Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hey all,

I've been pondering a lava lamp for a long while now but hadn't come across locally in the wild that spoke to me until I ran into one at a recent estate sale for $4. It is, I think, sage green wax in a sort of aqua blue water. The first day I ran it there seemed to be a lot of bubbles in the wax but those were essentially gone the next day.

However, the wax seems to have these white "fragments" in it. They are small and more white when first turned on but it seems like they expand and become more pale as the lamb heats up. Some will often collect around the top within the wax but eventually come back down at some point. Is this normal for this specific wax? I've seen very few pics of lamps with this same combination but a few of them seem to have these same "fragments" in them.

Additionally, the water level seems low in this one. I know replacing it seems very complicated but can these be topped off with something?

Finally, I've read not to run them more than 8-10 hours a day so added a timer. It seems to take about 2 to 3 hours to really flow well. Is it safe to run them every day without issue?

I'm adding two pictures taken the second say I had it.

Thanks all!

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Sometimes the coil will corrode over time and leave nasty chucks in your wax. Let your lamp cool and check the bottom to see if that's the case.

Topping off your lamp with regular water will change the density of the liquid and might change how the lamp flows and behaves. There are several threads that discuss the chemistry of the master fluid that you should check out! 

Unless your globe has any cracks or hairline fractures it should be fine to run them for a few hours every day. 

Thanks. The coil in the bottom looks pretty clean from what I can see. None of these white bits seem particularly connected to it. They are just randomly through the wax except for the ones that end up at the top.

The fluid level looks pretty normal to me for these older screw-top globes.  If it flows good (and it looks like it does in the pic) I wouldn't chance topping it off.

Those white wax bits are unfortunately fairly common with older globes, but although somewhat unsightly they don't normally affect the flow.

Running daily is safe, but keep in mind that the wax does have a limited lifespan.  Limited being thousands of hours.

Personally, on a normal day my lamps are on for about five or six hours.  Sometimes longer on weekends.  

Thanks very much, Keith!

It does indeed seem to flow rather well. The white wax bits don't seem to be a problem, indeed, they add interest to the wax itself - it's only when they gather around the top that they're a bit unsightly I guess.

I've moved this one into my bedroom and the room is on the cold side. It seems to take about 3 hours to flow nicely but once it gets going it looks fine.

I think this one had been sitting unused for a long time as it was quite dusty/dirty when I got it and wondered if the water level needed to be addressed but glad to hear it's not an issue.

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