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Does burnt-out Bulb use Electricity?


You must have heard that a burnt-out light bulb continues to consume electricity even when it is not emitting light. With this belief, concerns regarding the increased utility bills are common.

We understand why you are researching and finding answers to it all over the internet. So, you’ve landed at the right place where we’ll share the answer to the question concerning different types of bulbs.

One thing to address here is that if you include the concept of phantom load or standby power within the bulbs, it is not right. Surely, appliances like televisions and game consoles work on this concept and consume a small proportion of electricity even when off. But the bulbs are different, and the phantom load concept doesn’t apply here.

The answer to this question is dependent on a few ifs and buts. That’s why we have discussed multiple scenarios that can help you figure out yours’ and decide if your burnt-out bulb is really taking the electricity and increasing your electricity bill.

Let’s explore the truth behind this notion and better understand how light bulbs operate.

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Incandescent Bulbs

Regular incandescent bulbs, when burnt, do not use electricity. This is because only one element in these bulbs works, i.e., the filament. These bulbs pass electricity through the filament; when it heats up, it emits light. If the filament is burnt, no closed loop can form for the electricity to flow. The bulb stops working altogether. Thus, it cannot consume electricity.

Keep in mind that the overall electricity consumption of these bulbs is higher than the modern options we have in the market.

CFLs and LEDs

If you use a CFL or LED bulb and it burns, it can still consume electricity. This is because of their making. They are complex. CFLs have a gas-filled tube that creates light, while LEDs have semiconductors that give light when it comes to electricity.

There is a high chance that the power supply component of these bulbs could still be active, even if the bulb seems burnt. It means there is more than one path available for the current to flow, and this is where the electricity could still be flowing.

However, if the entire bulb is damaged, it will not use electricity. But figuring out the circuitry of the bulb and the extent of failure could be the only way to find this out, and consequently, the electricity usage.

With burnt CFLs and LEDs, the consumption of electricity that you can expect your bulbs to consume is way less than the normal consumption. This consumption is known as phantom load and accounts for Milliwatts of electricity consumption, which doesn’t even show up in the electricity bills.

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Would the electricity consumption of a partially burnt bulb be the same?

The electricity usage would not be the same as that of an active bulb. Only a trace amount of electricity is used in such a scenario. So, you would not be worrying much about the electricity use if you have not removed the burnt bulb and the electric switch to it is still on the ON mode.

In most cases, once your bulb is burnt, you don’t have to remove it immediately because it consumes extra electricity and contributes to your energy bills. But whenever you remove it, make sure to dispose of it the right way.

Taking a step towards proper disposal will ensure you care about the environment and believe in environmental sustainability.

Safety Considerations

While you might not be concerned about the electricity consumption caused by a burnt bulb, you should not put your guard down regarding safety.

These bulbs can still be a fire hazard as the sockets continuously get energy. So, removing the burnt bulbs or turning off the electricity to the socket is better if you don’t want to replace the bulb immediately.

Summing up

The belief that burnt bulbs continue to consume electricity is a myth. Whether it is an incandescent bulb, CFL, or LED, once a bulb burns out, it ceases to function and does not draw electricity in most cases (a few exceptions are there).

So, the type of bulb you are using, the extent of damage in the circuitry, and the same circuitry under consideration would answer this question.

Remember, replacing burnt bulbs with energy-efficient alternatives and adopting responsible energy usage habits are key steps towards a greener future.

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