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Richo 10-17-2010 12:35 AM

Light bulb sockets and wattage ratings
Hello everyone

I am a little confused by light sockets and their wattage limitations.

I have a ceiling fan that came with 2 candelabra sockets/bulbs but it is not nearly bright enough for the room. I took 2 porcelain standard light bulb sockets from an old fixture I had laying around and installed these in place of the other sockets so I can go with brighter bulbs.

Here's where the confusion comes. The engraving on the sockets themselves say 250V/650W and the wiring is 16 gauge, but then there is a sticker on each socket that says maximum 60W bulb. If I remember my electrical theory correctly, even if I use 2 - 100W bulbs, that comes out to less than 2 amps, something easily handled by the 16 gauge wire.

What is the reason for the 60W limitation on a seemingly heavy duty socket and what is the problem if I wanted to use 100W bulbs?

Thanks for clearing this up.

kbsparky 10-17-2010 01:08 AM

Heat from those 100 watt bulbs will "cook" the wiring above them, causing a fire hazard.

While the sockets themselves can probably handle the load, the excess built-up heat from such large bulbs is the danger here.

You could safely use 23 or 26 watt cfl bulbs which would provide a similar amount of light with much less heat than 100 watt incandescent bulbs.

frenchelectrican 10-17-2010 02:27 AM

Also becarefull with some ceiling fan bulbs some will have wattage limting device in there so if you get over the X numbers of watts it will shut off or won't come on until you stay below the wattage.

Now I know you can install the CFL bulbs in there but if they flicker like nuts stick one indentscent bulb that will useally stop the flickering.

I know there is couple other ways you can do but I just can't tell in this fourm for safety reason.


AllanJ 10-17-2010 08:42 AM

The wattage sticker depends on how close the bulb is to other things above and whether the bulb is enclosed.

THe 650 watt socket rating probably applies only when the bulb is positioned base down or sideways with no shade or cover.

Standard screw in light bulbs in the U.S. (medium base) rarely have wattages over 300. There is a larger base (mogul) for which incandescent bulbs up to about 1000 watts are equipped, also a number of mercury and sodium bulbs use this size base.

bvgas 12-19-2014 07:55 AM

So taking this further - I want to use a lamp socket that's rated for 660W and place a screw in socket outlet also rated at 660W in that lamp socket to plug in an extension cord (For CHristmas lights so I can control them from the wall switch). I would remove any bulb in that socket so no heat is being generated - What determines my safe wattage capacity - the socket rating itself of 660W or the "max" bulb rating?

Oso954 12-19-2014 10:42 AM

Plugging into a socket eliminates the ground. The circuit the light is on is probably not GFCI protected.

You would be far better off starting at a GFCI'ed outdoor receptacle. You can get a plugin remote control switch similar to this one.
They also come with multiple receptacle versions that would allow more than one extension cord to be controlled by the remote.

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