Light Bulbs leaving black marks on ceiling

I have several lights throughout my house which have burn/black spots above the bulbs on the ceiling. The bulbs range from 6 inches in the bathroom to 1 foot in the hallways from the ceiling in each candlebra. I reduced the bulbs from 60 watts to 40 and in some cases down to 25 watts on the ones which are 6 inches from the ceiling (in the bathroom). This hasn't helped. The house and light holders are original, about 20 years old and the spots were not there when I moved in 5 years ago...at least not to the degree they are now. Have the bulbs changed to burn more hot or am I just buying low quality bulbs? I can wash the ceiling and block it out & repaint, but I don't want to do this if is going to happen again. I really don't want to change the style of lighting at this time. Any thoughts/ideas would be appreciated.
Wade
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Wade wrote:

It is not the bulb that is doing it. It is the air in the room. Smoke or other pollutants in the air end up on the ceiling (likely the ceiling is cool (unheated area above?) and the pollutants are leaving the marks as the air flow, caused by the warmth of the lights, is moving the pollutants up.
Clean the air and you will see no more black spots.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I don't think it's increased heat from the bulbs or anything. IMO, it's more likely the "chimney" effect of the warmer bulbs floating dust (smoke, cooking, street, etc.) up to the ceiling where it may or may not stick, depending on the material in the "dust", humidity and probably other things. Reason I say this is I've noticed it too, especially over the lamp near my chair when I used to smoke; it was directly above the lamp, not the chair, and the lamp was about 4 feet from the ceiling with a conical shade. I also notice that in my shop it collects the same way. I used white maritile to get a bright reflective ceiling and the circles are about a foot and a half radius some places, and the 8 ft, flourescents even have a ridge along them, ballooned near each end, sort of like a magnetic field. I suppose that might have somethnig to do with the high voltage at the ends, but it's the same effect. When I heat with my Reddy kero heater it's more likely to build up than with it off. Usually 409 does a good job of removing it, long's you don't mind clean spots <g>.
Pop
|I have several lights throughout my house which have burn/black spots above | the bulbs on the ceiling. The bulbs range from 6 inches in the bathroom to | 1 foot in the hallways from the ceiling in each candlebra. I reduced the | bulbs from 60 watts to 40 and in some cases down to 25 watts on the ones | which are 6 inches from the ceiling (in the bathroom). This hasn't helped. | The house and light holders are original, about 20 years old and the spots | were not there when I moved in 5 years ago...at least not to the degree they | are now. Have the bulbs changed to burn more hot or am I just buying low | quality bulbs? I can wash the ceiling and block it out & repaint, but I | don't want to do this if is going to happen again. I really don't want to | change the style of lighting at this time. Any thoughts/ideas would be | appreciated. | | Wade | |
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That's weird! But, since bulbs make heat and heat rises, could they simply be channeling some sort of dirt or dust in the air and sending it directly above to the ceiling? Is your home near a busy street, or is there a potential source of soot in the house? Maybe a woodburning stove? Does the dark stuff wipe of easily?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Smokers in the house? Burn a lot of candles? Wood burning stove? You have residue from them being deposited on the ceiling. The only way to eliminate it is to clean the air (filtration) or eliminate the source. I see people burning candles thinking they remove odors. They deposit a lot of soot from the paraffin onto the walls.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Want to increase the number of pollutants in air? Install one of those plug-in air fresheners - to increase the number of chemicals that will be deposited on that ceiling.
The only air freshener that really works is one that removes chemicals from the air; that required electrical plates to be washed or filters to be replaced. Those black spots are suggesting how dirty air really is.
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What's causing this is a profound lack of housekeeping. Your filth is sticking to the ceiling by way of hot air flow from the bulbs. As you walk through the house, sit on your furniture, move things etc. you disturb your settled filth and it becomes airborne and circulates through your home, gets trapped in the air circulation and gets stuck to your gummy ceiling. Clean your house, wash your walls, stop smoking indoors and stop burning your food!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This is Turtle.
Well get you some no heat Lite Bulbs by G/E that look like a coil neon lite which burn 1/2 the electricity and give off very little heat at all. You can get them at Sam's Wholesale place and come 5 in a pack. This way you find out if heat is doing it.
TURTLE
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Clean your house, vent your stove outside, don`t smoke inside,put in a real furnace filter, you problems won`t come back. Remember when your walls were white not yellow?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This is Turtle.
A bunch of people now days don't live like Martha Stewart once did.
The reason I posted was to try to see if it was heat from the lite bulbs or like you say the heat from the bulb cause a up draft to pull the pollution up and hit the ceiling just above the bulb. It has to be one of these things doing it.
TURTLE
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 14 Nov 2004 15:19:08 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (m Ransley) wrote:

If I couldn't smoke in the house, I'd move out to the garage. Then I suppose the same problem would occur in there and I'd be forced to move to my tent. Wash the ceiling, have a few beers and cigarettes and forget about it. If you decrease the bulb size much more, you may as well burn candles instead, and as others said, they deposit soot on the walls. Your other option would be to use portable lamps, or trouble lights which you can move daily so the spots move with the lights. However, decreasing the bulb size to some of those tiny 7 watt bulbswould not only save money on the elec. bill, but also you would no longer notice the dirty spots, which would solve the whole problem.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Compact fluorescents actually make a majority as much convected heat as incandescents of the same light output do. What compact fluorescents produce much less of is infrared. You get a lot less heat in the room, although the air above the bulb will be only a little cooler.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Don Klipstein wrote:

technical information or measuring devices to accurately measure the heat output, but just used my touch sensory organ. I have a desk lamp sitting right next to me that has a stainless steel lamp cover over the bulb (looks kinda like a small inverted SS mixing bowl). I had been using 60 watt incandescent bulbs in it up to a week ago. If I placed my hand on the top of the SS cover, I could not hold it there for more than a few seconds because it was so hot. Last week, I put in a "GE softwhite 60" spiral compact flourescent bulb rated at 13 W, which they claim has the light output of an incandescent 60 W bulb. I can put my hand on the cover and hold it there for as long as I want because it is not hot, but merely warm. And not all that warm either. When my coffee is that temperature, I usually go heat it up in the MW.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This is Turtle.
I'm like Wilshake on the G/E lites are not as hot when you put them in a socket. I have a G/E new type in a lamp by my computor and with the 60 watt bulb in it. the bulb will burn your ass if you touch it. I can touch the New G/E bulb and keep my fingers on it after it has run for a long time. It's no where near the heat of a regular 60 watt bulb in it.
TURTLE
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You all have me on both counts. I do have more dust in the house than I should and my wife does burn candles from time to time, so I guess it's time to do some major cleaning. Thanks, I was more focused on the bulbs themselves and not the quality of air in the house.
Wade

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'll add one comment - I think it's moderately unlikely that hot lightbulbs will cause blackspots on the ceiling due to atmospheric dirt and heat upwelling _alone_. Certainly not with any great rapidity, even with vast quantities of grease in the air (which'll make the stuff stick).
If these fixtures are suspended from electrical boxes in an attic ceiling, the boxes themselves are probably leaking warm air like crazy into the attic, which will _greatly_ increase the total airflow and crud deposition rate. Especially if there's any condensation there (some of the black could even be mould).
So, while you're killing yourself cleaning up the house ;-), a short amount of time bagging the fixture boxes (from the attic side) with vapor barrier plastic may be time well spent.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Other posts have correctly identified the reason for the black spots. To prevent them from reoccurring, you must get some air circulation. Odds are you don't have forced air heat, so installing ceiling fans would distribute the grunge more uniformly all over and thus less noticeable until all the walls are gray. HTH
Joe
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

It sounds to me as though the heat from your light bulbs may be creating dark patches on your ceiling in the same way that some baseboard heaters create dark patches on the walls above them. There is a scientific explanation for the baseboard heater patches which I can't fully remember. However, I seem to recall that the temperature differential between the wall and the heated air causes extremely tiny airborne particles and the wall to acquire opposite electrical charges. The charged particles are drawn deeply into the wall finish by the force of attraction between opposite electrical charges. The tiny particles are absorbed so tightly into the finish that it's impossible to wash them out. If you can't get the ceiling spots clean, then this phenomenon may be occurring in your home.
I'd look for ways to reduce the quantity of airborne particles and would also look to minimize the temperature differential between the ceiling (more insulation?) and the air warmed by the lights (cooler bulbs?).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.