Home » Electrical Wiring Directory
« Control Two Outdoor Light Fixtures with a Motion Detector Magnetic Ballast and Electronic Ballast on the Same Circuit »


What Size Light Bulb Is Safe For Fixtures?

   
©Copyright - Summary:

Light Fixtures Light Sockets Lamps and Light Bulbs: Guide for Selecting the Right Size Light Bulb, CAUTION: Installing the Wrong Size Light Bulb Can be Dangerous!


The Wrong Size Light Bulb Can Be Dangerous!

Electrical Question: Replacing Light Bulbs in Light Fixture Lamp Sockets.

  • An over simple question to ask here, but places on the internet have incomplete or wrong answers.
  • I have an existing light fixture with five “standard” base lamp sockets. Each socket says 660Watt 250Volt.
  • I know what it means when a single sockets fixture says 60W/125V, but I’m unclear on what this means and in particular I need to know what the maximum watt bulb I can use in each socket is.
  • Obviously it isn’t running at 250V, and it seems clear that whatever the 660W means it covers all the sockets not just one. Does it mean I could put up to a 132W bulb in each socket?

I feel fairly safe just putting a 60W bulb in each one, but we’d actually like more if possible. This is a chandelier kind of fixture, and the bulbs are the small globe-type bulbs, 14W CF bulbs put in by the previous owner – the light is inadequate and even after being on for a while, these flicker too much. I understand there are more expensive CF bulbs that are better, but this light gets turned off and on a lot, so I’m leaning towards going with incandescent. Thus the desire to know about maximum wattage.

Background: Ed, a Homeowner from Amherst, MA.
See more about Home Wiring for Massachusetts

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your home electrical question Ed.

Light Fixtures, Lamps, Light Sockets and Light Bulbs

Guide for Selecting the Right Size Light Bulb

  • Light Socket Rating
    • The printing on the socket is what the socket is rated for, and I would only trust that if the socket had a UL stamp on it.
  • Light Fixture Specifications
    • Just because the socket has its rating listed you still need to see what the light fixture manufacturer specifies for the type and highest watt size light bulb that is allowed.
  • Light Bulb Size
    • Installing the wrong size light bulbs can be dangerous because of the amount of heat that can be produced from the light bulb.

More about Light Bulbs and Light Fixtures

Electrical Safety

Lighting For The Home

cfl bulb

  • An informative series about do-it-yourself lighting for the home that will reveal several options for improving your home lighting. This guide will help educate you about several options and styles available for your next home improvement project.

« Cause of No Power to a Home Electrical Circuit Wire Connections for 3-Wire Range Cords »


Learn How to Wire it Right with my
Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring
Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, and Electricians
Includes:
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electrical Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
Troubleshooting and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
Electrical Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

» Click here to learn more about Home Electrical Wiring «
  repair electrical wiring  


Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.

Comments

8 Responses to “What Size Light Bulb Is Safe For Fixtures?”
  1. Dominique says:

    When shopping for light bulbs, I only take into consideration the wattage regardless of the shape of the bulb. I have often wondered why some bulbs are marked for chandeliers upside or some downside. Does the position of the light bulb really make a difference? Thanks.

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Dominique,
      Yes the attitude of the light bulb will make a difference especially with chandeliers. The reason why is the construction of the light bulb, particularly the fulfillment, which may be mounted vertical or horizontal which will have an effect on the type of light that will be produced and the shadow that will be dispersed as a result of the internal construction of the lamp. You may also see light bulbs that are specifically for ceiling fans. A ceiling fan light bulb has a heavy duty filament what will withstand the natural vibrations that are produced by the ceiling fan. Heavy duty light bulbs are also know as Rough Service light bulbs and have a 130 volt rating, and they will last much longer than a standard light bulb. Mechanics and other service people who use a drop light generally use a 130 volt Rough Service light bulb which will take much more abuse.
      I hope this helps,
      Dave

  2. Joe says:

    Can a 200 watt incandescent light bulb be used safely in a ceiling ceramic fixture socket marked 660w 250v

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Joe,
      The light socket is marked 660w 250v because that is the maximum rating of the socket, however that does NOT mean that is the recommended or allowed size light bulb for that specific light fixture. The size of the light bulb for the light fixture should be specified in the instruction sheet that came with the light fixture. There may be a label inside the light fixture or around the base of the light socket with the allowed or limited size light bulb for that light fixture.
      Dave

  3. Catherine Chambers says:

    Is it safe to have a light fixture that holds multiple light bulbs, but put only one bulb in it?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Catherine,
      With incandescent light fixtures you do not have to have bulbs in all of the light sockets, but having an open light socket that is energized is not a real good idea if the fixture is in an accessible location where fingers or objects may be a problem. It may be better to slightly unscrew the lamp so that it does not make connection and still occupy the space, or install a lamp that is burnt out.
      I hope this helps.
      Dave

  4. Indy says:

    I have the same problem as the last guy. What does the 660w/250v mean. I have a fixture on a mirror (two one on each side of the mirror) and it says the same thing. I need to use it now and realize many years ago I must have just put a 15watt bulb in it. I would like to put a larger bulb but there is no way to find the manufacturer of this to ask. Is there a way to decipher what this means.

    like the last person I am not able to find anyone to tell me what these numbers mean.

    Thank you

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Indy, the numbers that are found on the light socket are the maximum rating for the Light Socket ONLY. This obviously does not mean that you can safely use a 660 watt light bulb in your light fixture, besides, it will most likely cause a house fire. This is why I say to go back to the light fixture instruction sheet or look on the box to see what is the specified size light bulb. Yes, I know that this is not possible for older light fixtures, so the other place to look is on the light fixture housing. Many times there will either be a imprinted stamp or a label that shows the size light bulb to use. If nothing is found then I would suggest finding a similar light fixture at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot hardware store and see what the specs are. Often you will find that 60 watts is the standard size light bulb, but it is best to find out for sure.

Click here to Ask a Detailed Home Electrical Question and get an Instant Reply.

To Our Valued Visitors:
If you are asking a Quick Question please make sure it is about The SAME TOPIC:
What Size Light Bulb Is Safe For Fixtures?


Comments Posted here are Open for Quality Discussion and Participation.



*