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Thread: Ungrounded Light Fixtures

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member bigbubba's Avatar
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    Default Ungrounded Light Fixtures

    Can someone please answer a question I have been having. I moved into my condo about 7 years ago (original owner), and since then have noticed that my light bulbs burn out in about a month. I even bought some of those 5-year bulbs and they lasted about the same. Not knowing what else to do, I replaced many of my light fixtures. Upon doing this, I found that none of them had their ground wires attached, they were just snipped off. Could this have been the reason for the extremely short lifespan of my bulbs? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    No, but it may be an indication of sloppy wiring. Under normal circumstances, there should never be any power or current on the ground lead - it is there for safety. Many places come with a 10-year warranty...I'd consider hitting them up - may not do anything, but something built then should comply with code...the ground should be intact. Think they were just lazy and trying to get it done for the absolute minimum costs, and the GC wasn't doing any quality control (nor was the inspector).

    Loose connections, faulty neutrals on shared circuits, back-stabbed cheap switches and recepticles or lots of spikes from poorly designed main when large loads turn on and off could cause it. If there are loose connections anywhere, while the light is on, it's like you sat there and turned the switch on and off (maybe very fast) very frequently. Ever have a bulb die after it had been on? Rarely, almost always when it is first turned on.

    One thing that may help is to add a whole-house surge suppressor at your breaker panel. To do this correctly, you normally need two free CB slots (one on each leg of the power). That won't help with loose connections, but may help if you have surges and spikes.

    Last thing I'd check is the voltage. It's probably fine. If you don't have a multi-meter, and don't mind spending a little more than the very entry level versions, get one that has a peak hold capability and leave it attached say overnight. Many of those that have that capability also have a secondary bar graph that has a quicker response than the digital readout.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member bigbubba's Avatar
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    Thanks, sadly, most of what you said was over my head, I should probably call an electrician.

  4. #4
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    You didn't say, but did the problem continue in the new fixtures you installed?

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Another thing that can shorten the bulb life is if there is a lot of deflection in the floor and the bulb can vibrate when someone is walking around above you. Also, if it is a little loose, and you like wall pounding bass - really have it cranked up, some frequencies could jar the filaments and break them. Unlikely in a condo (unless it is detached), but a possibility. Are you next to say a stairway or fire doors that get a lot of use?
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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