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What Causes a Light Bulb to Explode [Explained]

Light bulbs always seem to explode at the worst possible times. Light bulbs that have exploded are an annoyance. Broken bulbs can’t be fixed. 

What causes a light bulb to explode?

An inadequately insulated bulb base is what mostly causes light bulb explosions. As a result, the base melts, allowing the gas trapped in the light bulb to flow out. The leaking gas creates a pressure difference. This causes the light bulb to explode. A light bulb might potentially blow up due to poor manufacturing or wiring too. 

Indeed, you’re still unsure about what to do about this issue! I’ve sorted everything out for you to make things easier to understand.

I’ve also added some more reasons behind the explosion and some solutions along with safety tips. 

Let’s begin!

What Are the Reasons Behind a Light Bulb Explosion?

You must act promptly and cautiously in the event of an exploding light bulb. To further understand this terrifying occurrence, let’s examine some of the most typical causes-

Reason-1: If the Bulb’s Base Is Not Properly Insulated

To keep them safe, light bulb bases are insulated. Inadequate protection of bulb bases is a possibility with some light bulbs. While lighting, the metal screw base can melt due to a lack of insulation in the socket. 

Base melting can allow gas to flow out of bulbs, lowering their pressure. This decrease in pressure generates an imbalance in the pressure bulb. As a result, it explodes.

Reason-2: If the Socket Connection Is Broken

To use a light bulb, you must have a suitable socket for the bulb’s base. A bulb with a loose connection could explode if the screws aren’t tight enough. An energy jump from the socket to the bulb occurs when links are slack. 

This sudden surge in power can be dangerous. This causes the bulb to explode and overheats the fitting. 

This can be avoided if you are using the correct bulb for the socket. The problem should be solved if you use the right wattage bulb.

Reason-3: If the Bulb Is with an Incorrect or Incompatible Wattage

The manufacturer determines the wattage of the light bulbs that can be used in a particular fixture. A device’s wattage rating tells you how much power it can safely take.

To avoid overheating, make sure that the wattage rating does not exceed that of the fixture. As previously stated, overheating a light bulb might cause it to explode. 

To ignore light bulb bursts, check the wattage on the side of the socket. It is possible to contact the manufacturer if you cannot locate it. Use the light bulb with the lowest wattage if you’re still unsure.

Reason-4: If There’s a Sudden Power Surge in Electricity

Another reason for exploding light bulbs is a power surge. An electrical circuit surge is a sudden rise in the voltage that flows through it. 

There is a limit to the amount of electricity that our electrical gadgets can handle, such as light bulbs. As a result, the equipment is overwhelmed with electricity when a power surge occurs.

Electrical surges cause halogen and incandescent lights to combust or explode. With the heat of electricity flowing through them, these bulbs emit a glow. 

In the event of a sudden spike in the power supply, the filament may become overheated. The bulb can then explode if the filament burns out and snaps. 

One of the most prevalent causes of light bulb explosions is a flying filament that darts into the glass.

Reason-5: If You Touch The Bulb With Oily Hands

As it turns out, light bulbs can explode because of the oils on our skin. Handling a bulb might leave leftover oils that can build up and cause a fire.

Halogen and incandescent lights generate a lot of heat to provide light. Thus, this is the situation. 

A very high temperature is required to interact with the oil residue left on the light bulb. Burning the oils can weaken the bulb’s structure and cause it to burst. 

Wearing gloves when handling light bulbs is the best method to prevent this.

Reason-6: If There Are Faulty Components

Like all of our other mass-produced goods, a malfunctioning light bulb may be purchased. Sockets, filaments, electrics, and glass are commonly defective components. When a light bulb blows up, it can be challenging to determine which part was at fault. 

It’s preferable to get a replacement bulb in this situation. This can be avoided by inspecting the light bulbs you buy in-store. 

Inspect them once they’ve been taken out of the package for any flaws. Try to locate the bad bulb. It’s similar to that process of finding faulty bulbs in Christmas lights. This will protect you from the exploding item.

How to Remove a Broken Light Bulb? 

There’s no specific solution for an exploded bulb. Instead, you have to replace it. Let us take a look at the steps for dislodging an out-of-date bulb from its socket.

Tools Required

  • Gloves
  • Heat-melt adhesive tool
  • Pliers with fine-tipped needles
  • Voltage detector that does not require any physical contact to operate
  • A pair of goggles

Materials Required

  • 1/2″ x 6″ squared-off wood
  • Adhesive with a high melting point
  • A lubricant for the light bulb
  • Potato

Step-1: Check the Voltage

Put on solid gloves and eye protection if a bulb is stubborn. Use a non-contact voltage detector to check the base.

Even if you reside in a newer home, you should do this. When an electrical field is detected, the voltage detector will flash and make a sound. 

Negative voltage can occur while you’re going with the removing procedure. Do not forget to take additional measures.

Step-2: Scoop up the Broken Base with a Potato

Fear not about breaking the bulb. If the bulb won’t spin, the next step is purposely breaking it. 

Hammer the handle of a screwdriver against the bulb. Only the metal base of the bulb is left.

Unscrew the base by inserting pliers and turning with the jaws open. But a potato also works: round the end with a knife. 

Support the light fixture and insert a spud. The potato will tie up the glass fragments and dirt as you twist the bulb out.

Step-3: Use Needle-Nose Pliers to Remove the Broken Base

Remove the bulb with a pair of needle-nosed pliers. The bulb’s metal base can be turned by twisting the bulb’s base. But don’t damage the lamp’s metal screw-shell holder. 

Avert damage to the metal lamp holder. Bend the metal rim inward and twist out the bulb.

Step-4: Remove the Damaged Bulb

Take hot glue and a 1/2 x 1/2-in. A stick of wood will help a recalcitrant bulb base. Stick a big dab of hot glue into the damaged bulb’s base. 

If the adhesive doesn’t fill the bottom, add more glue. After 5 minutes, turn the stick to screw out the ground.

Step-5: Prevent the Stuck Bulb

Save yourself future problems by lubricating the new bulb. Coat the replacement bulb’s threads with a bulb-specific lubricant. The coating prevents corrosion and facilitates removal.

The outdated bulb may be swapped out with a new one once you’ve followed these simple instructions. Don’t know which lubricant to use. No problem! 

You may be considering purchasing a high-quality lubricant. Just how you’d want top-notch wood basement stairs for home renovation. Keeping that in mind, I’ve some recommended lubricants for you-

Product 1
Product 2

And with that, it brings our conversation to a close for the time being.


Question: Is it okay to leave a light bulb unplugged?

Answer: There is a danger in leaving light bulb sockets unoccupied. Electrocution and fire hazards are posed by their high voltage. That can cause significant electrocution injuries. In the odd event that a piece of debris falls into the socket, it could create a fire, but this is relatively uncommon.

Question: Is it possible to get mercury poisoning from a single broken CFL bulb?

Answer: Mercury is present in some thermometers and light bulbs, albeit in low concentrations. Aside from these precautions, it would help if you did not come into direct touch with mercury.

Question: Breathing in a broken fluorescent bulb can lead to health issues?

Answer: Mercury can be inhaled and ingested by people in rooms where a CFL has been broken. The lungs absorb more than 80% of the Hg0 vapor inhaled after inhalation. The absorption of ingested Hg0 in the gastrointestinal tract is relatively weak (less than 0.01 percent).

Bottom Line

That was my explanation of what causes a light bulb to explode. A light bulb can explode at any time, and you should know what to do.

Good luck fixing the issue and preventing it in the future!