100 watt bulb in 60 watt rated socket


Old 08-31-05, 11:54 AM
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100 watt bulb in 60 watt rated socket

Very basic question I know, but I have a friend who lives in an apartment and her roomate decided it was too dark so they loaded up all their room lights to 100 watt bulbs. All of the sockets are only rated for 60 and under but when I informed them of this, they said that it wouldn't actually matter because before that they had 75 watt bulbs and never had a problem. Are there any real dangers for these light "upgrades"?

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Old 08-31-05, 12:37 PM
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Call the fire department and ask. I'll bet they can tell you a number of stories about homes that burnt down for no greater sin than installing bulbs of more wattage than the fixture allowed.

If you told your friend that you walked across a busy street while blindfolded and nothing bad happened, would she believe that it was therefore safe to do so? Bad things don't happen every time you do something unsafe, but they do happen. That's why they call it a "risk."
Old 08-31-05, 12:45 PM
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Yes, and the danger is greater the older the building is. Watts corresponds directly to heat produced by the bulb. A 100W bulb produces nearly double the heat that a 60W bulb produces. The light fixtures are only designed to dissipate 60W worth of heat; when you use a 100W bulb, the fixture now has to cope with twice the heat it was intended for.

The end result could just be shortened bulb life and nothing else. But it also could melt wiring insulation and cause an electrical fire. Old wiring was only designed to withstand 60 degrees C; modern wiring is designed to 90 degrees C. So the older the building is, the better the chance is has only 60 degree wiring.

Moreover, since this is a rental property the tenant can be held legally liable if he/she caused an electrical fire, especially one that kills or hurts other people in the building. It is likely a violation of the lease contract also to modify electrical systems which likely includes upsizing bulbs.
Old 08-31-05, 07:19 PM
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If you want more light, install some 100 watt equiv. CFL lamps. For around 25 watts, you get the equivelant of a 100 watt incandescent lamp.
Old 08-31-05, 08:59 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Andrew has the answer.

100 bulbs are VERY hot. Touch one with your finger! A socket or fixture which says 60 watts means the plastic, the wire, everything about it is desinged to handle the heat of a 60 watt bulb......just barely! If it were heavy-duty enough for 100 watts they would rate it as such. Typically a 100 watt rated socket may be porcelain instead of plastic; any wiring in the fixture will carry a higher temperature rating. These things cost money, so many folks will opt for the 60 watt deal, but they need to accept that 60 watt limit and not push it.
Old 08-31-05, 09:14 PM
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Thanks everyone, I let them know and they are going to go back to the old 60 watts.

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