Electrical Wiring in the Home/ceilingfanlightblowout


all 3 ceiling fan light bulbs blew out all at same time . No breaker kicked out. fan works fine. could it be bad switch, or what appears to be a capacitor. No values on capacitor

Richard, how old of a fan are we dealing with?  Have the bulbs be lighting fine for a reasonable period of time?

I doubt the switch is the issue,  although a carboned up switch with bad contacts could create a "surge"  or high resistance connection,   but doubtful.

I really need history on this,   if you just put them in,  versus the bulbs working for some time  too different situations.

The capacitor device I am not sure what exactly your are referring to,  there may well be a capacitor in the fan itself  but it would be for the motor,  should be no cap for the light bulbs,  normally a ceiling fan has a light kit, and is really nothing more than an add on hanging light fixture,   now sometimes there is a blocking device,  that might be in the circuit,  it's function is to absorb the back emf or back voltage when the motor stops, so it doesn't spike,  but that is also pretty rare, for one of those to fail,    

Got anyway to measure the open circuit voltage at the light fixtures?  I would like to know what that voltage is.

It sounds like some kind of surge or spike,   anything else in the room or house act up?

Any power outages, storms, black outs, brown outs, anything like that?

Lets start with measuring the open circuit voltage at the sockets,    that will tell us what the nominal voltage is now,         

Next we will have to look at the schematic and see if there IS some sort of resistor or blocking device between the motor of the fan and light kit,    maybe it did fail and is letting the back emf act as a surge and taking out your light bulbs,     

But I need some history,  is this a new house, new fan,  or fan that has been there a while and no problems ever with the light bulbs,     

You can change out the light switch, if is a wall controlled switch,    it should be  single pole switch and nothing special,  now if it is a dimmer,   maybe something is going on,     so do the cost effective thing,  if it is a simple light switch,  for a few bucks you can change it out,      but first we need the open circuit voltage,   

If it is some sort of dimming switch, those can cost a bit, so until we know more,  no sense in spending 20 or thirty bucks on a dimmer when we are not sure,   

Get me some voltage readings, and some history in your own words so we can get a baseline to work from,        the answer to your question is yes maybe on either the switch or capacitor looking device,   but until we get more data,  hard to narrow down,    

let me know and we will work from there,

About Electrical Wiring in the Home
This site answers questions related to home electrical wiring, home wiring, general electrical help,and other electrical questions related to aleternating current (AC). You can find help on the National Electical Code, home electrical issues, wiring electrical outlets, installing lighting, electrical grounding, and general electrical help for do-it-yourself projects not require an electrician. If you do not see your home electrical wiring question answered in this area then please ask your electrical wiring question here

Electrical Wiring in the Home

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Will Babbitt


Electrical issues of all types, wiring, control, appliances, components, specialty in Electric MOTOR or APPARATUS trouble shooting, electric motors, electrical problems, single phase, three phase, DC, capacitors, elevator MG-Sets, modifications, reverse engineering, VFD Drives, single to three phase convertors. Repair of most any electrical/mechanical/electronic apparatus, OEM, AC, DC, Industrial Applications, Three phase, single phase failure mode, determining the root cause of the equipment failure BEFORE failure repeats, Antique appliances, electric motors, fans, ceiling fans, base mount fans, poor equipment performance, Modifications, habitual failures, vibration, redesign, obsolete issues, collectible items restored, rewinding. Owner of EMR Repair Inc www.emrrepair.com More information on electric motors, under Engineering/Motors Ask about any electrical or mechanical problems in the home, office, or even at your work. B2B or business to business CONSULTING I can do but it would be a much more complex issue, that would require a significant amount of time. repair@mearservice.com from there we can discuss and begin work on about anything. Industrial electric motors, controls, troubleshooting, vibration, alignment, any type of industrial or commercial electric/electrcical equipment For the home owner, renter, apartment if you have odd things going on, describe to me, photos are normally very helpful, appliances, heating and air conditioning issues, light switches, installation, DIY PROJECTS FOR THOSE NOT EDUCATED IN ELECTRICAL, we can do some things, but for safety and sanity reasons, I may refer you to a local electrician, and help you find one, help you with pricing and even speak directly with anyone you hire if you have issues,


Over thirty years with a major repair and sales company, VP of Operations, and former owner of my own specialty repair shops, MEAR Services local to Kansas City Missouri EMR Repair Inc., located in Kansas City Missouri, 2014 sold both businesses to JCI Industries, Lee's Summit Missouri wbabbitt@jciind.com Evaluation and repair of electrical/mechanical apparatus. Electrical and mechanical repairs, trouble shooting including, vibration and balance issues. About.com provides this service, and the huge costs to provide help on about any subject. They provide the servers, the people to vet the experts, costs that would be the same as operating a good sized business, They should be appreciated for what they do, the huge costs and the great help they provide for free, Electric motor questions, can be answered here but there is a dedicated category that has other experts to help and add to a solution. Other common questions, are noises in the walls, breakers tripping, devices not starting or shutting down for no apparent reason, smoke alarms buzzing, thermostat change outs, or sizing wire or needing information for a new project, but anything can be resolved, anything, with enough effort and patience, DIY, with electrical is possible, but in most cases the use of a simple ohm meter or volt meter is needed, they can be purchased at any hardware store for a few bucks. If you have smoke, or smell smoke, don't be writing me, call 911 the Fire Department has no problem looking for smoke smells, better then spraying water on a blazing fire. DO NOT GET CAUGHT INVESTIGATING AND TRAPPED IN A BASEMENT LOOKING FOR A BLOWER FAILING< As to the tip jar, it is up to you, it is appreciated, every expert spends out of pocket that I know, we spend on IP time, computer wear, printing documents, books, and of course our time, but if we prevent a $400 service call, we did well,

Former IBEW, EASA, IEEE, UL, ..............


10 plus years, various Technical Schools, followed by Industrial College Credit and non Credit Courses, electronics courses, experience in most any electrical apparatus, electric motors and generators, AC OR DC, fractional to above 5000HP, other electrical apparatus, slip rings, sleeve [plain] bearings, lubrication, identification-no data plate, control components, service and sales. I have continued night schools for decades, the list is extensive. I have been in the business of repairing most anything with wires or mechanical parts for decades, I have some helpful hints and directions you won't have to dig up. Or hopefully not have to pay a huge service call invoice to find.

Awards and Honors

Past/Present Clients
Federal Government, National Weather Service, NOAA, Commercial Power Plants, Major Vehicle Manufacturers, Printers, Other industrial and Commercial Businesses

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]