Halogen light bulbs may last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, but they have additional dangers associated with them. Compared to incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs have a longer lifespan and are more energy efficient. Being aware of the dangers associated with halogen lights can help minimize the risks that come with using halogen light bulbs.
There are a few types of things that can make halogen bulbs dangerous. These include heat, risk of explosion, being top heavy and the potential to ignite combustible liquids or fumes.
Halogen light bulbs can reach temperatures much higher than traditional light bulbs. According to the New York State Fire Administration, a 300 W halogen bulb can reach temperatures as high as 970 degrees F. This high level of heat generation can potentially cause ignition of combustible fluids or fumes nearby.
Halogen bulbs are made with two layers of glass. The outer layer can become weakened by the oils present on human skin. The oil can interact with the bulb glass and weaken it. Over time, this could cause the bulb to explode.
The dangers associated with halogen bulbs can have adverse effects on those near the bulbs. The high heat can cause burns to the skin if touched. Weakened outer glass can cause explosions that can injure those nearby. Fabrics and nearby items could catch on fire if the bulb explodes or if the bulb is left on too close to flammable items.
A study conducted by the New York State Fire Administration and the Secretary of State found that just the heat generated by halogen bulbs can quickly cause a fire. Various items were placed over a halogen lamp in this test. Results include a polyester/cotton shirt burning in 24 seconds. Cardboard ignited in 1 minute 17 seconds, and a piece of pine wood caught fire in 1 minute 43 seconds, according to the study results.
You can take steps to reduce the risk that halogen bulbs present. Place lamps in areas where they won't get knocked over or bumped into. Keep fabric, wood and other flammable items away from the light. Nothing should ever impede air flow around the bulb. Turn off the lamps when not in use, and avoid direct contact with the bulb except when changing the bulb.