Can I use LED or CFL in any fixture?

Old 02-10-15, 10:57 AM
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Can I use LED or CFL in any fixture?

I am about to install a light/fan fixture in a new basement bathroom.

I am looking at this fixture:
NuTone 70 CFM Ceiling Exhaust Fan with Light, White Grille and Bulb-769RL - The Home Depot

I would prefer to use an LED or CFL. But, there are two issues with this fan. In reality, it seems the two issues would affect any bulb, even an incandescant. So I assuming this is just a poor design.

1) There is a screw that holds the light housing to the unit and the screw protudes down a bit. It would hit the bulb and not allow it to be installed. I can very easily, just cut the screw to the needed size.

2) There is a tab in the housing that also prevent the bulb from being installed. For the life of me, I cant image what this tab is for. It may just be a little added strength or possible just part of the manufacturing. Again, maybe poor design. But I can easily snip the tab off.

When I was researching the screw/tab issue I saw on the NuTone sight someone asked if they can install CFL or LED and a staff member said only incandescent is approved. But, it seems normal they would say that since they work for NuTone.

My question, then, is can I install an LED or Flourescent in this fixture?
Are there safety concerns... like staring a fire?
Old 02-10-15, 12:40 PM
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1. I think the screw you're talking about gets a nut on the end to hold the light assembly in place. Cutting the screw off could prevent you from being able to attach the light assembly. You just have to find a bulb that's not so large in diameter.

2. It's not poor design. It's intentional to prevent you from installing a incorrect bulb. Some high wattage incandescents have a larger globe size and the tab prevents you from using them in that fixture.

The key thing you need to look for is the wattage of the bulb you are installing. Not the "equivalent to" wattage but the actual consumption of the bulb. Most bulb limitations for fixtures are due to heat so if you stay below the maximum wattage you are OK. So, a 18 watt compact fluorescent is OK in a fixture intended for a 60 watt incandescent.
Old 02-10-15, 12:52 PM
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1) Yes, it does get a nut, I would need to make sure not to cut it too short.

2) I figured the tab might be intentional for that reason. But between that and the screw, a regular bulb (the fixture specifies Class A in the manual) comes nowhere near fitting.

In fact, aside from a real small bulb (like for a refrigerator light) no bulb could possibly fit.

As I understand it, a Class A, is a "regular" size bulb. The most common size. No way a normal bulb would fit. The tab and screw are both in the way. Im just estimating now (at work and dont have the fixture in front of me), but the bulb would need to be not much more than 4 inches long to avoid the tab and would need about a 2.5-3 inch diameter to avoid the screw.
Old 02-10-15, 01:56 PM
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I pulled up Nutone's instruction sheet. It says that the fixture will handle up to 100 watts. That's an A type incandescent. Review the installation and the bulb should fit just fine. If you use a curly fluorescent, remember that they start dim and slowly brighten.
Old 02-10-15, 05:26 PM
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If you do use a CFL make sure it is rated for use in an enclosed fixture.

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