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Name: Janice
Status: other
Grade: other
Location: MI 
Country: N/A
Date: 12/20/2004

Are light bulbs affected by cold? Do they need to "warm up" to room temp. before they are used or turned on? I recently moved my light bulb storage from inside the house to out in the garage, which gets cold in the winter. Never gave this a thought until now.

Storage at low temperature by itself should have no effect on the lifetime or brightness of incandescent lights. However, when bringing in one into the house you should allow a few minutes for the bulb to "warm up" a bit for two reasons:

1. The glass is not necessarily shatter proof and may crack because glass is fairly brittle.

2. Moisture may condense on the base and cause the bulb to "short out" when installed. Both of these are not highly likely, but what difference does a couple of minutes make.

Vince Calder

Light bulbs are not affected by storage in cold or warm temperatures.

Incandescent bulbs make light by heating a tungsten filament. These can operate from the arctic to inside a hot oven. Same for bulbs used in street lights or lighting stadiums. They are designed to be stored and operated in all climates.

Fluorescent bulbs need to generate an electric plasma inside, and often don't work well at winter temperatures. A special "ballast" (the inductor) is needed.

The new compact fluorescent bulbs that screw into normal bulb sockets take a few seconds to turn on, but seem to work fine both winter and summer.

Bob Erck

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