Appliance Bulb Guide
When a bulb suddenly burns out, most people assume that they can just go to their nearest hardware store and get a generic replacement. While this may be true for many standard desk lamps or overhead lights, appliance bulbs are not quite the same. In fact, you will likely need to go through an online vendor like Bulb Center to find what you need.
This is due to the fact that it is not nearly as profitable for the average hardware store or home improvement chain to keep every kind of appliance bulb in stock. Instead, they will often stock the most common and standard bulbs (usually just for lamps and light fixtures). As a result, you could end up going to multiple stores without any success. Even if you do find a brick-and-mortar supplier, they may need to make a special order just to get the kind of appliance bulb you need.
So, in today’s guide, we will answer some of the most common and important questions regarding appliance bulbs. For example, do appliance bulbs differ by brand? Are appliance bulbs more expensive? Finally, what kind of home appliances need bulb replacements? We will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s take a look at how an appliance bulb differs from a traditional light bulb.
What Is An Appliance Bulb?
As the name implies, an appliance bulb is specifically designed to meet the requirements of either household or commercial appliances. While businesses usually have contracts with commercial vendors for appliance parts replacements, individuals usually have to seek out bulbs and similar parts on their own. Some appliance manufacturers may have warranties that can save you the cost of replacing a part that has gone bad within a year or two, but appliance bulbs are almost never under warrantee.
Consequently, when you have an appliance with a bulb that suddenly burns out, you will need to find the right size and purchase a replacement. Some common home appliances that use bulbs include refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, and dryers. However, this is by no means a comprehensive list. There are hundreds of home appliances that have light bulbs, so finding the right kind of bulb to replace one that no longer works may take some time and research.
You may wonder why you cannot simply use a standard light bulb to replace an appliance light bulb. There are actually several reasons why this is not a safe or viable option. First and foremost, many appliances utilize non-standard light bulb sockets. A standard E26 light bulb will work with most lamps and light fixtures, but some appliances do not use the same size or even the same style of socket. This makes it impossible (in certain cases) to even install a standard light bulb in a household appliance.
Additionally, appliance bulbs are designed and manufactured differently than standard bulbs. A standard light bulb is not meant to withstand the cold temperatures of a refrigerator or freezer, nor is it designed to withstand the heat produced by an oven or stove. This means that you could end up causing damage to the bulb and your appliance if you try to use a standard bulb in non-standard conditions. It could even lead to an electrical fire or a tripped circuit breaker. Either way, you should never try to put a standard bulb in an appliance for your own safety and the integrity of your appliance!
Refrigerator Light Bulbs
When you open a standard fridge, you expect to see a light turn on automatically. This enables you to see all of the food, drinks, and ingredients inside. Without the light, it would be difficult to locate what you need, especially if your kitchen is dimly lit.
Most popular refrigerator manufacturers like Kenmore or Whirlpool use base appliance bulbs that vary between 25 and 40 watts. However, some fridges use a T8 intermediate base bulb, which is less common but equally capable of handling lower temperatures. The same applies to freezers and refrigerator-freezer combos.
LED refrigerator bulbs are far more common these days, but even if your fridge uses incandescent bulbs, the light bulb size almost always conforms to the standard appliance bulb base size. This is why many people think that they can simply use regular light bulbs to replace dead appliance bulbs in the refrigerator, but this solution is never a good idea. Standard, non-appliance light bulbs are just not designed to withstand cold temperatures. Using them could result in cracked or broken bulbs in a very short period of time.
Oven Light Bulbs
Like refrigerator bulbs, high-temperature oven light bulbs are specifically designed to withstand extreme temperatures. However, most oven or stove light bulbs have higher wattage, typically between 40 to 50 watts. Common manufacturers that use 40-50 watt bulbs include GE, Frigidaire, and Whirlpool.
Keeping your oven lights functioning is very important for cooking. If you need an oven light bulb replacement and cannot find a proper appliance bulb, you will have to cook with an unlit oven. This will make it difficult or impossible to see if your food is cooking properly. You could end up overcooking or even burning your meal without the right kind of bulb!
Range Hood Light Bulbs
A range hood, often known as an extractor hood, is the appliance that hangs over your stove and helps light your cooking area. Many of these stove hoods also have extractors (a vent hood) to help absorb hot air, steam, or smoke. Though stove and oven hood bulbs do not have to withstand the same high temperatures as internal oven bulbs, they do have to withstand a fair amount of heat and moisture.
Consequently, you cannot expect to use regular bulbs on this kind of appliance either. Range hood bulbs usually use 40-watt bulbs, though it can vary by manufacturer. Broan and Whirlpool are two common manufacturers that use standardized appliance bulbs.
Microwave Light Bulbs
Whether you own a Samsung, GE, Kenmore, Maytag, or Whirlpool microwave, you will need to use the right kind of microwave light bulb replacement. Similar to ovens, microwave bulbs need to withstand the heat produced by the appliance. While the sizes are pretty standard (though some use 15-watt, tube-shaped bulbs), you may have to put in the extra effort for the installation if it is an under-microwave bulb.
However, microwave bulbs do not have to withstand quite as much heat as oven bulbs because they are often separated from the heat. Additionally, microwaves heat food using radiation of the molecules within food or beverages. Therefore, the appliance bulbs needed for microwaves do not need to be as strong against high temperatures as oven or dryer bulbs.
Dryer Light Bulbs
Finally, clothing dryers create an incredible amount of heat. Though bulbs are not as vital in dryers as they are in fridges, microwaves, or ovens, they are still useful. As a result, you should make sure that you get an appliance bulb that can withstand very high temperatures and is specifically designed for dryers. Some common manufacturers like GE, Whirlpool, Kenmore, and Maytag often use low-wattage bulbs for dryers — usually between 7 and 10 watts.
Are you interested in learning more about appliance bulbs? Are you ready to purchase high-quality appliance bulbs at affordable prices? If so, be sure to check out the products available at Bulb Center today!