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#4542836 - 10/14/17 04:41 AM Refrigerator eats bulbs
Duffyjr Offline


Registered: 01/13/16
Posts: 508
Loc: Nebraska
We've had our refrigerator for close to 30 years so it's been a very good purchase for us, but ever since I can remember I've had to replace the bulb at least twice a year. I always bought the GE appliance replacement bulbs that say they are used in refrigerators, ovens, microwaves etc....

Is there any other bulb that I could try? I know it's not a big deal buying and replacing them but thought I would be nice to have one last a bit longer.
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#4542840 - 10/14/17 04:57 AM Re: Refrigerator eats bulbs [Re: Duffyjr]
skyactiv Offline


Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 4405
Loc: The Midwest
I hope your electric is cheap where your at. There might be a problem making them burn out so squick? Try a LED bulb. Expensive but who knows.
https://www.amazon.com/GE-Lighting-83645-350-Lumen-Refrigerator/dp/B00TH3LGE0
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#4542842 - 10/14/17 05:00 AM Re: Refrigerator eats bulbs [Re: Duffyjr]
skyactiv Offline


Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 4405
Loc: The Midwest
And is the bulb turning off when you close the door? That could explain why they are burning out quick. I'd stick a phone and record to see what happens. The switch might have a few on/off stages that appears that to be off when you open the door but its really not.
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#4542852 - 10/14/17 05:27 AM Re: Refrigerator eats bulbs [Re: Duffyjr]
Sayjac Offline


Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 12273
Loc: The Old North State
I had what 'sounds' like a similar issue with refrig lights on our older unit. New ones would work for awhile then flicker or just stop working completely. However on inspection couldn't see where the bulb filament(s) had burned out.

Began to look at the actual original screw in receptacle the bulb goes in. Rather than replace it, I used a needle nose pliers or a pick tool (can't remember exactly), and pulled out the bottom contact on the receptacle a tad. Voila, issue fixed. If that hadn't worked would have purchased a new receptacle, but it wasn't necessary. Oh, I did replace the door light switch initially because bulb started by flickering.

If your bulbs are 'burning out" not your issue. If not, you might give the receptacle a look see.

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#4542874 - 10/14/17 06:48 AM Re: Refrigerator eats bulbs [Re: skyactiv]
Duffyjr Offline


Registered: 01/13/16
Posts: 508
Loc: Nebraska
Originally Posted By: skyactiv
And is the bulb turning off when you close the door? That could explain why they are burning out quick. I'd stick a phone and record to see what happens. The switch might have a few on/off stages that appears that to be off when you open the door but its really not.


Well I gave this a shot and when the door is closed the video on my phone goes dark so it must be working ok unless it's a time deal to where it comes on after a while.

Thanks, great idea.
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#4542885 - 10/14/17 07:07 AM Re: Refrigerator eats bulbs [Re: skyactiv]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 6003
Originally Posted By: skyactiv
And is the bulb turning off when you close the door? That could explain why they are burning out quick. I'd stick a phone and record to see what happens. The switch might have a few on/off stages that appears that to be off when you open the door but its really not.


You're saying the light might be flickering when the door is shut? Otherwise, the OP can test the light by opening the fridge door and pushing the button manually.

OP, if you've got a multimeter and can finagle the leads to get a reading, check the voltage with the light on. It might be way off.

Also, are you purchasing new bulbs each time, individually, or do you have a pack that you're running through. If the latter, it might be a bad batch.

Finally, at 30 years old I'd look at a replacement. Compare energy usage between yours and new (you might need to invest in a watt-meter (pretty cheap online) to see what your actual usage is, because the sticker won't be accurate now that it's old and worn.) Your state may offer rebates for new energ-star appliances, too! We replaced our old HotPoint fridge, because it performed poorly. With the setting on normal some areas were too warm; turned it up and certain areas would freeze. We lost a lot of space due to have to keep stuff away from the "bad" areas. We upgraded to a higher-efficiency, non-energy-start model, because it was on sale and was small enough to fit where we needed it to (condo.)

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#4542886 - 10/14/17 07:12 AM Re: Refrigerator eats bulbs [Re: skyactiv]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 6003
Originally Posted By: skyactiv
I hope your electric is cheap where your at. There might be a problem making them burn out so squick? Try a LED bulb. Expensive but who knows.
https://www.amazon.com/GE-Lighting-83645-350-Lumen-Refrigerator/dp/B00TH3LGE0


I like that it still includes the energy savings based on 3 hrs/day!

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#4542899 - 10/14/17 07:34 AM Re: Refrigerator eats bulbs [Re: Duffyjr]
Jarlaxle Offline


Registered: 02/02/12
Posts: 8163
Loc: New England
Perhaps try a 130V bulb? A bit less light, but longer life. (Might need to hit Lowe's or a lighting-supply place-it might be marked a lava-lamp bulb.)

Also: might the motor be causing the socket to vibrate? If so, that will kill a bulb in a hurry.
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#4542911 - 10/14/17 07:57 AM Re: Refrigerator eats bulbs [Re: gathermewool]
Duffyjr Offline


Registered: 01/13/16
Posts: 508
Loc: Nebraska
Originally Posted By: gathermewool
Originally Posted By: skyactiv
And is the bulb turning off when you close the door? That could explain why they are burning out quick. I'd stick a phone and record to see what happens. The switch might have a few on/off stages that appears that to be off when you open the door but its really not.


You're saying the light might be flickering when the door is shut? Otherwise, the OP can test the light by opening the fridge door and pushing the button manually.

OP, if you've got a multimeter and can finagle the leads to get a reading, check the voltage with the light on. It might be way off.

Also, are you purchasing new bulbs each time, individually, or do you have a pack that you're running through. If the latter, it might be a bad batch.

Finally, at 30 years old I'd look at a replacement. Compare energy usage between yours and new (you might need to invest in a watt-meter (pretty cheap online) to see what your actual usage is, because the sticker won't be accurate now that it's old and worn.) Your state may offer rebates for new energ-star appliances, too! We replaced our old HotPoint fridge, because it performed poorly. With the setting on normal some areas were too warm; turned it up and certain areas would freeze. We lost a lot of space due to have to keep stuff away from the "bad" areas. We upgraded to a higher-efficiency, non-energy-start model, because it was on sale and was small enough to fit where we needed it to (condo.)


The switch works fine when testing it when the door is open but he had a good idea in thinking maybe once the door is closed it may not functioning correctly, what I took from it was maybe it wasn't pushing the switch in all the way and causing the light to come back on or flicker.

New bulbs and only buy twin packs.

And I agree with you on getting a new one just for the energy savings but getting the wife to buy into that is not happening, she is a "if it ain't broke it doesn't need replacing" kind of girl.

As far as testing it with a multi meter won't work for me, I don't have the onions to mess with electricity but have a friend that I think actually likes the thrill of playing with 110.

I'm headed to wally today so I'll check out a LED like Skyativ mentioned.
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#4542930 - 10/14/17 08:14 AM Re: Refrigerator eats bulbs [Re: Duffyjr]
kc8adu Offline


Registered: 08/02/05
Posts: 894
Loc: dayton oh
excessive vibration or even the above mention contact issue.
i have seen the arcing burn the solder out of the contact.
bulb is still good but has lost connection.
i have a 60's ge fridge that may still have its original bulb.
appliance bulbs are usually 130v ruggedized type and with the low usage in total hours should last the life of the fridge.

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#4543127 - 10/14/17 11:49 AM Re: Refrigerator eats bulbs [Re: Duffyjr]
dishdude Online   content


Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 8764
Loc: Phoenix
Throw a cheap LED in there, it'll work fine at 37 degrees.
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#4543135 - 10/14/17 12:02 PM Re: Refrigerator eats bulbs [Re: dishdude]
4WD Online   confused


Registered: 09/21/10
Posts: 6425
Loc: Texas
Yep had an LED in mine for a couple years. most of my CF have been phased out by LED

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#4543161 - 10/14/17 12:39 PM Re: Refrigerator eats bulbs [Re: Sayjac]
bdcardinal Offline


Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 11014
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
Originally Posted By: Sayjac
I had what 'sounds' like a similar issue with refrig lights on our older unit. New ones would work for awhile then flicker or just stop working completely. However on inspection couldn't see where the bulb filament(s) had burned out.

Began to look at the actual original screw in receptacle the bulb goes in. Rather than replace it, I used a needle nose pliers or a pick tool (can't remember exactly), and pulled out the bottom contact on the receptacle a tad. Voila, issue fixed. If that hadn't worked would have purchased a new receptacle, but it wasn't necessary. Oh, I did replace the door light switch initially because bulb started by flickering.

If your bulbs are 'burning out" not your issue. If not, you might give the receptacle a look see.


We had some lights in the house that constantly went through bulbs. I did just this to all of them and the bulbs last years now.
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#4543174 - 10/14/17 12:56 PM Re: Refrigerator eats bulbs [Re: gathermewool]
Johnny2Bad Offline


Registered: 05/20/13
Posts: 1810
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: gathermewool
Originally Posted By: skyactiv
And is the bulb turning off when you close the door? That could explain why they are burning out quick. I'd stick a phone and record to see what happens. The switch might have a few on/off stages that appears that to be off when you open the door but its really not.


You're saying the light might be flickering when the door is shut? Otherwise, the OP can test the light by opening the fridge door and pushing the button manually.

OP, if you've got a multimeter and can finagle the leads to get a reading, check the voltage with the light on. It might be way off.

Also, are you purchasing new bulbs each time, individually, or do you have a pack that you're running through. If the latter, it might be a bad batch.

Finally, at 30 years old I'd look at a replacement. Compare energy usage between yours and new (you might need to invest in a watt-meter (pretty cheap online) to see what your actual usage is, because the sticker won't be accurate now that it's old and worn.) Your state may offer rebates for new energ-star appliances, too! We replaced our old HotPoint fridge, because it performed poorly. With the setting on normal some areas were too warm; turned it up and certain areas would freeze. We lost a lot of space due to have to keep stuff away from the "bad" areas. We upgraded to a higher-efficiency, non-energy-start model, because it was on sale and was small enough to fit where we needed it to (condo.)


An intermittent incandescent bulb will definitely wear out quickly. Those who suggest checking the integrity of the connection (be safe!) are giving good advice.

As for the rest ...

DO NOT replace a perfectly good appliance to "save energy". There is absolutely no way to save $600 to $2200 on electricity over the expected life of that new refrigerator. The environmental cost of A) disposing of your old 'fridge, and B) manufacturing a new one ... means you've generated far more CO2 merely by your purchase and replace that could ever be saved from CO2 generated in higher electrical efficiency.

People make the mistake of calculating the new appliance's energy use, but fail to subtract that from the current appliance's energy use for the net benefit. That net benefit is the figure to determine how many years it takes to recover your investment. And then ... you don't really save much until that payback period has passed. At which time Do-Gooders will be harassing you to replace the 'fridge "to save energy" as newer models will inevitably be marginally more efficient yet.

The MOST efficient refrigerator you can buy in 2017 is rated to use 296 kwH. That is a small, 9.9 cu ft model.
If you want a 'fridge that the average couple can use, say 18 cu ft, it's 362 kwH. Top freezer models.
If you want a bottom-freezer model, the most efficient one you can buy today uses 370 kwH, and is only 11.1 cu ft.
If you want a bottom-freezer 18 cu ft model, the most efficient one you can buy today uses 528 kwH (18.9 cu ft) and costs $US 6,419.00 [Liebherr brand].
If you want a bottom-freezer fridge of reasonable cost and size, the most efficient one you can buy uses 637 kwH, a Samsung 24.6 cu ft 3-door model.

Energy Star rated refrigerators did not exist prior to 1996 (the first Energy Star program covered computers and monitors, in 1992).

However, a refrigerator of average size manufactured at the introduction of Energy Star used less electricity than a 100 watt bulb (2.4 kwH per day). At 10c a kwH that's 24 cents per day or $87.60/year. At 15c a kwH that's $131.40/year.

Taking the most efficient 18 cu ft top-freezer fridge you can buy today, it uses (from above) 362 kwH /year. At 10c that's $36.20/year, at 15c it's $54.30/year.

So ... 87.60 - 36.20 = $51.40. You save fifty bucks a year on power at 10c a KwH. An $800 fridge takes 16 years to recover your cost in power of replacing your old fridge today. $131.40 - 54.30 = $77.10. An $800 fridge takes 11 years to recover your purchase price in energy savings at 15c a kwH.

And that's if you buy a fridge that most North Americans would not buy, except maybe for the rental suite. If you buy something your wife actually wants, those numbers get very, very long indeed.
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#4543213 - 10/14/17 01:40 PM Re: Refrigerator eats bulbs [Re: Duffyjr]
LeakySeals Offline


Registered: 02/18/11
Posts: 6578
Loc: Hudson, NH
Try some bulb grease. Maybe the contacts are corroded, which will cause the voltage to be inconsistant to the bulb, spike.
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