60deg wiring vs. 90deg wiring


Old 10-13-01, 06:28 AM
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Help! I am paranoid about this wiring disclaimer they have on upgraded indoor light fixtures. I have a 1958 cape and the stair lighting needs to be upgraded as it is being remodeled. The drywall and such is all in place and painted, I went to install the new circular style "track" light w/ (3) r-30 flood style lamps and there it was; "If your house is older than 1987, your scr.wed!". I went to the local 'Home Depot' and the fella there (who appeared to have a decent knowledge of electrical concerns) told me I cooooould use a liquid heat retardant if it reeealy bothered me. Otherwise, leave it as is or, wrap it(the old wiring end in the light fixture)in rubber electrical tape and it should be ok. He said if it was his house he wouldn't lose too much sleep over it. Well, I did, used the tape, and I feel 'alright' about it. Should I be concerned? Should I tear th walls down and rewire the whole thing(say no)? I need help, please!. Thank you all in advance for your time, it truely is well appreciated.
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Old 10-13-01, 06:46 AM
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move on no problem the fuse/breaker will take care of it; just use the lamps shown with the fixture at proper wattage.
There is more info. to this but not needed to go into ,its ok.
Old 10-13-01, 07:09 AM
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I partially disagree with the prior reply.

The fuse or breaker will mitigate the problem with the insulation melting due to heat caused by excessive current. However, that is not the concern of the warning on your new fixture. The warning is in reference to the heat produced by the bulbs themselves. The breaker offers no protection against insulation that might melt from the heat of the bulbs.

This is simply a matter of risk. If you were to ignore the warnings, you would join a million other people who have done so too. But this is similar to not wearing your seat belt when you drive -- it probably won't cause you any harm, but it's not as safe as it could be.

If you can practically mitigate this risk, I certainly would. One such mitigation is to replace the last couple of feet of cable to the fixture with new cable. Sometimes this might be easy, and sometimes it might not be.

Other ways to mitigate this risk are to buy a cooler fixture. Certainly fluorescent fixtures are suitable, as are some fixtures that hang the bulbs down, away from direct contact with the ceiling.

So your risk of surviving this installation the way it is are pretty good. However, they could be made better. I doubt that anybody can quantify the difference, but it exists.

Everybody gets to decide the level of risk they want to accept in life (e.g., do I cross the street or don't I). The purpose of the electrical code is to keep you from deciding the level of risk for the next occupant of the house.
Old 10-13-01, 08:36 AM
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Yes, but this is track light, will the lamps heat the feed wires or the factory lamphead wires? That is why I said there is more to this; but would you rewire your house?
That sticker is to c.y.o.a. insurance wise and real info. on the right fixture.ie. drumms,cans...
Thats why I said use proper lamp at proper wattage.
R30 floods are hot but could use lower wattage.
Old 10-15-01, 06:29 AM
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There have been many posts on this subject. The lighting industry is starting to raise panic among consumers, who are being made to feel that their house wiring is inadequate, when in most cases it is not. I do not mean to contradict Wg, his advise, as always, is very informative and very responsible. If I were to tell you to blow off the manufacturer's instructions for 90 degree wiring and you melted down the existing wiring (yours is probably 60 degrees C), that would not benefit anybody now, would it. But keep in mind that 60 degrees C is 140 degrees farenheight. And 90 degrees C is 194 degrees farenheight. Who is making a 30 watt/3-lamp track light that is going to expose the wires up in your ceiling box to 194 degrees F??!? But it's my opinion that the 90 degree requirement on manufacturers' instructions is nothing more than [back-side] coverage. What the heck, why not put a disclaimer on the package that says "This product is not to be installed in buildings constructed of, or containing, flammable materials or furnishings"?

I have long felt that by stating this requirement in black and white the manufacturers were simply blowing off all product liability and dumping the responsibility for the safety of their product on the consumer. And requiring 90 degree wire borders on the ridiculous. What do you think the ratio is of homes that are 14 years old to all homes that are older? How many of those newer homes need new light fixtures already? And how many of those older homes have had a total re-wire to upgrade from 60 degree wire, or even 75 degree wire, to 90 degree wire? .001% maybe? Probably far less! You shouldn't be required to pay for better wire in order to use their product. They should be required to provide better insulated fixtures! The manufacturers want to make you spend the money to install 90 degree wire so they don't have to build a better product. YOU pay to make THEIR fixture as safe as it can possibly be.

I'm sorry if I rub anybody the wrong way with this opinion of mine, but I've grown tired of lawyers and insurance companies writing the instructions and O&M manuals of consumer products, power tools and the like. You buy a power drill, for example, and it comes with a 21 page owner's manual. Now take a look at the seven of those pages that are in English. The first six are "Important safety instructions on the use of your new power tool", and the last page tells you how to stick in a drill bit and turn it on.

So you must ultimately decide what to believe, as we all must. I do not inspect every inch of my power drill's cord for worn insulation or frayed wiring before use. I do not consult my physician before excersizing or taking a Tylenol. And I'm not going to re-wire my house before replacing the next light fixture. I do, however, strongly recommend and abide by the maximum bulb wattage ratings for all light fixtures.

Sorry for the soap box thing. Some issues just torque me. I'll shut up and go back to my room now.


Old 10-15-01, 11:08 AM
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I understand the frustations being spoken on this post. What we have is old wiring that is considered as legal due to be accepted under a previous Code version therefore is considered as existing using 60 degree C wire. However when you install new you must meet the current Code. If you don't then you face what John was talking of.

Now the key thing involved concerning these fixtures are the wording in the manufacturer's instructions that came with the luminaire. If that manufacturer declares that 90 degree C wiring must be used within this fixture then you need to create a junction box before the light fixture box changing the old wires to new Romex type NMB cable then run that new cable to the new fixture box.

Many times this warning that you are speaking of is a blanket warning. You are speaking of a track lighting that should not transfer the heat of that fixture to light fuxture box where the power is connected to that fixture. However you may opt to install a light fixture on that track over that light fixture box, then that heat transfer would be a concern. Check the exact wording of that manufacturer's recommendation. If this is just a generic warning and not specific recommendation to use 90 degree C wire connecting that fixture assembly then you won't have to worry about it. If those manufacturer's recommendation wordings says that you are recommended to use only 90 degree C or if you are mounting one of the track fixtures over that light box then do the junction box before the light box trick to be in compliance. That way you are not opening yourself up to greif with your insurance company and you can feel safe because you followed the manufacturer's instructions as the words say as required by 110-3-B of the NEC requiring you to follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

Kind of confusing but that is the way it is. Welcome to the world full of liable suits in the court system.


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