How to Test UV Bulbs

Black light bulbs are one of the most common UV light bulbs.
••• black light bulb image by frog from

Ultraviolet light is a type of electromagnetic radiation given off by electric arcs from some kind of UV light source, most commonly the sun. UV light can cause skin issues, including first-degree sunburns. However, UV light also has some beneficial effects that other lights do not have. For this reason, a UV light bulb can be used to illuminate a lamp in a home. Here are steps to test a UV light bulb to make sure that it is functioning and emitting the electric arcs needed.

    Screw the bulb into a light fixture or lamp. Make sure that the lamp is turned off and unplugged before screwing a bulb out of or into it. This will help avoid electrical shocks.

    Plug the lamp in and turn it on. If there is a shade on the lamp, remove it.

    Bring a white item near the light. UV lights naturally irradiate color on the violet spectrum, but this is naked to the human eye. The only way to see this violet color is to hold something up to it that lacks pigment. A white sock or a piece of paper would suffice.

    Watch the item. If it turns a violet shade, the UV light bulb is functioning. If it remains primarily white, the UV light bulb might be defective. If you are unsure, transfer the bulb to another light fixture and try the same test again. If it still fails, the light bulb is not good.

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