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Old 04-30-2011, 06:45 AM   #1
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1950 watts on 15a circuit


I have a total of eight incandescent clear service bulbs lighting the interior of a pole barn. Five of the sockets have 300 watt bulbs and three have 150 watt bulbs. No light switch - these are all wired to one 15 amp circuit, with the breaker used to turn them all on/off. All wiring is 12/2. My questions, and thanks in advance for your patience if this has been answered elsewhere:
- 1950w/120v = 16.25 amps, so this is obviously overloaded. Can I simply replace the 15 a breaker with a 20 a and consider it fixed?
- Two of the sockets using 150 watt bulbs are newer (all else is 30 years old), and are standard ceramic bulb sockets. Is it OK to use these higher-wattage bulbs in the standard ceramic sockets you can buy anywhere?
- Is it a bad deal to be using the breaker for a main switch? If so, and I should look at installing an actual switch inline, can I use something standard?
Thank you for any/all help and input!

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Old 04-30-2011, 07:46 AM   #2
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1950 watts on 15a circuit


If you are positive that all wiring on that circuit is #12, yes you can swap the 15A for a 20A breaker.

There is a chart inside the recessed fixture that tells what lamp can be used with the trim ring you have. Do not exceed that. Most fixtures have a overtemp device(self resetting) that will break the circuit in the event of overheating.

General(one outlet) and ceiling lighting in residential homes require a switch at the entry point of each room.

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Old 04-30-2011, 09:04 AM   #3
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1950 watts on 15a circuit


Even the ceramic sockets that leave the lamp completely exposed have a maximum wattage rating.

Substituting a higher wattage socket in a fixture orignally meant for a lower wattage lamp does not let you put in a higher wattage lamp.

If temperatures don't get too low then you can install additional fixtures with compact fluorescent lamps, or install fluorescent fixtures, and not use so many incandescent lamps.
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Old 04-30-2011, 11:13 AM   #4
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1950 watts on 15a circuit


If you going to use this in the pole barn building as long you are not storing hay bales at all you should be ok.

But if you going use them pretty often then I will suggest to use the flourscent bulb they have super compact flourscent bulb that can screw in the keyless socket I know one monster one at 42 watts that will be simaur to 300 watter.

Otherwise a four footer T-8 flourscent bulb will fit the situation very well.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 05-01-2011, 04:15 PM   #5
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1950 watts on 15a circuit


Thank you guys very much for the help. The socket boxes I have 300w bulbs in are nailed to the bottom chords of the barn roof trusses and are 20' off of the ground. These big bulbs are the only things I've tried that provide adequate light when needed. I'm going to change over to a 20a breaker. If the circuit draws 16.25a now and the 15a breaker doesn't ever trip, it's probably bad anyway. Thanks again - really appreciate it!
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Old 05-01-2011, 06:32 PM   #6
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1950 watts on 15a circuit


The larger CFL lights such as the 48w version will put out as much
light as a 250w incandesant lamp.
So using all 48w lamps will give you almost the same amount
of light but with much less heat ( good for the lamp bases).
Also use much less power.
Worth considering.



Quote:
Originally Posted by oewoods View Post
Thank you guys very much for the help. The socket boxes I have 300w bulbs in are nailed to the bottom chords of the barn roof trusses and are 20' off of the ground. These big bulbs are the only things I've tried that provide adequate light when needed. I'm going to change over to a 20a breaker. If the circuit draws 16.25a now and the 15a breaker doesn't ever trip, it's probably bad anyway. Thanks again - really appreciate it!
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Old 05-01-2011, 06:47 PM   #7
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1950 watts on 15a circuit


Quote:
Originally Posted by oewoods View Post
I'm going to change over to a 20a breaker.
WHY was it a 15 to begin with?
Someone probably thought "Oh, I can 'upgrade' later if I need to."

Quote:
Originally Posted by oewoods View Post
If the circuit draws 16.25a now and the 15a breaker doesn't ever trip, it's probably bad anyway.
Not necessarily.
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Old 05-01-2011, 08:25 PM   #8
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1950 watts on 15a circuit


Quote:
Originally Posted by oewoods View Post
Thank you guys very much for the help. The socket boxes I have 300w bulbs in are nailed to the bottom chords of the barn roof trusses and are 20' off of the ground. These big bulbs are the only things I've tried that provide adequate light when needed. I'm going to change over to a 20a breaker. If the circuit draws 16.25a now and the 15a breaker doesn't ever trip, it's probably bad anyway. Thanks again - really appreciate it!
16.25A should not trip a 15A breaker very quickly. It should take a very long time, if at all, so it's probably working fine.

You might be pleasantly surprised by replacing those 300W lamps with compact fluorescent. I did in my old shop, and got more light per fixture.

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