


We all love a good bargain. With light bulbs, it is best not to buy the cheap ones; instead, go for high-quality ones that may carry a more expensive price tag.

When you do suffer an exploding light bulb, wait for the glass to cool down before you go and pick it up. Make sure you clean well afterward, as glass that shatters can travel a good distance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Why Bulbs Explode

Can An Exploding Light bulb Start A Fire?

The incandescent bulb types can cause a fire, but the risk is very low. The bulbs that are located in an enclosed fixture are at high risk of exploding and causing a fire as the heat cannot be dissipated well. Bulbs that are sitting inside a glass scone are also prone to causing a fire.

Do I Need To Turn Off Electricity To Change The Light Bulb?

It is best to turn the power off to be safe. Once you have changed the bulb, you can then turn the power on again.

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