Safety of DIY project...

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Old 10-12-08, 07:42 PM
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Safety of DIY project...

I want to make a couple "drop"/"pendant" style lamps to hang over my bed, similar to the "paper lamp" style of cheap lamps available at Pier 1:
http://www.pier1.com/TopMenu/Product...paper-lanterns

My concern is that these lamps are so cheap that I'm not certain they're 100% safe. My sister had one of these lamps and the cord caught fire. What is a safer alternative to this style of lighting? Are these styles of cords safe? (This is the same type of cord used in the paper lamp kit from above link.):
http://www.worldmarket.com/home-decor/lamps/lanterns-pendants/Silver-Electrical-Cord-Kit/lev/4/productId/1710/Ne/1100001/Ns/TOP_SELLER_INDEX|1||CATEGORY_SEQ_3065|0/N/1100211/Nty/1/view/10000/perpage/0/index.pro

I would just buy a pre-made pendant lamp but I haven't found one that accommodates more than 40 watt bulbs. I need some bright light for my basement room (at least 60 or 75 watt daylight bulbs) for my eyesight (I do a lot of embroidery) and to help alleviate my Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Any suggestions would be great - I would really like to avoid setting my house on fire
 
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Old 10-12-08, 08:05 PM
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my advice to you would be to go ahead and make your lamp the way you want it. afterwards call up your towns electrical inspector and arrange for a visit so that he can inspect your light fixture because all electrical device, equiptment, fixtures, etc. must be ul (underwriters laboratories) listed or other such testing laboratory. and if they are not which yours would not be after you modify it, they may only then be allowed to be installed upon inspection and ok from the "authority having jurisdiction" (your towns electrical inspector) that is your only legal route. if you want this to fly make sure you show him what you did print out a picture of what you were aiming for show him what fixture you modified and such. if he does not approve ask if there is anything that you could change about it to make him approve it. reply if you go that route i would like to know how you make out.
 
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Old 10-12-08, 08:23 PM
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I would recommend that you only install commercially-produced light fixtures which are certified by UL (Underwriters' Laboratory). To earn that certification, the light fixture must pass a battery of safety tests. Look at packaging closely to make sure it has a UL stamp on it. Many of the fixture available from discount import stores are cheap knock-offs made in China which do not meet US safety standards.

Quality pendant lights are certainly safe when used the correct type and wattage of bulbs as recommended by the manufacturer and UL.

The other major point to be aware of with lighting fixtures is to not exceed the maximum wattage listed on the fixture. A bulb with a higher wattage produces more heat which can damage or melt the fixture if it was not designed for it.

Be sure to consider compact fluorescent lamps if you want good bright light. They are available in a variety of color temperatures which are much closer to the spectrum of natural light than standard incandescent or halogen lamps. Compact fluorescent lamps also last much longer and operate cooler than traditional lamps.
 
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Old 10-12-08, 08:38 PM
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I've considered both "daylight" compact fluorescent and tungsten-halogen bulbs, both of which are supposed to be good as far as the spectrum of light they emit.

My problem is that I can't find a commercially available drop pendant fixture that's appropriate for a bulb more than 40 watts.

I will see if my city's website has an electrical inspector listed...
 
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Old 10-12-08, 08:48 PM
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I would avoid halogen lamps because they get VERY hot. Remember with CFL's the rating of the lamp is the equivalent of incandescent lamp they replace. Therefore if your fixture is a 40 watt max you can use a 100 watt equivalent cfl because its only 23 watts.
 
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Old 10-12-08, 09:15 PM
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Oh really? I didn't know that about CFLs. So if I buy a regular fixture from my local hardware store that says it is suitable for a 40 watt bulb, I can use my 75 watt daylight compact fluorescent bulbs in it?

I had no idea! If that's generally considered safe & acceptable I would much rather use a store-bought fixture than try to make one myself.
 
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Old 10-12-08, 10:14 PM
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Yes that's true about CFLs. They have an actual wattage and an "equivalent wattage" which represents the amount of light the lamp puts out in comparison to a traditional lamp. For example, a 60W "equivalent wattage" CF lamp uses only 13W. The 100W equivalent CF lamps use 23W actual I believe.
 
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Old 10-13-08, 01:20 AM
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Ok, I see. Well, I'll do that then Thanks for all the comments, it's been very helpful & informative.
 
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