The light bulb goes down in history as one of the best inventions ever.
Light is what helps us function when the sun is not out and shining.
In today’s world, there are many different types of light and sometimes too much light.
Light bulbs have come a long way from their early versions, and there are several different types of bulbs on the market now.
Anytime people see smoke coming from a lightbulb, they instantly think there is a fire hazard.
Although this can be the case, it is not always true.
Here is some information that will help you if you notice a light bulb smoking, regardless of what types of light bulbs you have in your home.
Why Is My Light Bulb Smoking?
CFL Light Bulb Reaching the End of Its Life
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs or CFLs are very energy-efficient lightbulbs that last much longer than an incandescent bulb.
The CFL uses, on average, about 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb.
The CFL bulb is more efficient and longer lasting, but it is also designed and built differently from the incandescent.
What you are used to with an incandescent bulb burning out may be a different experience with the CFL.
You will probably notice that your CFL bulb is starting to reach the end of its life because it will dim quite a bit.
You should then hear a pop without much warning and, most likely, a smell accompanied by a little bit of smoke.
Surprisingly enough, this is normal.
When a CFL bulb burns out, the reaction can scare some people because it seems as though something more is going to happen, and a fire could even start.
This is not the case, and in fact, the CFL bulb was designed to function like this at the end of its life.
Lightbulb is Wet
Many times, when water gets hot, it will create steam or smoke.
If your lightbulb is wet, you may notice that there is smoke coming from the top of it.
Most likely, this is steam and nothing more will come of it.
It is essential to keep an eye on this because it could mean that you have a leak somewhere in your home.
Some people have noticed this on a ceiling light fixture or fan and then found that there was a leak causing the light bulbs to get wet.
As you probably can understand, it is not a good idea to mix electricity and water.
If you find that your lightbulbs are smoking because they are wet, chances are you may be looking at having to change your entire light fixture soon.
This is a problem you will want to deal with as soon as you possibly can.
Start by drying the light bulbs while the light fixture has no power going to it.
Once you have everything dried off, monitor the situation to see if the lightbulbs get wet again.
The Lightbulb Is in an Enclosure but Not Rated for One
Some lamps or light fixtures will have you fully enclose a lightbulb.
Usually, there is a part that you remove, place the lightbulb inside, and then close things back up again.
Although these fixtures can look very nice, you have to be very careful which lightbulbs you use in them.
If you use a lightbulb that is not rated for an enclosure, chances are you could see some smoking.
Lightbulbs will get a little hot, especially when they are on for many hours at a time.
When this happens, you have to make sure the heat has somewhere to escape.
With a traditional lamp, the heat would just travel out and around and upwards from the lightbulb.
With these enclosed fixtures, that is just not the case.
Luckily, there are lightbulbs made especially for enclosed fixtures that will stay cooler and give off less heat.
These lightbulbs can also be used in situations where the lampshade you are using may be sensitive to heat or is highly flammable.
Voltage Is Incorrect
If you have never purchased lightbulbs before, you should research where you put the lightbulbs before you head to the store.
Each light fixture that you put a lightbulb into is rated for a certain wattage.
This is because the voltage coming into the lamp is converted, and the proper wattage of the lightbulb is going to help things function as they should.
When you put a lightbulb with the wrong wattage into a lamp or use a light fixture not rated for the voltage you are using, you could experience smoke.
When you go to buy lightbulbs, you will see so many different options that it can get a bit overwhelming.
Luckily, there should be information on the light fixture you are using about which lightbulbs to use and what voltage to use for the fixture.
This becomes especially important with outdoor lighting.
Sometimes your lightbulb could be smoking because you simply purchased a defective lightbulb or one that has an issue.
All lightbulbs go through various tests before they leave the factory, but this does not mean they are going to perfect.
When you choose a lightbulb in the store that you want to purchase, take a good look at it.
Make sure there are no broken pieces, and inspect to make sure it is not discolored in any way.
When you get home and unpackage the lightbulb completely, you will want to inspect the bulb.
This is important to make sure you avoid any potential issues, and you can also bring the lightbulb back to the store if you notice these issues.
When you first put a lightbulb into the fixture, make sure you monitor it for a few minutes.
If you don’t see any issues, that is a good sign, but if you notice smoking starting right away, there is very likely a problem, and you should remove that lightbulb immediately.
Unfortunately, not all problems with lightbulbs are going to start as soon as you plug them in.
You may not notice the smoking until the bulb gets really hot or until you run it for quite some time.
For this reason, and for many others, it makes sense to turn lights off when you leave home.
Most stores will take back faulty lightbulbs, or you can contact the original manufacturer and see if there is something they can do for you.
Wrong Transformer for an LED Light
With LED lightbulbs being so much more efficient, many people want to switch to them.
For some lights, this is as simple as putting in a new bulb, but for others, it is not.
LED lightbulbs do not use as much electricity as an incandescent lightbulb, so because of that, they need a different transformer to convert the energy.
If your light fixture is older and it does not have this type of transformer, the LED bulb can start smoking.
This will require you to do some extra electrical work to get the LED lightbulb to function with your light fixture.
Unfortunately, this will be a bit more costly and involved than just replacing a lightbulb.
Bad Electrolytic Capacitors
When you purchase lightbulbs, you probably see that there are many different prices to choose from.
Some lightbulbs will cost almost double the price of others.
Although there are quite a few factors that can go into this, sometimes lightbulbs are just made more cheaply than they should be.
If you purchase a very cheap lightbulb, then chances are their parts are also cheap.
This will mean you are left with a lightbulb that could technically last for 10,000 hours, but it only lasts for a few.
With an LED lightbulb, you should be getting many hours out of it.
If you are planning on purchasing this more expensive type of lightbulb to begin with, it makes sense to get one that is made with high-quality components.
Stick with a brand name that you know and one that will stand behind their product.
The whole idea behind these more expensive, higher functioning lightbulbs is to save money, not to spend more replacing them.
What to Do If Your Lightbulb Starts Smoking
Now that we have covered the reasons your light bulb may start smoking, it’s important to know how to handle this situation.
Luckily, most of the time, this is not an emergency situation.
As we mentioned with the CFL lightbulbs, it is quite normal for them to start smoking.
The best thing you can do is make sure that not only is the light fixture turned off, but the power is turned off as well.
It’s essential to turn the power off to that fixture in case the smoking is being caused by a more serious electrical problem.
If this is the case, you should immediately call an electrician and leave that breaker off until they arrive.
Once you have cut the power off, start trying to figure out why the smoking happened.
You should be able to see something that doesn’t look right if the bulb is faulty.
There will be some black marks on the lightbulb or the light fixture.
If you don’t notice anything that looks out of the ordinary, look for some information on the light fixture as to what type of voltage and wattage it is built for.
See if that matches the type of bulb you have in place.
Sometimes when these two things are mismatched, you could end up with that smoking issue.
Most of the time, when you see smoke coming from the lightbulb, the bulb itself is going to be quite hot.
Let things cool down for a few minutes before you try to handle the lightbulb to see the issue.
As long as the power is off to that fixture, there should be no real danger of a fire starting.
If you think the lightbulb was faulty and it is not that old, make sure to document the problem so you can send some information to the manufacturer.
Seeing a light bulb smoking in your home is a scary thing.
We all know how quickly a fire can spread and how dangerous it is.
Seeing this smoke coming from an electrical device is enough to scare anyone.
The good news is, most of the time, seeing this smoke and recognizing it is a great thing to have happen.
Since you saw the smoke, you can take the necessary steps to rectify the situation before any real damage or danger has time to occur.
If you don’t feel comfortable dealing with electrical work or problems, you are not alone.
Most people are anxious about electricity, and they call an electrician in for issues like this, so that is nothing to be ashamed of.