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sawtooth 10-02-2008 04:22 AM

porch light and string lights
I have a porch light that says 60 watt max bulb, i want to plug into this light fixture with string lights with a total of 259 watts. I've done it before with small christmass lights not knowing the wattage and it worked fine.
I was wondering if the 60 watt max was because of heat from bulb or if more watts will damage the socket.

Thank You

rgsgww 10-02-2008 07:07 AM

It is because of heat, and damage to the socket. You should ALWAYS keep the wattage to the max or lower, never higher than the max. You CAN start fires like this. With string lights, you cannot go above the rating, or the insulation can melt, cause the wires to short circuit, and start a fire. Keep the watts to the correct amount.

Ultrarunner2017 10-02-2008 07:17 AM

Nothing except a light buld should ever be installed into a lamp socket.
In the old days, we used "socket adapters" and "socket taps". They were extremely dangerous if you didn't know the limitations to the lighting circuit.

The wiring in most light fixtures is only #18, and the socket itself is not designed for much more than the max bulb size listed.

If you are going to use these lights on a regular (annual) basis, why not install an outdoor receptacle in the area?

InPhase277 10-02-2008 08:48 AM

I agree that you should probably have a receptacle for this purpose, but, let's not call the fire department just yet. If you look at the fixture, it says 60 watts max. bulb size. But then the socket itself is often printed with 660 W max. Now, this is actually a throw back to when branch circuits for lighting were limited by code to 660 W. But what it means is, the socket itself could deliver 660 watts of power safely, but if you screw a light bulb into it that is, oh, 4000 degrees just a couple inches away, then don't exceed 60 watts. They still sell, and UL still lists, the socket adapters already mentioned.

If ALL you are going to plug into the fixture is about 300 watts of Christmas lights, then you will probably be OK. BUT, BUT, BUT DO NOT use this for anything else! Don't go using that socket to run say power tools outside. For one there will be much more current drawn than the lights, and two, THERE IS NO GFCI protection there.

Loosen up the purse strings and install a real receptacle for next year.

sawtooth 10-03-2008 02:12 AM

Thank you for all your help, I knew what you said was the right answer I was just to lazy.I have located an outdoor receptacle with a gfi built into it.I just have to find a waterproof cover for it.
Once again thank you for your help.

Ultrarunner2017 10-03-2008 07:30 AM

You could replace the incandescent bulb with a fluorescent one. Those draw a fraction of what the incandescent draws, provide the same light, and don't get hot. Only issue is that in cold weather the CCFL may take a while to start.

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