Do Halogen Bulbs Get Hot?


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Halogen light bulbs have been around for over 100 years and have since been the center of a heated debate: How hot do these particular light bulbs get?

Halogen light bulbs get very hot because of their structure and the gas that fills the bulb.

The halogen gas performs a regeneration cycle which requires very high temperatures. This process, combined with their small size, causes halogen light bulbs to produce more heat than any other light. 

If you would like more information on halogen light bulbs, tips on how to safely using them, or to learn about similar alternatives, keep reading.

Why Halogen Bulbs Get Hot

To better understand why a halogen light bulb gets hot, it is important to learn about their structure and how they operate. These two aspects combined are what cause them to get so hot.

How Halogen Light Bulbs Work

Halogen light bulbs are unlike any other light regarding the gas that fills the inside of the bulb. These halogen gas molecules bond to the vapor and residue from the burning wire and return it to the filament. This process only works efficiently under high temperatures, which is why halogen light bulbs give off a lot of heat.

Additionally, this process also allows halogen bulbs to produce more constant light, as well as have a longer life span.  

Here is a great video that I recommend because it helped me thoroughly understand the unique process of a halogen light bulb: 

The Construction of a Halogen Light Bulb

The structure and composition of a halogen light bulb contribute to why it gets so hot, as well. They have a unique construction, which is why they tend to get hotter than other kinds of lights, such as LEDs and fluorescent bulbs.

As described above, the halogen cycle allows for such high temperatures; the exterior of the light bulb is made of quartz. In simple terms, quartz has a very high melting point and makes it a perfect case for a light bulb that functions at high temperatures.

Although the quartz exterior can withstand the high temperatures needed for the halogen cycle to occur, it can get extremely hot because of how close it is to the filament. This closeness is the second reason why halogen bulbs get so hot.

Now that you know why they have such high temperatures, here is a Youtube video that is a great demonstration of halogen bulbs producing more heat than other kinds of light bulbs:

Typical Uses of Halogen Light Bulbs

Because of their broad light projection and lengthy life span, halogen light bulbs are typically used in large, open spaces and industries requiring great amounts of efficient lighting.

Typical uses of halogen lights include:

  • Exterior yard lighting
  • Automobile headlights
  • Commercial lighting
  • Theatre and television production

All of these examples require sufficient lighting in wide, open areas. I think it is safe to say that we can all agree enough light is needed when driving down a winding road at night, right? Similarly, a car dealership would want the brightest, most long-lasting lights to enhance the shine on cars they are selling to potential clients.

The people around these halogen light bulbs do not feel the heat given off because of the ample space provided in these examples. If you are using a halogen light bulb in an exterior floodlight in your backyard, you won’t feel the effects of the light bulb because it is so spacious outdoors.

On the other hand, having a couple of halogen light bulbs inside your home, in a smaller room such as the kitchen, will increase the likelihood of feeling the heat produced from the light and could be potentially dangerous. 

How to Safely Use Halogen Light Bulbs

If you still want to use halogen bulbs within your home’s interior, I recommend you follow the next few tips to ensure maximum safety and avoid any unsafe risks.

First, I would recommend this 6-pack of CTKcom Halogen Light Bulbs from Amazon.com. They are very versatile as you can use them as either interior or exterior lights. They also are dimmable, which is a great way to set the mood!  

Here are some other very important tips in handling halogen light bulbs within your home.

Cover Your Hands When Changing a Halogen Light Bulb

You should always cover your hands when handling halogen light bulbs for many reasons. The first reason is the intense heat. Make sure you are avoiding potential burns by wearing heat-resistant gloves or mitts.

Additionally, the oil from our skin contaminates the light bulb. There is an in-depth scientific explanation behind this but put simply, the oil from our skin on the light bulb absorbs more heat as contamination and creates a hot-spot. This hot spot weakens the quartz exterior making it easier to crack or release halogen gas.

Use Halogen Light Bulbs Sparingly to Accent Home Decor

If you still want to use halogen light bulbs in your home, try using them sparingly to accent specific home decor.  

Instead of using 5-6 different halogen bulbs to light your entire dining room, try using a few LED light bulbs to provide light and one halogen bulb to accentuate the wall art or decor within the room.

It’s a win-win for you! By doing this, you will: 

  • Still, get the beautiful, warm light provided by the halogen bulb.
  • Highlight your most desirable, stunning home decor.
  • Limit the heat production by only using one halogen bulb.

Keep Halogen Light Bulbs Away From Combustible Materials

If you decide to utilize halogen bulbs in your home, make sure they are far away from any combustible materials.

For example, having a halogen lamp on an end table right in front of window curtains is not a great idea. On the rare occasion that the lamp falls, the curtains could catch fire because of how hot the bulb gets.

Making sure the halogen bulbs are far away from combustible materials avoids these extreme risks and ensures maximum safety in your home for your family.

Alternatives Similar to Halogen Light Bulbs

If you are not willing to risk the potential threats of having halogen light bulbs inside your home, there are many great alternatives, such as these SYLVANIA LED Bulbs, or these SYLVANIA CFL Bulbs, both of which are from Amazon.com.

These alternatives provide similar and warm lighting styles as halogen bulbs do, but without the extra heat. 

These types of light bulbs are also more efficient. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, traditional incandescent bulbs give off 90 percent of their energy as heat. For an average person, this is a lot of money to be throwing away! 

Final Thoughts

Halogen light bulbs get very hot for two reasons:

  • The halogen gas that fills the bulb performs a unique cycle that requires high temperatures.
  • The compactness of the halogen light bulb makes it feel extremely hot to touch.

Due to these factors, it is more efficient to use halogen light bulbs in industries that require sufficient lighting like television production as well as in open spaces that require sufficient lighting, such as backyard areas. However, you can still safely use halogen bulbs by taking the necessary precautions recommended, or you can even use similar alternatives that are more energy efficient.

Alanna Greene

Alanna is an avid traveler who lives in Michigan. In addition to writing for Temperature Master, she also sells crafts on Etsy and takes long walks through the forests near her home.

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