I put two standard 25-40 watt light bulbs in my pump house every winter to
keep things from freezing. Is there a longer lasting bulb out there? These
usually of out mid-winter and I have to make sure I catch it or I could have
I read where putting in European Bulbs that run off 230volts, run at our 115
last a long time. Only problem, where do I get these bulbs if they are the
You can get 130W lamps if you hunt for them. What I suggest is putting
two 120V (US standard lamps) in a series so the current flows through one
and then through the second one. That means each lamp gets only 60V.
Remember that they will make less heat that way so two pair of 40W lamps
will provide about the same heat as two 25W lamps as you have then wired
now. You can also use a diode to reduce the voltage 50% but I think the
double lamp is more trouble free.
If you were simply needing a long lasting bulb, I would suggest compact
fluorescents. They last years. Of course, they won't put off enough heat
to be useful in your situation.
They do make "long life" light bulbs. They are actually bulbs rated for
130V, so they run at less than full load when run on standard 120V power.
Using a similar idea, you might get longer bulb life if you install a
dimmer switch so the bulbs aren't running full power. Of course, you'll
probably need to increase the wattage of the bulb to compensate for the
decreased heat output.
You can also try bulbs rated for ceiling fans. They have a bit sturdier
construction than regular bulbs, as they have to resist the vibration
from ceiling fans.
Otherwise, leave the bulbs on all the time. The thermal shock of turning
the light on and off is what tends to burn out bulbs the most.
You might also consider a dedicated heater with a thermostat. They're
fairly inexpensive, and will last a very long time. I use a small 2' long
electric baseboard heater (about 500 watts), so I don't have a fan or
other moving parts to worry about. Works fine.
I brought 220v bulbs back from Europe in 74, they have lasted 10-15
years run apx 6 hrs a day, google 220v bulbs. With incandesant bulbs
they are truely "Heaters" out puting only apx 10% light and 90% heat.
But you still loose that 10%. why wouldnt one 40 watt pipe freeze wire
just hanging work, you will get very long safe life and 100% heat
Actually you would not loose even that 10% in a typical pump house. The
light will fall on a wall, where it is absorbed and turned to heat. Both
kinds of bulbs are 100% efficient unless the light leaves the room as light.
Running two bulbs in series or a dimmer are a good idea, a bulb rated at
1000hrs may last 5000hrs at 50% power and at 10% maybe 100000 hrs.
Thermostat heat tape may be better it lasts, comes on only when needed
and heats what is needed and the air. Insulate the box better with foam,
if it gets sun paint it flat black. Something flat black can reach
80-120 degrees greater than air temp, even at 0f. For a bulb to be 100%
efficient the box has to not absorb and loose any heat, probably a
mirrored interior. For heat tape you may only need 20-30 watts.
130V bulb or alternatively, buy a rugged-use bulb designed for such
applications as drop-cord trouble lights, etc. On the farm w/ more
voltagle fluctuations than most townies owing to longer lines and the
large well loads not being balanced by as many other loads I use 130V
bulbs exclusively. Makes big difference in lifetime.
I've seen small, radiant, fan-forced electric heaters as low as 500
watts. Such a heater on a line-voltage thermostat will probably save
you money as it will only call for heat when needed and you will have
some flexibility in determining the set-point. You can even use an
electric oil-filled radiator on the low setting. Unlike the bulbs,
these heaters last for years and almost never burn out.
Also, if your pump house is visible from the house, you can easily rig
up some sort of indicator light that comes on when thermostat is
calling for heat.
This is Turtle.
The problem is you have a 120 volt rated light bulb attached to a so called 115
volt service but it is really 123 or 124 volt service going to most houses. So
you have 124 volt electric service supplied to a light bulb rated for 120 volts
service. So the light bulb is on voltage service higher than the light bulb is
So find you some Ruff Service light bulbs or really just 130 rated volt light
bulbs. All automotive Parts store [ auto zone, Napa , or Pep Boy ] carry ruff
service light bulbs and will have them for about $1.00 each. Also
www.granger.com [ not the correct sight I think ] has these bulb called ruff
service light bulbs. Now here is a warning here. If you want the light of a 75
watt bulb , you better get a 100 watt rated ruff surevice light bulb to get 60
watts of light. The Granger ruff service light bulbs last a long time [ like 2
to 4 years ] but just are very short of light of what it is stated as wattage to
be given off. Here is a scale to see.
100 watt Ruff service = to a 75 watt regular light bulb.
75 watt Ruff service = to a 50 watt regular light bulb.
60 watt ruff service = to a 45 watt regular light bulb.
45 watt Ruff service = to a 25 watt regular light bulbs.
Now the bulbs at the auto parts houses seem to burn brighter than the www
granger bulbs do.
Now also most all Helicopter landing pads with lighting will have ruff service
130 volt light bulbs in them. They don't like changing light bulb either.
You might try using some of the self-regulating heat strips. They look
like a rubber extension cord and draw very little power at temperatures
above 50F. As the temperature drops, they start to warm up. I like them
better than bulbs because you can wrap them around pipes and pumps, and
they won't burn out like a light bulb.
I also think you should look into self regulating heat tracing. I
think you would be amazed how well (and efficient) even a low wattage
one on an insulated pipe will work for freeze protection.
However, if you insist on using light bulbs, try adding more of them
and don't necessarily replace them at the same time (stagger them) so
they don't all go out at the same time.
If you don't need the lighting there all the time, try using a Goldenrod
tube heater - I use them to raise temperature and lower humidity in several
closets and enclosed spaces. Available from 12 watts on upwards. Very
reliable, do not burn out, and none of their energy goes into lighting, if
that is not needed in the pump house. Many retailers, mostly marine supply
places, but here is garden shop offering one:
First, use raychem frostex heat tape where I could. It's not cheap,
but it's very durable, effective, and very easy to install. Google for
it, and get the 50' truck-pack.
Next, where I couldn't, I installed two 40W bulbs. One bulb was on a
photocell. The photocell was just a cheap (under $10.00) doohickey
designed to make a light come on at night. One end screwed into the
bulb socket and the bulb screwed into a socket in the photocell.
So, now I had a backup!
A couple sugestions. First off, why not use heat tape instead.
If however you find the bulbs are needed, you could actually go
hi-tech. Put in two sets of bulbs. Have a light sensor on the direct
wired pair. If those burn out, the sensor will sense no light and
turn on the other pair.
By the way, why do you use 2 bulbs? Just use one larger one, unless
you want them spaced apart of something.
One other thing. You could use one of those orange colored heat lamps
like they use in chicken barns, or use at McDonalds to keep the french
fries warm. They are (I think) available in 100 or 150 watt. Then
out a dimmer on the bulb to cut power use and to make bulbs last
longer. They are made to heat, so you should get more heat from them.
Be sure you insulate your shed too, and have you considered a small
electric heater that is on a thermostat? I realize electric heaters
comsume more power, but it would only turn on when the temp went below
freezing in there. You can buy plug in thermostats that are made for
agriculture use, or could use a standard furnace thermostat with
transformer and relay to operate it. That way you get precise
control, unlike the built in electric heaters "controls" whose sensors
are very vague as far as temperature.
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