Sizing Up Your House / Light Bulbs That Prematurely Burn Out

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm

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When someone says the square footage of a house or a room is “so big” should you always believe them?


You know better than that and especially not when you are figuring out the square footage of a house. There are two basic methods for figuring the square footage. For example, some realtors, builders, appraisers and tax assessors mostly use “overall square footage”. Which means they sometimes measure the outside foundation of the house and multiply the length by width. Remember that exterior walls themselves can add a couple hundred square feet easily to a house since the walls

generally are anywhere from eight-inches to one-foot thick. Then multiply that figure by the number of floors (basements are sometimes included if they’re a finished living spaces and have a walk out). This tells you the physical size of the house, but it doesn’t tell you how much “actual” living space there is. Some people are probably interested in knowing the amount of “actual” living space (but I doubt it).

To find the amount of “actual” living space, you measure the floor area of each room that you would actually live in i.e.: bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and living room, but not any storage areas or garage. Then add them all together and you get “usable” or “livable square footage”. Unfinished basements are considered either storage space or aren’t counted at all.

My experience has found that people want to claim larger square footage when selling their house and smaller when the tax assessor measures it. Otherwise, they only care if the furniture fits in the rooms.

I guess the bottom line is, size does matter to some people.


I have numerous problems with light bulbs burning out after just a few months. Do I have a problem or are they just dim?


They may be, but the most likely cause of the burnouts is the quality of light bulbs. Typically, bargain basement bulbs are made with poor quality control and don’t last the average 700 to 1,000 hours you would expect from a premium bulb.

Vibration could also be another possible source of early bulb failure. Whole-house bulb failure due to vibration can occur if you live near a construction site where constant demolition and digging is taking place, or near a railroad where steady train traffic may cause your house to tremble slightly on a regular basis. If the fixture is wall-mounted near a door that opens and closes frequently the vibrations from that could be the culprit.

To ensure longer bulb life under these conditions, you need to purchase the hard-service type bulbs sold at electrical supply houses. Those 130-volt bulbs have a much stronger filament that better resists normal, ongoing voltage surges, heat and vibration and the bulb life is nearly tripled. Power consumption is also reduced by ten percent. The down side to these bulbs is that they put out less light (by about 11-percent), but you can compensate for this by using a bulb of the next higher wattage. Check with your local electrical supply houses for 130-volt bulbs. They’re slightly more expensive than their 120-volt counterparts and aren’t as readily available but they’re excellent for locations where bulbs are hard to reach. A better solution is to start using L.E.D. bulbs. They are expensive but really do last a long time.

Another possibility is if the light bulbs are enclosed in globes, its possible that excessive heat is building up within the globes, resulting in fast-burning bulbs. In that case the heavy-duty bulbs, L.E.D.’s or C.F.I.’s will also eliminate the problem.

Finally, if you live near a transformer, there’s a remote possibility that the local utility is supplying more than 120-volts to your house. If this is the case, neighbors who are nearby will probably be having the same problem, so check with them.


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