Tanning Lamps Are Not Working

On occasion we work with a customer that tells us their tanning lamps are not working with their new tanning bed, booth or canopy. Defective lamps are so rare it almost never occurs and the issue is normally caused by one or a combination of other external factors.

As an example, the Solar Storm 24S Tanning Bed is often upgraded to include the Wolff Inferno XP lamps with a 15 minute timer and the lamps are the highest UVB rated lamp in the world right now at 11.9% UVB (the natural sun produces about 5-6% UVB for reference). The Solar Storm 24S with the 11.9% UVB Wolff Inferno lamps has been the most popular home tanning bed in America for 5-10 years and we have sold thousands.

If a customer is having difficulty tanning with the bed in that configuration we ask that the customer first make sure the bed is using a fully dedicated circuit with no other electrical appliances running on the same circuit. In some cases customers have plugged the bed into a wall socket that has other appliances riding on the circuit and the lamps will light up (and appear to be working) but they are in fact operating at less than full power and subsequently underproducing output.  

Also, if for some reason the current being supplied in a home is less than 110v, or the voltage at the socket being used is less than 110v, this will also negatively impact the lamps. Some older wiring in homes can negatively reduce the voltage at the socket by up to 25% and homeowners are not aware of this. Your lamps will light and seem to be working even at lower voltages around 90v but when that occurs they are +20% or more weaker in UVB production than when the current is at full 110v power. Finally, some homes receive less than 110v circuit from the utility power grid. Most appliances and electronics will work when this occurs, and the homeowner may not be aware, but in these case tanning lamps will only deliver a fraction of normal output.

In addition, everyone's skin is different and needs different combinations of UVB and UVA over varying periods of time to tan. The Wolff Infero XP Lamps (as an example) are high output tanning lamps that make 11.9% UVB when they are on a dedicated circuit at full 110v power. The natural sun produces 5% to 6% UVB at mid day in the USA for comparison. Some customers have skin that tans better with low UVB lamps of 3% to 5% range over longer sessions of 20-30 minutes (bronzing type lamps) and other people's skin tans better with high UVB lamps in the 6% to 11.9% range in shorter 10-15 minute sessions (tanning lamps).

There is also a possibility a customer is producing quick melanin (red color in the skin) with high UVB lamps such as the 11.9% UVB Inferno XP but their skin type actually needs more exposure to UVA rays to turn that melanin brown as it is the UVA wavelength that oxidizes the red melanin to turn it brown and generate a tan. If a customer has bought a high UVB lamp, and they cannot spend enough time under it to turn the melanin brown, they may actually require a tanning lamp or a bronzing type lamp with lower UVB level that can allow for longer sessions of 20-30 minutes so the melanin made by the UVB can be oxidized and turned brown by the UVA. We suggest reading this page to understand the different lamps (high and low UVB lamps) and how the various lamps work on different skin types:

Finally, some used beds have older acrylic that is either cracked or has been hazed over time due to use of ammonia based cleaning agents. Acrylic also normally needs the be removed and cleaned on the underside with acrylic safe cleaner and if that is not occurring UV penetration will be decreased. When acrylic is dirty and cleaned, or when damaged hazed acrylic is replaced, UV penetration may often be improved by up to 30% to 60%. 

If you have questions about alternative lamp options for your bed you can contact our technical staff at