Swirling flourescent light bulb?

Im a little scared. I just put in a new bulb for my sink and theres odd swirls, almost like fingers of light sliding around the inside. I just want to know if its safe or if I should keep trying to adjust it. Piece of crap socket, so its annoying to try to properly install. Its in well now, and theres very little swirling. Any side-effects, hazards, etc.

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  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    You said "piece of crap socket" and it is possible the bulb's contacts are not really making good electrical contact. If that is the situation, the bulb will fail quickly as the electrical connection is intermittent.

    You need to get an electrician to examine that socket as it might need to be replaced.

    I have an overhead four-socket fixture which has one bad socket on it that causes these spiral fluorescent bulbs to do what you describe. I put a burned out regular lightbulb into it to remind me not to put another fluorescent bulb into it.

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  • Perfectly normal for a new tube....it'll settle down in a few hrs. Best thing to do is leave it on for an hour or so, if its still swirling, turn it off, and back on again...chances are it won't swirl then...if it still does it may take more time to burn in....or it possibly could be a defective tube. If the swirling doesn't stop after 5-6 hrs of continual on time...you might want to see about exchanging it at the store for another.

    Source(s): experience...have seen it tons of times w/ fluorescent tubes.
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  • 7 years ago

    They do that when they are cold too. Just let it warm up for a while. CFL bulbs really take some time in cold weather to illuminate. Even inside they take time. Some of these bulbs are cheaply made. Buy GE bulbs for best performance and longer life. Phillips bought the bulb manufacturing from Westinghouse years ago. They have never been as good as GE. Off brands made in Asia are even worse.

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  • Jim W
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    The main side effect is a headache from watching the swirls. If you remove the tube and turn it around the problem may go away. Over the years i found the ballast magnetic field and the filaments in the tube may be in a reinforcing or additive position and that gives me headaches.

    Source(s): 50+ years in the electrical industry
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  • 7 years ago

    This is because fluorescent lamps do not light with a steady glow, so they put a phosphor on the glass to even out the light output. If some phosphor is missing to see moving light patterns.

    It's not harmful but it is irritating.

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  • 7 years ago

    The swirling is also an indication that the ballast either going weak or is simply showing a type of electrical resonating. Either way, no side effects....

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  • It isn't the socket. If it's one of the idiotic "corkscrew" CFLs, just replace the thing. If it's a __real__ fluorscent lamp - a tube - try replacing the tube. If that doesn't work you have a bad fixture.

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