7 Reasons Incandescent Bulbs Are Dangerous


As the world continues to adopt environmental consciousness, there’s a need for us to start rethinking some of the household items we bring into our homes, and this includes light bulbs.

Installing a lighting system in your home is one way to improve the mood, ambiance, as well as create a welcoming atmosphere. But how do you know if these lights are dangerous to your immediate environment? Do they also affect the human body?

To answer these questions, you need to pay better attention to the lighting systems in your home. That way, you can strengthen the safety of your surroundings and home.

For this piece, we will look at incandescent light bulbs and how they pose dangers.

7 Reasons Incandescent Bulbs Are Dangerous

Top Reasons Incandescent Bulbs are Dangerous

Incandescent bulbs are part of the commercial lighting systems that are widely used in many homes. They are either used as flashlights, table lamps, decorative lighting, and even headlamps. Below are some reasons why they are considered dangerous.

1. Can Affect Your Vision

Incandescent light bulbs can expose your eyes to different problems such as pterygia or cataracts. That’s because they emit a high amount of UV rays, which can damage your vision.

People are often asked to wear sunglasses when they are out, especially during summer. But since incandescent bulbs are used indoors, other methods of eye protection are recommended.

For example, you can avoid staring directly into the light bulb. Else, the chance of damage may increase.

2. Environmental Insecurities

Incandescent light bulbs do not contain chemical elements, which makes them less dangerous to human health. Because of that, the right authorities approve that they can be thrown in regular trash cans, making it easy for the garbage trucks in your locality to haul them away.

However, the bulb quickly becomes a part of the unwanted waste issues in the country as soon as it is dropped in the landfill. The amount of energy that Incandescent light bulbs consume as waste can also become an environmental burden.

Usually, an incandescent light bulb of 100-watt consumes about 75% of energy more than its CFL equivalent and 80% more than an LED equivalent. The energy consumed may increase the cost of utilities thus leading to the creation of higher levels of health and environmental issues.

3. Breakage

If you’ve come in contact with lots of incandescent light bulbs, you will notice one peculiar thing about this item – they are made of thin glasses. The thin glass supports the light to glow through the frosted, clear, or colored bulb. 

Due to this, incandescent light bulbs are super delicate and are prone to break at very little collision. The pieces of a broken incandescent light bulb can be dangerous; they can pierce through the soles of a person’s feet or get into the eye(s). Either of the occurrences can cause severe bodily injuries.

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In addition, the bulb can break and get stuck inside its socket, and forcefully trying to remove it may hurt your fingers.

4. Heat Dangers

As you may already know, incandescent light bulbs tend to produce a high amount of heat. This can heat up your home environment, which might lead to an uncomfortably warm temperature. Once that happens, the chances of your bulb burning out quickly become high. 

If the incandescent light bulb in your home burns out, it’s important that you wait for it to cool before replacing it. Otherwise, you may burn your fingers.

Further, there’s a higher likelihood of being exposed to fire risks when you use incandescent light bulbs; using them in a small or unventilated space like your storage room might cause the circulating air temperature to quickly rise and ignite a fire in highly flammable items like clothes, plastics, cardboard boxes, etc.

5. Exploding or Bursting Light Bulb

A lot of factors ranging from coldness, wetness, or improper sealing can cause incandescent bulbs to explode or burst.

The bulb’s method of installation will determine if the glass will break into pieces upon explosion. Once that happens, finding the broken pieces that might have been scattered at different corners of the room can be a tedious task.  

Also, some light bulb manufacturers fail to use adequate insulation in the base of the light bulb. Not properly insulating the base of the light bulb may melt the metal base, causing gas contained in the bulb to leak out. 

The gas leakage causes an imbalance of pressure and can result in the explosion of the incandescent light bulb. 

6. Poor Energy Efficiency

In regards to energy, incandescent bulbs are super inefficient. This is because only 10% of the energy is turned into light, with approximately 90% wasted as heat. 

One of the main reasons they burn out quickly is because the tungsten filament thins out before giving out light. At the end of the day, all energy being wasted translates to extra cost on the part of the owner.

7. Requires High-Cost Maintenance

Part of the major dangers of incandescent light bulbs is that they can drain your time and money as they require a high operating cost. 

When it comes to purchasing, incandescent bulbs are quite inexpensive. But since it wastes tons of energy, you will find that you need to spend more on operating costs. 

On average, a home can use up to 20 to 30 light bulbs and this means you may end up spending a lot to ensure the lights are sustained.

Related: Do Incandescent Bulbs Flicker? (Why + How To Stop It!)

How to Prevent Dangers While Using Incandescent Bulbs

The following are some key steps to preventing dangers while using incandescent bulbs in your home.

1. Handle Broken Bulbs With Care

If your bulbs are broken, one thing you shouldn’t skip doing is applying caution while taking care of the area.

To start, you can wear protective gear when disposing of broken glass. Also, ensure that the room is properly swept as tiny pieces of glass can travel farther than you will ever imagine.

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 2. Dispose of Properly

Incandescent light bulbs are the easiest in terms of disposing as you can always trash them in a regular waste bin.

As you already know, incandescent bulbs are quite thin and can break easily. This means that the broken glass can perforate the trash bag and cause injury to you or any member of your family that tries to take out the trash.

To ensure safety while disposing of them, you should put the bulb in a container or box. This is a simple process that will keep the glass from causing harm.

Disposing of incandescent light bulbs properly is important as they contain filaments in the glass, making them unrecyclable.  

3. Choose an Incandescent Warm Light Bulbs

Most people with light sensitivity tend to be triggered when exposed to blue lights. That’s why you must avoid any incandescent light bulb that has the label “cool or bright white” on them.

During purchase, ask for warm incandescent light bulbs as they emit less UV radiation than their “bright white” counterparts. You don’t need to worry about their cost because they are quite affordable.

With these warm lights, you stand a lesser risk of suffering light sensitivities and visual impairments. 

In case you can’t find the warm lights and are stuck with the bright light, a necessary thing to do is cover them with shades. This helps to filter and prevent the bright light from harming your eyesight. You can also avoid looking directly into the bright light.

4. Practice Safe Light Bulb Removal

If your incandescent light bulb accidentally breaks in its socket, do not cut or electrocute yourself in the process of removing them. 

Instead, apply some of these simple, yet safe, techniques for removing a broken light bulb: 

  • Turn off the light switch.
  • Use protective gear; gloves, safety goggles, and pliers (for removing any remaining pieces of glass in the bulb fixture).
  • Cut up a potato into two and firmly press it against the socket.
  • Twist the bulb counterclockwise. By now, the potato should clutch and turn the base of the bulb, while the socket stays in place.

Have Incandescent Light Bulbs Been Banned?

No, Incandescent bulbs are not yet banned. As mentioned in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, all light bulbs must now meet a minimum standard of efficiency.

Though many incandescent bulbs can meet the required standards, the ones that couldn’t meet the standards are still manufactured and sold in stores.

Chandelier bulbs, appliance bulbs, and three-way bulbs are part of the many incandescent bulbs that got exempted from meeting the set standards.

Final Thoughts

Incandescent light bulbs are one of the oldest light bulbs on the market. You are likely to find them in different parts of every home you step into. While they can help you save on energy bills, they pose certain dangers to your health and immediate environment.  Hopefully, you find this piece helpful as we’ve listed some of these dangers and how you can avoid them.

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