Microwave appliance bulb
January 16, 2012 12:49 AM   Subscribe

Just replaced the bulbs under the microwave (over the range)... and now they're taking turns burning out.

So after a few months of just having one light, that light burned out and I replaced both.

One bulb burned out last night. Replaced that. Other one burned out tonight. They're both brand new... so I'm wondering if there's some sort of short or other issue that overvolts them... alternating.

The bulb is a T8 intermediate base 40 watt; something I can't find a CFL version of, which would probably solve the problem. Is this something with an easy solution in the microwave? Or will it necessitate a new microwave? (The microwave turns off automatically after three minutes of cooking or so, as a thermal relay trips, so I need to have it repaired anyway... just wondering if this is repairable, and not going to spend $250 for a burning out bulb, clearly.)
posted by disillusioned to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
so I'm wondering if there's some sort of short or other issue that overvolts them...

It's probably vibration. I have the same problem with incandescent bulbs in my ceiling, because the vibration from people walking on the floor above damages the filaments when they're lit.
In my case, I was able to solve it with CFL.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:55 AM on January 16, 2012

I second the possibility of vibration. If there isn't room for a cfl, you might want to assure that you're buying quality bulbs instead of inexpensive ones, it does make a difference in terms of the life of the bulb.
posted by HuronBob at 2:28 AM on January 16, 2012

I had the same problem with my microwave, and have the same problem with car light bulbs. The factory bulbs last years, and then the replacements last 10 months. Unfortunately, I think the bulbs you get in the stores are just crap.
posted by gjc at 4:35 AM on January 16, 2012

'Intermediate base' is also known as E17 (E for Edison) in North America, and E14 in the EU. It looks like there are LED options. You will be able to run any bulb under the nominal power (40 watts) but there may be some losses in efficiency and bulb life.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:44 AM on January 16, 2012

I think the underlying problem is your microwave.

Whenever you interrupt current flow, the magnetic field associated with that current collapses and generates a voltage surge in the circuit; in the case of your microwave, when the circuit breaker trips, that voltage can be much larger than the original applied voltage, and those surges fry the filaments of your bulbs in short order.
posted by jamjam at 10:01 AM on January 16, 2012

I've got the same problem; our ~2-3 year old over-the-range microwave uses one bulb at a time, and it took less than a week to blow out 2 new replacement bulbs, one after the other. This post gives me hope that if I find a better bulb brand/type they might last longer. I figured it was something funky with the microwave and I've been cooking in the dark since then; boy-o boy-o boy-o is that annoying. But our microwave is fine otherwise, and I'm not going to replace the whole thing for the stupid light no matter how angry it makes me.
posted by molasses at 10:03 AM on January 16, 2012

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