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jomieblumreich 08-15-2009 12:16 PM

Fire Hazard worry on Low wattage recessed lights usng 50w halogen bulbs
Just installed about 28 recessed lights (Elco Non-IC remodling type)using 50W halogen blulbs about 3 weeks ago, and three of the lights would kick itself off and back on. I started getting worried. I called the lighting store that installed the lights and they told me that either the transformer was defective or the insulation was too close??

I have the blow in "pink itchy" type of insulation in the attic.

I heard from this electric supply store in Calif that they are experiencing a lot of transformer probem with Elco. They are gradually switching to the "Elite" brand.

I went up to the attic myself last night to take a look. Boy, those lights are HOT !!!!, If I had all it turned on, it would light up my attics !!! I made sure all the insulation are pushed away from the Can. The electrician did relatively OK job. Some of the lights are in such a location (by the roofline) that I have yet to reach to check.

I love the ambiance of the lights so much that I am schedueled to install 40 more. Am I the biggest fool, or what??

I am so worried now about the fire hazard. I know it has safety feature to kick itself off when it gets too hot. But, it only take one to fail to start the fire?

Please help to ease my mind.

Thank you.

Scuba_Dave 08-15-2009 12:26 PM

Do you use AC?
A lot of the energy from halogens goes directly into heat
I had (2) 20w halogens over the stove & repleced them with (3) LED
Halogens - 40w, 3 LED's = 4w

What type of bulbs are installed....MR16?

They do make MR16 LEDs, many different wattages & styles

I'll be using a 150w halogen torchiere lamp in colder weather when I'm working on electric & insdulation in the new addition - just to add some heat

68 *50w = 3400 watts
68 * 1w LED = 68 watts total
Cost of electric is not going down in most areas of the country

300zx 08-15-2009 12:30 PM Don't know if i am in the righht direction but here is som cfl's

Scuba_Dave 08-15-2009 12:42 PM

I've seen the CFL's too
HD has them, strangely the LED version were less $$

Yoyizit 08-15-2009 01:42 PM


Originally Posted by jomieblumreich (Post 314766)
three of the lights would kick itself off and back on.

those lights are HOT !!!!

The thermal overloads are [probably correctly] sensing temperatures that are too high and shutting down the lamps.
You could possibly dim them, or use lower wattage bulbs, or increase air circulation.

How much on-time/off-time are you getting with the ones that cycle? If the off-time is a small percentage of the total cycle time you are close to getting away with this much heat. A small change might get you into the safe zone.

Skin burns in 30 sec at 54C(129F)
5 sec at 60C(140F)
1 sec at 71C(160F)

Wood slowly chars at 120C.

jomieblumreich 08-15-2009 03:26 PM

I live in Houston. Yes, we have air conditioning running 24/7.

I know nothing about electricity. Sorry about my ignorance.

I have dimmer switches on most of the recessed lights. Yes, the halogen I am using is MR16EXN 12V50W. How hot can a 50W can get?

What's LED? a "cooler" alternative? can I use the LED in these low wattage cans?

There are 4 lights above my kitchen counter. First, only one was kicking off after a while., 3 others are OK, then, another one is starting kicking off. That is the reason, I was up in the attic to see what was going on?

I am having 40 more this type of lights installed tomorrow. The lighting store assure me the safety, but I want an unbias opinion.


Scuba_Dave 08-15-2009 04:00 PM

Reports indicate ~90% of power used by incandescent/halogen light is generated as heat

So each 50w bulb is generating 45w of heat
68 * 45 = a 3,060 watt heater running while all of these lights are on
Usually you need around 10w per sq ft to heat a room
So you have enough to heat a 300 sq ft room

The LED's produce very little heat & use very little electric
They are made to replace the halogen lamps, as are the CFL MR16's
Different lamps are setup differently
So you would need to buy a 12v version instead of a 120v version
--since the MR16's you are using are 12v

Yoyizit 08-15-2009 04:20 PM


Originally Posted by jomieblumreich (Post 314830)
How hot can a 50W can get?

Depends on its thermal resistance, which depends on airflow and lamp surface area.

One time I wanted to dry my socks at camp so I wrapped them around a 50W incand. lamp, so I thermally-insulated the bulb, in effect.

Then I forgot about it.

Hours later the socks were the texture of toast and the lamp glass had lumps in it (which means the glass had started to soften, at maybe 800 C).

I might have burned the whole place down.

BTW, 1W of LED light = 4W to 5W of incand. light.

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