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Do Lava Lamps Go Bad?

The liquid motion lamps are unique light fixtures that have been around for decades. They have gained popularity recently because of their retro appeal and soothing qualities, making them an irresistible joy for many homes.

However, much isn’t known about lava lamps. For instance, most people fail to know whether or not they go bad. So do they? Like every other product or lava lamp in your house, these incandescent lamps go bad despite their standard lifespan of 2000 hours.

You’ve come to the right page to understand lava lamps’ durability better. This article will comprehensively write down their durability and care tips.

How Do Lava Lamps Work?

Before we jump into why lava lamps go bad, it is crucial to understand how this great fixture works. Therefore, what is the theory behind the liquid motion lamp?

A general lava lamp consists of a glass globe filled with two liquids close in density and insoluble in one another. The “blobs” are forms of wax floating in the liquid water- a translucent liquid which entails colored wax. The liquid is less dense than the wax itself.

Once you turn the lamp on, the heat from the light bulb hits up the glass, causing the wax to melt. Therefore, becoming less dense than the surrounding liquid makes it expand, break, and rise.

When the heated wax reaches the top, it begins to cool off again, making it denser and sinks. The process happens continuously as heat absorption and dissipation gradually slow, creating a beautiful lava-like effect.

Do Lava Lamps Go Bad? These are some of the reasons

Yes, lava lamps do go bad even though they don’t have an expiry date. However, issues pop up, although they are fixable even though the possibility of success depends on the scope of the problem.

Nonetheless, lava lamps should last longer than even the set standard time of 2000 hours without going bad with correct use and care.

How will you know that your motion lamp has expired or has a temporary issue? Keeping them on all night or shaking them cuts on their durability drastically. You can tell if the lava lamp is gone bad if it overheats, is cloudy, or the wax is solid, among other factors. Let’s take a deep look at these reasons.

Cloudy Appearance

You may witness some cloudy appearance if the lava lamp has hit its lifespan mark, meaning it is the end of its useful life. The wax in the glass globe diminishes and partially defuses in the remaining transparent liquid.

Hence, the water loses its clarity, becoming hazy and no longer formulating lava. It is a clear sign of the lava lamp going bad and requiring a replacement, despite the light still functioning.

Additionally, the cloudiness of the lava lamp is due to too much shaking or moving while it is still hot, causing the wax to mix with the liquid forming a clouding mixture. This transitory problem is resolved by simply turning it off, waiting for a few hours, and then turning it on.

Remember, shaking a hot lava lamp is hazardous. Consequently, you must be careful and avoid moving or disturbing it while burning.

All new lamps take a considerable amount of time to get started. Thus, some people mistakenly take this as an issue and shake it. Shaking, especially when done subsequently, results in ruining your lava lamp.

It is recommendable to be patient and wait for 4 hours to see if it starts working.

The Outer Shell is Damaged

When the glass vase is compromised, it is harder to fix it, and it is an expensive repair. Consequently, it affects the performance of the lamp. You can detect that the outer shell is damaged if the wax separates or the lighting is faded. Thus, it is safe to dispose of the lava lamp.

Overheating

 It is one of the prevalent problems witnessed in lava lamps. These incandescent light fixtures should not be on consistently without rest. Failure to turn them off after 8 hours of use causes overheating of the lamp.

Once the lamp gets overheated, the bulb may explode, resulting in dire consequences. Therefore, continuous lighting for more than 8 hours can cause damage over time.

If the lamp’s light goes off, disconnect and let it cool off for a few hours before reusing it. If the problem persists, then it is a pointer that your lava lamp is about to fail.

Lava Liquid Fades Out

The lava liquid’s quality varies from one company to the other. However, the darkening of the liquid in the glass vase can signify that it is time to replace your motion lamp.

A high-quality liquid formulation will produce a robust flow of lava, a more vibrant color, and a longer lifespan. Contrary, when the formula reaches its lifespan, it loses its temper and fades out.

Although such discoloration may occur for several reasons, such as positioning your motion lamp in direct sunlight, the color will fade more quickly than projected. You may get it covered under warranty, but if it has not expired, if it has, then you will have to replace it. 

What to Do If Your Lava Lamp Goes Bad

Once you detect that your lava lamp has failed, carefully dispose of it or recycle it for future use. Ensure you adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines on disposal, such as:

Empty the lava lamp bottle of all the liquids before disposing of it by either smashing or unscrewing the metal cap using a can opener.

Since wax won’t come out if the bottle is cold, you must switch on the lamp for some time for it to melt, then turn it off. Once it reaches a warm state that is touchable but not fully cold, pour the liquid directly into a drain.

Nevertheless, there are precautions that you should observe to be safe, like not overheating it to avoid being subjected to a potentially lethal explosion.

Regardless of all materials and chemicals used inside the bottle being non-toxic, still, there are some safety concerns. The substance can react with other metals. Even further, it may clog your drain if you pour it down the sink.

Alternatively, the best way to dispose of it is to dig a hole in the backyard, dump it, and then cover it up.

Lastly, if you want to recycle it, place it in the recycling stream as you put the other electric and metal elements in the tin can and if you’re going to use it, wash it thoroughly with water before reuse.

Although your lava lamp will eventually expire, you can enjoy the mesmerizing light effect for a long time with proper maintenance and care. You must use your motion lamp in intervals, keep it at room temperature, and protect its outer vase.

It would be best if you never continuously keep it on for more than 8 hours and never shake or move it while it is hot. If your lamp is functioning correctly, try turning it off for a while and then back on.

When you know it is about to go bad, replace the bottle or bulb as required and dispose of the old one as guided. Even though lava lamps have a lifespan of 2000 hours, to preserve their structural integrity, maintenance practices are paramount to their durability.