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Can You Use a Regular Light Bulb in a Refrigerator?

Refrigerators are one of the instruments that you will find at almost everyone’s house. It might seem like a good idea to change your worn out refrigerator bulb with a new and regular bulb. 

However, before doing that it is very important for you to know if you can use normal light bulbs in the fridge or not to avoid any possible damage. It will save you the hefty cost of a repair. 

Can you use a regular light bulb in a refrigerator?

You cannot use all types of light bulbs for your refrigerator. Some regular light bulbs can be used, however, you must ensure that they are able to resist the very low temperatures inside your fridge. The light bulbs made for refrigerators are manufactured to handle the cold and not shatter easily. 

As long as your bulb is able to resist very cold temperatures and is not prone to shattering, you can use it for your refrigerator. Even then it is better to just straight up use bulbs that are specially designed for refrigerators since they are more likely to last you a long time.

Other than that, there also comes an issue of it fitting in. it is very likely that a standard bulb will not properly fit in your refrigerator.

Even though it might not seem like a big issue, not only will it not function well, if your bulb is not shatterproof it also has a risk of exploding in your refrigerator which can be very scary. 

LED Light Bulb:

LED light bulbs can be used for your refrigerator without any worry as long as you are using the proper ones.

In fact, refrigerators that are being produced in recent times have all switched to LED light bulbs in place of incandescent light bulbs that were previously used. 

When using LED light bulbs you will have to ensure to use ones that have the perfect size to fit in your fridge properly which is the size E14. You must also ensure it can resist very low temperatures and is not prone to shattering. 

Ceiling fan light bulb:

It is highly suggested not to go for a ceiling fan light bulb when it comes to replacing the light in your refrigerator.

This is because they take longer to light up in a cold environment which can not only be annoying, but it will end up stressing your light bulb too much.

It is more prone to shattering. Other than that, it also contains mercury and that can be very dangerous around your food. 

Do you need a special light bulb for the refrigerator? Does it matter what light bulb I use? 

You do not need any specific or special light bulbs for your refrigerator but there are ones specifically designed for refrigerators that can be more efficient.

These light bulbs include appliance light bulbs or LED light bulbs. Not only are they more efficient, but they work a lot better in colder temperatures.

These light bulbs are designed in a way to work efficiently in such cold temperatures and work properly for a longer period of time. They also do not contain any mercury and are not prone to shatter so it is safe to use.

It does not matter what light bulb you end up using as long as it fits well and is resistant to cold temperatures. However, opting for specific light bulbs will ensure full safety and efficiency. 

5 Reasons why you can’t use a regular bulb in a refrigerator

There are some specific reasons that you must be aware of to know better why you cannot use regular light bulbs for your refrigerator. 


The biggest issue will lie in size problems. The bulbs used for refrigerators are a certain size and it is highly likely that regular bulbs will not fit properly in your refrigerator.

If the bulbs are not fitting properly in your refrigerator then there comes a risk of it falling off and possibly breaking which can be risky if the glass shards get in your food. 

Temperature difference:

Another reason is the fact that regular bulbs are manufactured to withstand high temperatures and now low temperatures. If you use just any regular bulb it is highly likely that it will not be able to withstand the low temperature.


Due to the temperature difference, your bulb will require a long time to turn on. It simply will not be efficient or turn at all in the first place. 

Shatter Proof:

Regular bulbs are likely to not be shatterproof which is needed for your refrigerator.

Since it is cold, you have to ensure that the bulb you are using will not crack under pressure. Regular bulbs come with a high risk of shattering and causing accidents.


The most serious reason is that almost all regular bulbs contain mercury. This can be very dangerous especially if you are using it in your refrigerator where you keep your food. Over time it can cause a lot of health issues. 

What is the difference between a refrigerator light bulb and a regular light bulb?

There are some differences between a refrigerator light bulb and a regular light bulb that you must be aware of. 


Refrigerator light bulbs have a smaller base and thus a smaller size to fit perfectly inside your refrigerator. Regular light bulbs on the other hand have both a bigger base and a bigger size and will likely not fit properly in your refrigerator.

Withstand capabilities:

Refrigerator light bulbs are built in a way that they are stronger and thus able to withstand the very low temperatures of your refrigerator. Regular light bulbs on the other hand are not able to do so.


The filament or the overall structure of the refrigerator light bulb is very sturdy which makes it resistant to vibrations. They are also not prone to shattering in low temperature conditions.

Regular light bulbs are not capable of that and might very easily shatter under pressure and low temperatures inside your refrigerator. 


Regular bulbs contain mercury which helps them work better to their full potential.

Refrigerator light bulbs on the other hand do not use mercury to work because that can actually be very harmful to your overtime if your food in the refrigerator keeps coming in contact with mercury. 

What kind of light bulb to use in the refrigerator?

The most common types of light bulbs that were used are incandescent bulbs. They fit perfectly and are very affordable to use. However, it is not very efficient when using up energy therefore refrigerators have shifted to having LED light bulbs.

Not only is it very efficient, but it will also stay efficient for a very long period of time. They do not require time to turn on and are also resistant to cold temperatures without shattering. 

The widely used ones however are appliance bulbs because they are more readily available in proper sizes. They are also fairly affordable, have a very strong base and filament that can withstand very low temperatures. They also will not shatter. 

Do I have to unplug my fridge to change the light bulb?

Yes, it is very important to keep in mind to unplug your refrigerator and take all the contents inside of it out to change the lightbulb. When the plug is connected power is being supplied to the lightbulb readily.

If you do not remember to unplug your refrigerator then there is a high chance you might shock or hurt yourself. Cutting off the power supply temporarily by unplugging your fridge will help you safely and efficiently change the light bulb.

How to fix light bulb in refrigerator? 

When it comes to fixing light bulbs of such appliances it is best if you seek professional help to avoid any confusion or potential harm. If you are doing it by yourself at home then ensure to follow proper steps. The very first thing you must do is unplug your refrigerator. 

After that check for the door switch and check if any wire has come loose. The next thing to do is secure the lightbulb properly and keep any wires in check because often loose wiring creates issues.

If none of these work then it is best to unscrew your bulb and check if it has burnout. If you notice any black spots or broken filaments then you will need to change your bulb for it to work.

In that case, ensure to call someone professional for help because doing it by yourself can create more issues. 

Final Thoughts

It is best to avoid regular light bulbs for your refrigerator and just stick to your normal appliance bulbs or LED bulbs. In this way, you will avoid any potential problems that might be created by using regular bulbs for your fridge and you can avoid damaging your appliance too.