Ok, so this isn't an all-over easy fix for anyone who's seen a burnt-out light bulb. But if you're going through new light bulbs like Tiger Woods goes through mistresses, this tip can tune you in to what might be the cause of the problem: Check the tabs!
One reader at Ask the Builder saw a light bulb in his kitchen ceiling burn out in an hour. It was the last straw in a history of premature dissipation and he knew something had to be done.
Well the "builder" at Ask the Builder, Tim Carter, answered with a quick fix for what seemed to be a big problem: Grab some pliers and pull up the tab.
Flickering bulbs or bulbs that burn out quickly can be caused by light bulbs that were screwed in too tightly to their light fixtures. A malleable brass tab at the base of the light socket gets flattened out over time and, as contact with the light bulb is broken, it may cause the bulb to appear as if it was burnt out.
He suggested cutting all power to the light fixture with the circuit breaker and using needle-nose pliers to "slowly pull it up so the end of the tab is about one quarter inch off the base of the socket."
But before you put a new bulb in, turn power back on to your device.
"As soon as the bulb comes on, only continue to turn the bulb one-eighth of a turn. If you screw the bulb in too tightly, you will once again flatten the brass tab."
(Top image: Flickr user Krug6 under license from Creative Commons.)