I installed a series of 5 can lights in my kitchen and yesterday 4 of
them burnt out at once. Standard 60 watt bulbs. Just stopped working,
not like they BLEW or anything. Is this completely random or could
there be some electrical issue that caused it?
How long had the bulbs been working, an hour or two, 1 day or two, a
week or two, a month or two, or a year or two?
A very short interval, a scant few hours of operation implies an
electrical wiring issue, OR, your house took a lightning strike that
killed the lamps. Any other light bulbs in the house die at the same time?
There are several possible issues. I would guess that there is a wiring
problem at the one that is still functioning or at the next one on the line.
If this is true, then replacing the bulbs will not fix it (other than maybe
getting it to work for a while by giggling the wires back together at the
Sorry, I may have missed this in another post (my news server isn't
always reliable), but just to be clear, is the problem with the bulbs
themselves or the fixtures? If it's the latter, then I'd like to ask
if these fixtures are installed in an insulated ceiling and, if so,
are they rated for such? This is a long shot, but if the problem is
fixture related, it could be tied to the thermal protection element.
Now I apologize for asking this and I don't mean to sound critical,
but I'm wondering why you are using standard 60-watt light bulbs in
recessed can fixtures (with a standard A19 bulb, half or more of the
available light is lost inside the fixture housing). You would get
far more usable light and less potentially damaging heat build-up, if
you switched to a halogen flood/spot or, better yet, a reflector style
Sounds like a simple open circuit. Examine the wiring to the first bulb
(presumably the only one that works) and look for a black or white wire
leading to the rest of the bulbs that has fallen out of the wire nut.
I would guess the most likely cause is an intermittently open neutral
causing the line voltage to sometimes go wacky.
You need to check for the incoming neutral wire to be properly and
securely connected to the neutral bus in your service panel and any
subpanels, and for any neutrals feeding subpanels to be securely connected
to the neutral bus in your main panel. If you have a problem there, it
must be corrected urgently since electrical equipment with improper
voltages can be a significant fire hazard.
However, I have heard of mass burnouts caused by especially severe line
voltage surges. I have seen a store with 4-foot rapid start fluorescent
lamps where most of them died during such a "mass burnout".
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Take Don's advice. If you do have the problem it can do more than just
burn out lamps. My first boss had a photo studio that had that problem. He
had to move shortly before I went to work for him. The building burned
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