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Thread: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

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    Unenlightened JME's Avatar
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    Default Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    I have put six 100 watt light bulbs in my room. Each cieling socket is rated for 60 watts, not 100. How much of a fire hazard is this? Also how long would it tale of being on?

    My friend every month had a light bill for 100 dollars, then he changed all his lights to the energy efficient bulbs and decreased the bill to 70ish a month!

    Thanks

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    Flashaholic* csshih's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    so why not also follow your friend and change to energy efficient bulbs (CFLs) ?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    I've been putting higher wattage bulbs in fixtures for a while now. Theres no real rule for doing this, just common sense. If its a cheap lamp with shady wiring, it might be a good idea to stick to the rated bulb. If its in close proximity to flammable objects, or if the lamp shade is close to the lamp and flammable, it might be a good idea to stick to the rated bulb. When you do put a higher rated lamp in, let it run for an hour or so, monitor it and check to see if you smell anything burning/melting etc. Chances are you'll be okay going from 60->100W, but don't sue me if your house burns down. Obviously don't try putting a 200W lamp in a 30W fixture...

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    Flashaholic Light Sabre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Six 100 watt bulbs in one room ouch. It's best to follow the recommendations on the light fixtures. They were not designed to take that much extra heat. Get six 100 watt equivalent CFL's instead.

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    Unenlightened JME's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    I plan on it! Lookin forward to doing that...which ones are brighter though?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Quote Originally Posted by JME View Post
    I have put six 100 watt light bulbs in my room. Each cieling socket is rated for 60 watts, not 100.
    There is a problem in that you are running the fixture at almost twice its rated capacity. The wires up in the ceiling are going to run hot, they may dry out, and you could have an unhappy ending. Try CFLs. Look for ones that actually consume 60 watts, not ones that say "60 watt equivalent"

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    Flashaholic Light Sabre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Quote Originally Posted by JME View Post
    I plan on it! Lookin forward to doing that...which ones are brighter though?
    I put two 4100K 100 watt eqiv's in my bathroom and had to go down to 4100K 75 watt eqiv's because the 100's were do damn bright. Both were the GE Energy Smart Cool White's. To my eyes they are pure white. No yellow and no blue tint to them at all. You can get them at Target, and I think Walmart too.

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    Flashaholic* TorchBoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    A CFL that uses 60 W will be the equivalent of a 300 W incandescent. You probably don't want six of those.

    I've seen light shades that melted onto light bulbs because they were rated for 60 W but used with 100 W bulbs. (The fitting was OK for 100 W.) It's not a good idea exceeding the rating. Too much heat really is a fire risk.
    No, a torch does not always mean flames.
    Ian.
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    Flashaholic* MarNav1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    I would consider putting 100w bulbs in a 60w socket to definately be a fire hazard
    (conventional bulbs). They just aren't rated for the heat generated. CFL's should be fine though, none of ours even get hot, only warm.
    Reality is usually scoffed at and illusion is usually king. But in the battle for survival of western civilization it will be reality and not illusion or delusion that determines what the future will bring.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_McE View Post
    ...The wires up in the ceiling are going to run hot, they may dry out....Try CFLs. Look for ones that actually consume 60 watts, not ones that say "60 watt equivalent"
    Where can you buy 60watt CFL? What do you do if you think your electrical wires may be dry?

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* TorchBoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    One of the local hardware shops has some 60 W CFLs, but they're not exactly the sort of thing someone would normally use in a home situation. They're big. Use several 18-23 W instead.
    No, a torch does not always mean flames.
    Ian.
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  12. #12
    *Flashaholic* Patriot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    I recently removed the 4 x 40W incans and replaced them with 4 x 26W (actual) CFL's....wow! The room is much brighter, I actually like the color a bit more, and they're 14W each more efficient. Just for fun, I installed 4 x 42W (actual) CFLs in there but they were blinding. I'm using them in the garage now and they're exceptionally bright even in that much larger space. Overall, I've been pleased with CFL's as long as beurocrates aren't telling me that I must use them.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    As others post, it would be potentialy unwise to exceed the recomended bulb wattage in a lighting fixture.

    The risk is not that of overloading the wireing supplying the fixture, but risk of fire from the extra heat produced by the higher wattage lamps.

    The risk is relatively small, but better not taken.

    If 60 watt lamps are not bright enough, then try CFLs of about 20/23/25 watts, these should roughly equall 100 watt incandescent lamps in light output.

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    Flashaholic* LEDninja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Quote Originally Posted by mpteach View Post
    What do you do if you think your electrical wires may be dry?
    REPLACE them before your house burn down. The insulation is damaged and can not be fixed.

    Quote Originally Posted by mpteach View Post
    Where can you buy 60watt CFL?
    Electrical supply houses such as Graybar
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graybar_Electric_Company.
    Over the internet - google is helpful:
    http://www.e3living.com/catalog/102
    40 Watt High-Output Spiral CFL (200 Watt replacement)
    55 Watt Compact Fluorescent Spiral - 250 Watt Replacement
    65 Watt Daylight 5000K Compact Fluorescent Spiral - 275 Watt Replacement
    Note some of these use mogul bases instead of E23/E27 medium screw base. Check dimensions, make sure they fit.

    Quote Originally Posted by broadgage View Post
    If 60 watt lamps are not bright enough, then try CFLs of about 20/23/25 watts, these should roughly equall 100 watt incandescent lamps in light output.
    In North America they are usually 23 or 27 watts.
    Last edited by LEDninja; 10-19-2009 at 05:48 AM.

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    Flashaholic* matrixshaman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Quote Originally Posted by mpteach View Post
    What do you do if you think your electrical wires may be dry?
    Maybe I haven't had enough coffee yet but I don't understand this question nor some of the responses. You don't want your electrical wiring to be wet! What are you talking about? Romex which is typical for house wiring is usually rated to fairly high heat levels and is unlikely to be affected by a 100 watt light bulb but I'll agree you don't want to exceed bulb holder ratings. Most bulb holders used to be rated 600 watts but I suspect that was part of the reason some fires were caused and may have been the reason most are now rated 60 watts.

    Unless you have a very old house I don't think there is a concern with wiring insulation cracking and becoming exposed from heat if that is what the question refers to.
    There is no important work, there are only a series of moments to demonstrate your mastery and impeccability. Almine

  16. #16

    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    you'll be find wiring wise, i've seen too many fixtures that use overrated bulbs, rating is done by how much heat can a fixture dissapate, too big of a bulb(wattage) overheats the fixture, what can happen?? depends, some fixtures might melt some parts, some fixtures will just burn bulbs quicker.
    rating is done by regular incandesent bulbs, so if you using cfl, dissregard wattage max, if you using halogens, vise versa. cuz they burn hotter than inc.

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    Flashaholic ab1ht's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Silly question (or maybe I missed it in the previous posts)...

    Why not switch to LED replacements? They sell these in most hardware stores now. A little pricey, yes, but they will last forever.

    Not sure if the LEDs will have the color rendering you're looking for, but they are a heck of a lot safer to have around than CFLs. And I believe they are much more efficient than incans.
    Paul

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    Flashaholic* JohnR66's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    LED lamps can last from ~100 hours (cheap ones with poor quality 5mm LED) to thousands of hours for ones with quality power LEDs. All the ones I've seen in B&M stores have poor efficiencies of 20 to 40 lumens per watt.Cree sells fixtures that boast over 100 l/w fixture efficiency and CRI of over 90, but these are several hundred $$ a piece.

    Spiral typw CFLs range in the 55-65 l/w range so are around 4 times more efficient than incandescent. Of course, color temperature and human vision come into play to complicate things, but as a rough calculation, you can take the wattage of the CFL and multiply times 4 to get the wattage of incandescent it is to replace. A 23 watt CFL comes out to 92, a bit short of 100 watt. Since a standard 100 watt incan. bulb is a little more efficient than a 60 watt (17.5 vs 15 l/w) you might find the 23 watt to fall short in brightness. 26-28watt CFL is a better choice.

    If you really want to save, go with linear tube fluorescent. An electronic ballasted F32T8 can reach 90 lumens per watt which is a big jump over CFL. Of course it may look funky in a bedroom.
    Last edited by JohnR66; 10-19-2009 at 09:05 AM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnR66 View Post
    If you really want to save, go with linear tube fluorescent.
    How coincidental that you bring these up! My neighbor just recently change all of his bedroom lighting to these tubes. Besides looking like a laundromat, it is pretty efficient and doesn't give the room that warm radiation-like feeling. Plus it's not as yellow as the regular bulbs he was abusing.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    My friend every month had a light bill for 100 dollars, then he changed all his lights to the energy efficient bulbs and decreased the bill to 70ish a month!
    How's his growth rate?


  21. #21

    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Torchboy:
    A CFL that uses 60 W will be the equivalent of a 300 W incandescent. You probably don't want six of those.


    Based on his first post, JME wants around 10,000 lumens.


    mmpteach
    What do you do if you think your electrical wires may be dry?


    move? *


    Matrixshaman:
    I don't understand this question nor some of the responses. You don't want your electrical wiring to be wet! What are you talking about?

    My bad. It is not that you have moisture in the wires. My concern is that if JSM heats the wires in the fixture hot enough, long enough, he may bake out the plasticizer in the insulation. You combine this with a little vibration, maybe the wire is a bit pinched or stretched somewhere, you start getting possibilities...

    ab1ht:
    Why not switch to LED replacements? They sell these in most hardware stores now. A little pricey, yes, but they will last forever.

    Many of the over the counter LED products are not quite ready for prime time.


    * Not really

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* TorchBoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_McE View Post
    Torchboy:
    A CFL that uses 60 W will be the equivalent of a 300 W incandescent. You probably don't want six of those.


    Based on his first post, JME wants around 10,000 lumens.
    Sorry, I didn't remember that 100 W bulbs at 110 V are supposedly more efficient than 100 W bulbs at 230 V, but I figure 6 x 60 W CFLs could give you 21,000 - 24,000 lumens.
    No, a torch does not always mean flames.
    Ian.
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  23. #23

    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Quote Originally Posted by TorchBoy View Post
    I figure 6 x 60 W CFLs could give you 21,000 - 24,000 lumens.
    I think that we are using different rules of thumb (well, I'm using rules of thumb) in our calculations. I assume that a CFL will be three times as efficient as an incan. I think you are assuming four times as efficient? That led me to compare a 60 watt CFL with a 180 watt incan, I figure that's around 3,000 lumens per bulb, 6 X 3,000 = ~ 18,000 lumens, that's almost double what he needs, so maybe that would be a little bright.

    I use a somewhat lower figure because I have repeatedly run into misleadingly labeled CFLs, and I have come to distrust the manufacturers. What I'd like to do is test some and see for myself what's what, but realistically I know I'm never going to rent time on a integrating sphere, so I settle for just using conservative estimates.

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* TorchBoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_McE View Post
    I think that we are using different rules of thumb (well, I'm using rules of thumb) in our calculations. I assume that a CFL will be three times as efficient as an incan. I think you are assuming four times as efficient? That led me to compare a 60 watt CFL with a 180 watt incan, I figure that's around 3,000 lumens per bulb, 6 X 3,000 = ~ 18,000 lumens, that's almost double what he needs, so maybe that would be a little bright.
    Yes we do have different rules of thumb but (once I realised it) I was trying to get around that by using lumens. According to the table at the link I posted, a 100 W tungsten incandescent at 220 V provides 13.8 lm/W, while a 100 W tungsten incandescent at 120 V provides 17.5 lm/W(!) so CFLs here in New Zealand are a bigger step up from incandescent than in the USA. FWIW a rule of thumb of 5x is used on CFL packaging here.

    CFLs are said in the table to be 46–72 lm/W, and I've seen 63-70 lm/W claimed on the top branded ones here. A total 18,000 lumens would be quite possible, although possibly a bit low for big CFLs at just 50 lm/W.

    I still reckon he probably wouldn't want six 60 W CFLs.
    No, a torch does not always mean flames.
    Ian.
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    Flashaholic* LEDninja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Quote Originally Posted by mpteach View Post
    Where can you buy 60watt CFL? What do you do if you think your electrical wires may be dry?
    Why do you think your electrical wires may be dry?
    Household electrical circuits are 15A. Electricians simply use wire rated for that. 4*100W light bulbs use 4A or 1/4 of normal wire used in household wiring. Going from 4*60W to 4*100W should not be a problem for the wiring.

    Now if your house is wired by an electrical engineer who calculates the exact gauge of wire needed for an application and use that then all bets are off.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Im no electrician but as i understand it.

    Household electrical cuircuits are 20A and 15A. Code even requires 20A cuircuits for some things like bathrooms. For receptacles and lighting 14 guage is for 15A cuircuits and 12 guage is for 20A. For long runs beyond a certain distance you go to bigger guage. Circuits to dedicated equipment can be different.

    That electrical engineer would read the codebook chart and use the required stardard size wires, or for dedicated equipment he would use the specs. No much calculating involved.
    Last edited by mpteach; 10-21-2009 at 07:01 AM.

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* LEDninja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Quote Originally Posted by mpteach View Post
    That electrical engineer would read the codebook chart and use the required stardard size wires, or for dedicated equipment he would use the specs. No much calculating involved.
    Ha Ha Ha
    My experience is exactly the opposite. Engineers tend to do what they are taught in school. Some do not know the codebook exist. For dedicated equipment he would WRITE the specs.

    When I 1st started to work (I was still doing piping drafting) I went down to the shop during breaks. One day I saw an assembler rewiring a piece of equipment built by the R&D department. I asked why - he knew nothing about the stuff. He said "look". I saw a sea of green. "Well its still 6 months to Christmas but what is wrong?" I got a lecture on wiring colours: black hot, white neutral, green ground. Some people would touch a terminal block attached to a green wire to ground themselves (same as a computer guy touching a power supply case) and having green wire running power is a NO-NO. The Ontario Hydro Safety inspector had passed through and had a fit.

    I got lots more stories of the wild and wacky ways some engineers do things.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    How on earth did they think that equipment could ever be certified? How could they even test or troublshoot their own crap if it was all green? If there was high voltages thats unsafe. I cant think of an EE not knowing green is ground. That wouldnt fly in his ee school projects. I would have fired that really bad proffesional engineer if i was his boss.

    I can imagine a non-EE engineer who took one basic electricity course his sophmore year, using ohms law to calculate the incorect wire sized needed to add a light socket to his house or something of that nature, that wouldnt surpise me.

  29. #29
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Quote Originally Posted by JME View Post
    I have put six 100 watt light bulbs in my room. Each ceiling socket is rated for 60 watts, not 100. How much of a fire hazard is this? Also how long would it tale of being on?
    If they are all controlled from the same switch, that could cause problems in itself. The surge current when all six lamps are energized at once can exceed the capacity of the switch to handle (some switches are rated for 600W max incandescent load, however*) and the surge may also cause an older breaker to trip.

    This is because the filaments pass more current when cold/warming up than when they are at their operating temperature.

    Also, if one of the bulb blows, it can cause arcing to occur inside the bulb. Add that arc and resultant current draw to the remaining 500W, and that could trip the breaker before the bulb's own fuse blows (yes, many incandescent bulbs have an internal fuse). Also, considering that many bulbs blow when you first apply power, you can see how you can have the massive cold-filament surge current combined with the arc.

    So now your problem is that you're exceeding the fixtures' individual specifications and you may be exceeding that branch circuits specifications.

    And if it does catch on fire, your insurance company may choose to deny your claim based on exceeding the fixtures' specifications alone.


    *The max incandescent load takes into account the cold filament surge current

  30. #30

    Default Re: Light Bulb Question...100 watts vs. 60 watts

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    If they are all controlled from the same switch, that could cause problems in itself. The surge current when all six lamps are energized at once can exceed the capacity of the switch to handle (some switches are rated for 600W max incandescent load, however*) and the surge may also cause an older breaker to trip.

    This is because the filaments pass more current when cold/warming up than when they are at their operating temperature.

    Also, if one of the bulb blows, it can cause arcing to occur inside the bulb. Add that arc and resultant current draw to the remaining 500W, and that could trip the breaker before the bulb's own fuse blows (yes, many incandescent bulbs have an internal fuse). Also, considering that many bulbs blow when you first apply power, you can see how you can have the massive cold-filament surge current combined with the arc.

    So now your problem is that you're exceeding the fixtures' individual specifications and you may be exceeding that branch circuits specifications.

    And if it does catch on fire, your insurance company may choose to deny your claim based on exceeding the fixtures' specifications alone.


    *The max incandescent load takes into account the cold filament surge current
    The breaker blows anytime the branch specs are exceeded. Thats more an anoyance than safety issue. Exceeding the rating of the fixtures is a safety issue and the insurance companies could deny a claim because of that. Ive cleaned up firedamaged houses, nasty nasty.

    Make sure you have fresh batts in your smoke detector lol.

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