How Long Should You Leave a Lava Lamp On?

lava lamp

Lava lamps were invented by Edward Craven Walker, a British accountant in 1963. Classic lava lamps normally contain a standard incandescent which heats a tall glass bottle. The lamps have blobs that are made of wax that are melted by the light bulb in the base of the lamp. The wax gives the lamps their iconic look of glowing and flowing. The secret behind the iconic look is that once the wax heats up, it gets lighter than the water that it has been suspended in. This makes it float to the globe’s top. The wax then cools as it moves further away from the light bulb and it becomes denser than the water making it sink back to the light bulb. A lava lamp can be a fun and attractive decoration bound to create a huge difference in one’s life. It can be relaxing to watch and a great addition to your home. However, if you fail to handle it carefully, it may explode or catch fire.

It may be tempting to run your Lava lamp 24/7 but this can cause the lamp to overheat and keep the colored blobs from moving in a fashion that resembles an amoeba. According to Hunker, overheating of the lamp leads to the formation of one large blob that appears to float without changing into other shapes. Note that the lamp may overheat if it operates continuously for more than eight to ten hours. The question of how long should you, therefore, leave a lava lamp on arises. Read on to find out. According to Find Any Answer, lava lamps are not designed to function for 24 hours. It is recommendable for you to allow the lamp to cool down every now and then for the ingredients to rest and keep their nature. Some lava lamp brands take up to six hours to form the lava-like blobs and to flow properly. Although the lamp can provide you with a long warm-up time, you should ensure that you stick to the time limit of operating the lamp continuously to ensure that it continues functioning the way it has been designed to. Avoid running the lamp for more than 8 to ten hours continuously. You can use timers to help ensure that the lamp cools for the recommended time. Once the lamp cools down, it will function properly once you light it again.


By leaving your lava lamp for long, it may end up overheating and fail to function as it is designed to. As aforementioned, lava lamps are designed to create colored blobs that move in an amoeba-like design. If the lamp overheats, the colored liquid may create one large blob that floats without changing.

High energy consumption

In general, the base of a floor-standing lava lamp is bigger. Such a lamp also has a larger heating bulb and will therefore need more electricity to heat the bulb. Therefore, if you want to reduce your energy bills it is recommendable not to leave the lamp running throughout.


As aforementioned, when overheated, lava lamps can overheat and even explode and cause a fire. It is advisable to only run the lamp for the recommended time. Additionally, ensure that you are around when the lamp is operating.

Tips for operating lava lamps effectively

Note that as aforementioned, you should not allow your lava lamp to run for more than eight to ten hours. At times you may find that you abide by these rules but still find your lamp is not functioning as designed. There are various tips that can help you get the most from your lava lamp. According to Electrical Safety First, lava lamp is generally safe to use as far as you take a number of sensible precautions, before and after use and also by following the manufacturer’s instructions. There are various safety tips that you can follow including the following:

  • Ensure that you purchase your lava lamp from a trustworthy dealer and carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • It is advisable to register your new lava lamp with the manufacturer to ensure that they can contact you with ease if a recall is necessary or in case of a safety notice. You will also have an easy time returning a faulty lamp to the manufacturer or if you want to request for repair
  • Ensure that the brand of the plug you will be using matches the brand of your lava lamp
  • Perform regular checks on the socket and plug for sounds of arcing, burn marks and also seek to see whether the plug and socket feel too hot to touch
  • Ensure that any socket you purpose to plug in your lamp has residue current device abbreviated as RCD (a life-saving device that reduces the chances of electrical fires by curbing electrical shock.
  • You should also never put your lamp on a heated stove even if fails to heat.
  • According to Find Any Answer, you should never unplug your lamp if the plug or cord is wet
  • You should also avoid dropping or shaking your lava lamp when it is warm because it can lead to permanent damage like causing the lava lamp to break apart or become cloudy
  • It is advisable to rewire the fixture of an old lava lamp if you happen to purchase one
  • You should never microwave a lava lamp unless you are doing it for less than 3 minutes
  • Avoid removing or loosening the cap on the globe’s top. If you break the seal, you will be ruining your lamp and nullifying your warranty
  • Avoid placing the lamp in direct sunlight since it can make the colors fade
  • Avoid operating or storing your lava lamp in extreme heat or cold because it can affect its functionality negatively
  • How to use your lava lamp safely
  • Always unplug it before cleaning it
  • Make sure that all the parts of your lava lamp are at room temperature before switching it on
  • Unplug the lamp from outlets before you take off or put on parts
  • Ensure that the cords are not near heated surfaces
  • Avoid using attachments that are not recommended by the manufacturer
  • Avoid using your lamp if its plug or cord is damaged
  • When the lamp is not in use, keep it on a flat, cool, and dry surface

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