Hot Topics: Max Wattage Label - I Can Ignore That, Right?

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There are warning labels on all kinds of things. Do we really need to be told not to eat the little packages of desiccant than come in the box with your smartphone? Aren’t these warnings just there to keep companies from getting sued, not really to keep us safe? Not all of them. The Forum burns through to the truth.

Original Post: Can I use a 50 watt bulb in a 20 watt desk lamp?

PistolSlap Member

I have a little Ikea desk lamp. The bulb burned out and when I was at the store I forgot what bulb to get so I got a 50 watt one. When I got home I saw it says "max 20 watt." What would happen if I overlamp and use this 50 watt? Like, is there actually a risk of fire or melting with a bulb this tiny or is it just a legal precaution?

Highlights from the Thread

Furd Member

Yes, there is definitely chance of the lamp overheating to the point of catching fire. Fifty in a lamp rated for twenty is two and one-half times the recommended wattage.

ibpooks Forum Topic Moderator

Watts directly equals heat in an incandescent light. Over lamping could damage the fixture and/or make it so hot that you be severely burned from an accidental touch of the top part.

Justin Smith Member

The transformer is probably rated for a maximum of 20W, too.