It seems like we are forever replacing light bulbs here. I’m not sure why. It doesn’t matter if they’re old school incandescent, CFL, LED or halogen. Our light bulbs expire before they should. Inside and out. Especially our exterior front lights.
One of our exterior light bulbs just exploded on July 4. DH raised the garage door to check out the activity in the neighborhood, and as he looked around he heard glass shatter to the ground. There was enough light from the next nearest fixture to see the large shards and get them off the driveway. They were from a light bulb.
In the light of day, I cleaned up the rest of the glass, and unscrewed the element portion that was left in the light fixture. That fixture, btw, was the brand new one I installed when the house was painted. Temperatures had been ungodly hot, and we leave the exterior lights on from dusk to dawn now. And they had been left on continuously for a couple of days by accident. We liked the 75 to 100 watt brightness. I think all that combined may have caused overload and contributed to the explosion. However, it has happened before, with every one of the exterior light fixtures I installed (correctly, under the watchful eye of the contractor). It’s so frustrating.
Because I don’t like coming home to a dark house when I have to work late, and because we are not good about turning the exterior lights on and off regularly, I needed a solution. The light sensors in two of the replacement fixtures weren’t working properly two years ago. I painted over the sensors — do not judge! I also determined that the gizmos that could go in the fixture with bulbs screwing into them, were not a good option for us. If we could just leave the light switch on and have the bulbs turn on/off automatically, this could alleviate much of the overload problem, if that even is the problem.
So it was timely Providence that I stumbled upon an awesome solution on a blog by Becky, Flipping the Flip, through HomeTalk. First of all, I love this blog. I feel for her as she struggles to undo and redo bad things a flipper did to their house. I have encountered bad things the contractors did to this house back when it was built, so I totally understanding where she’s coming from.
Anyway, Becky mentioned the dusk to dawn light BULB she was using. A bulb with a sensor built in! This was new to me. Standard bulb, check! LED, check! Easy, check! Not a long term commitment, check! Since I had to replace the exterior bulb, anyway, I decided to look at this one.
It was on sale at Menard’s for about $6.50, I don’t recall exactly. I had a rebate voucher, so that worked out to nearly free. (Right now the online sale price is $4.99, AND you get an 11% rebate!) It was worth a try.
It works great! That one bulb stays dark until after sunset, no matter how early in the day I have to flip the light switch on (leaving for work at 4 pm like ya do). It shuts off in the early morning light, before I remember to flip it off again. It will accommodate changes in season without any work. The 60 watt brightness is just fine. It’s almost like magic! There’s only one thing. Sometimes I like to turn on the lights if I’m expecting someone, especially in the morning, so they can look for the house with the lights on (the house number is shaded then). This solution won’t let me do that. This requires more thought.
Right now my goal is to replace at least two more bulbs as I get more rebate vouchers, or when I have money left in the monthly home repair budget. The bulb at the front door may or may not get replaced with one of these. If one or more bulbs blows again, well, that plan goes away, and I’m not out effort or much money.
And, if that happens, there will be other serious issues to address. So let’s say a prayer for “the little light bulb that hopefully can.”