Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate


In case my novel is too long, here is a summary:
I was afraid my new lava lamp was going to freeze so I shook it. Now it is flaky. Did I wreck it? How do I fix it? I didn't know anything about lava lamps when I bought it.

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I work at Spencer's, and we're currently shutting down our store because the mall won't let us renew our lease. Since everything is heavily discounted, I decided to pick up a 52 oz blue/clear lava lamp before they were all gone.

It was -30 degrees celcius (no exaggeration) the night I took it home on public transit, and I spent around one hour outside between transfers and walking home. I was absolutely terrified that my new lamp was going to freeze and break, so I did something I've now learned you should never do.

I shook it. Often. I also had to run for one of my buses, and during the run it got shaken very violently. I didn't know! I wish I had, though.

It didn't freeze, luckily, but it seems like the wax has broken into little particles that won't heat up, since it is full of little floating flakes, and when the wax heats up it is full of bubbles to the point of being annoying and ugly. I'm "cycling" it, which seems to be helping with the bubbles, but the flakes just settle on top of the wax when it hardens, and then float around the globe when it is on.

I haven't left the lamp on longer than four hours yet. Should I? Would that help the flakes? If I buy a timer to cycle it while I am not around to do it, would that help? Has anyone else dealt with a lamp that has been violently shaken while it was off?

I've since bought two other lamps (returned as defects -- one was missing a piece, which I just took from an actually defective lamp, and the other one "didn't work", which as it turns out the coil was just on the side... oh silly, angry people) and neither of them have bubbles or flakes, nor did any of the lamps we had on display in the store. I've never had a lamp returned for this reason, so I'm assuming I ruined it. This lamp isn't cloudy, it's just flaky. I really hope it isn't permanently ruined, though, since my store will be gone in 9 days, so I can't just exchange it for a new one like most people who break things that they buy from Spencer's. :P

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Well like you said, what you did, should never ever be repeated again. My advice to you if your'e serious about saving the globe it can be done. Pick up, or use (if you already have); Small needle nose pliers, a bottle cap opener, a strainer, a coffee filer ( the kind that are for a drip coffee maker), a very clean container of some sort, silicone, a gallon of distilled water, and some patience. Then with the lamp completely cold, not run for at least 8 hours, take the bottle cap off, very carefully! Set your paper coffee filter in the strainer. Balance the strainer on the clean container. Begin pouring the liquid out through the coffee filter. Once that is done you should see that the coffee filter allowed the liquid to pass through but not the flakes. Then take your distilled water and pour it into the globe. Rinse the globe a few times making sure to get under the wax block at the bottom of your globe. Then with a funnel pour your liquid back in slowly.With the next step make damn sure that the pressure you exert on the globe doesn't make it tip over or get knocked over. Push the bottle cap back on. Take the pliers and spread them out just enough to get in between 2 of the side by side indents of the bottle cap. Go around the entire cap and push these indents back in. Then take the pliers and turn them vertical. Put the top half about half an inch in on the cap and place the bottom half inside one of the indents. Squeeze. The obvious point of this is to recreate as good of a seal as possible. Check your work. The bottle cap shouldn't really spin that easily once you've done this. Then take your silicone, (it has to stick to glass, or at best smooth surfaces) and make a ring around the top making sure to get a little under the bottle cap. Let it dry. Then stick it back on your base and enjoy the flow.
Forever Ghost

One question, though. Do you think a Brita-water filter would work in place of a coffee filter?
Keep me updated. I'm curious to see what happens.
All right. I'm probably going to keep cycling it for a bit longer before attempting to filter it, since I'm worried that I'll ruin it.
The flakes are starting to settle and it is looking a lot better. It still flows weirdly, but it is getting better.
Seriously here, patience is the key. Just run it like you would a regular lamp and soon it will come around. If it still has floating wax flakes after a week or so of running it every day then you can open the top and pour out 90% of the water. Keep this in a sealed bottle. Let the wax flakes settle back on the lump of wax. Then heat up until you see the wax become liquid and the wax flakes rejoin their long lost mama chunk of wax. After it is all one big happy family (one big blob of wax) CAREFULLY remove the globe from the base and let it cool off the base. This lets it cool more quickly and the slivers of wax will be imbedded with the other wax. The next day repour the fluid back on. Let it settle for an hour or two and then run. I had to do this with a lamp that I got in the mail and it worked like a charm. Keep us posted.

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