Are Appliance Bulbs Safe for Ovens?

Dear Home-Ec 101,

Does “appliance bulb” mean any appliance?

My oven light bulb went out. The previous home owners did not leave the manual, and I’ve had no luck finding one on the internet.

My Lowe’s sales clerk was “almost positive” that the bulbs that include “appliances” in the list of recommended uses would be safe because of the thick glass cover that goes over the bulb. I also found the following statement:

Most interior oven lights require a universal 40 watt appliance bulb, which can be found in our parts section.”

As the bulb I took out was labeled 40 watt appliance bulb, I suspect that I am fine using the Sylvania 40 watt appliance bulb that I bought (I cannot find any information on whether there are special appliance bulbs for ovens on the company’s website).

But, I could start a fire here. So I thought I would ask Home-Ec 101.

Burnt-Out in Berkeley

Heather says:

Yes, appliance bulbs are simply the standard size for most appliances. Glass has a ridiculously high melting point and the tungsten filament burns hot. An oven designed for residential use, even with the self-cleaning setting, is not going to come anywhere close to the design threshold of the light.

The only time you could possibly approach this temperature would be in a kiln or blast furnace and at that point, lighting is the least of your worries.

The thick glass cover has nothing to do with protecting the light bulb from heat, it simply protects the the appliance light bulb from impact and food spatter. It is possible that if food spatter landed directly on the glass of a hot, bare bulb, the temperature differential could possibly, maybe cause the bulb to shatter.

Don’t stress, your appliance bulb is just fine to use in your oven.

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  1. CJ on April 7, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Using LED bulbs in an oven environment would require one that specifically says it’s good for high temps. As of this date, I’m not sure about any (haven’t looked thoroughly yet), because many LED bulbs are made with a plastic casing as well as other plastic base parts. This would’ve likely been the issue with at least one comment that mentioned they put one in and has smoking. Anyone with common sense should’ve thought “maybe I should not put plastic in my oven, unless it’s a very special kind of heavy duty heat rated”. If they do make any oven safe LED’s they would likely use metal and glass parts.

  2. Ed on March 21, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    The appliance bulbs maybe OK but from my experience with our Thermador oven the glass bulb separates from the base making it very difficult to replace.

  3. Priscilla on October 7, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    I used a Westinghouse LED 40W A15 Appliance bulb to replace burned out bulb in my self cleaning oven.
    Once the oven started the self cleaning, the house filled up with a heavy, almost caustic odor. There was nothing on the packaging that recommended against oven use. The smell was horrible and permiated through the whole house.
    Just wanted to share with others, I won’t use LED anymore and am looking for the old fashioned bulb for the oven.

  4. Aarti Vaghela on July 12, 2016 at 6:58 am

    If we use LED Bulbs (which are quite energy efficient) would be your answer same? Thanks in advance.

    • Heather Solos on July 20, 2016 at 6:34 am

      Only if it is rated for oven use. While I have seen LEDs for the refrigerator, I haven’t seen it for the oven, yet. That said, I also have not specifically been looking for this either.

  5. Lois B on May 18, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    I have put two “appliance” bulbs in my open since my original one burned out. Both failed within a couple of weeks. So I would do more research and find out what we really need.

  6. Alan Partridge on February 12, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Damn..I thought I could use one of these in my blast furnace.

  7. fred on June 28, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    The appliance bulb is fine for the oven or fridge. An led if you can find one that fits would work in the fridge but would burn up in the oven. A CFL if it fit might work in the fridge but they don’t like cold Temps are fragile and would release a small amount of mercury and the glass when it brakes. A CFL would burn up in the oven.

  8. John on December 27, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    LED’s and CFL’s are both not recommended for high temperature applications.
    Please read this to mean ovens of any type.

  9. Ram @BFYH on December 12, 2013 at 5:25 am

    KellyL, I think the answer would be same for LED bulbs too.

  10. KellyL on June 27, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Would the answer be the same if the bulb was an LED bulb?

  11. HeatherSolos on January 26, 2012 at 9:19 am

    That’s why this site is “101” there’s no question too basic for me to address. Heck, I’ve explained how to sweep. 🙂

  12. Craig Sedoris on January 26, 2012 at 7:20 am

    This is really one of those handyman questions people feel silly for asking, but it honestly is a good question, and the answer is even better! Those appliance bulbs are definitely made to go into almost any appliance, and they’re something most people don’t even give much thought about–until they go out. Thanks for this information!

  13. SouthernFriedTech on January 25, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Thank you so very much for the answer, Heather! Now I can get an apple cake in the oven in time for my Mom and my Aunt to come over this weekend!! (P.S.–sorry for the delayed response, especially given your lightening-fast turn around! Today was, alas, one of those days.)

    • HeatherSolos on January 26, 2012 at 9:14 am

      @SouthernFriedTech oh you are quite welcome. The speed at which I answer questions can vary greatly. Sometimes I star the questions and then get hit with an avalanche of mail. Some questions are easy to answer quickly (like this one) others take more research or maybe I have to be in just the right mood because they are a sensitive topic.

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