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Old 12-05-2008, 04:27 PM   #1
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what does this tag mean?


I recently bought a new ceiling light fixture to replace the one thats currently in my family room.
On the new fixture there is a tag that states this:

Min 90 degrees C supply conductors
Caution: Risk of fire.
Most dwellings built before 1985 have supply wire rated 60 degrees C.
Consult a qualified electician to ensure correct branch circuit conductor.

My house was built around 1967, so does this mean I can't use this fixture in my home?

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Old 12-05-2008, 04:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRIK-56 View Post
My house was built around 1967, so does this mean I can't use this fixture in my home?
Basically yes.

Those labels are a freakin' joke! Written by lawyers and insurance companies.
They fail to realize how much safer new flush mount fixtures are with the thick bat of insulation behind them. The problem was that too many folks used too large of a lamp(s) and lots of folks used to pull the insulation out from newer fixtures.


I don't know what to tell you. The ONLY legal fix it is make the existing box a junction box and run a whip of newer NM (or MC) cable to a new box.
If this is between floors this is almost impossible without having a blank plate on the ceiling.

My solution would be to get a semi-flush fixture where the lamps are not so close to the ceiling plate. This usually avoids the temperature issue.

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Old 12-05-2008, 04:33 PM   #3
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The new THHN wires used in today's cable have insulation rated to 90C, while the older was 60C I think.
The warning is to protect you (and the manufacturer from you suing them) when you use the maximum wattage in the fixture.

I'm not sure what kind of fixture you said it is. Does it take standard incandescent bulbs?
If so, you can replace them with the screw-in CCFL (you know the ones you see in all the HD and Lowes) to produce the same amount of light while drawing much less power, and producing much less heat.
Otherwise, just don't use the max wattage bulbs the fixture is rated for.
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:39 PM   #4
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While KE2KB's advice is logical it is not code compliant, which is why I didn't mention it.

I have to say though, I don't think the companies had you or your safety in mind when putting that tag on. They had THEIR bottom line in mind.
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:47 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
I have to say though, I don't think the companies had you or your safety in mind when putting that tag on. They had THEIR bottom line in mind.
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:50 PM   #6
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Thanks for the quik replys guys!
The fixture is a 3 light flush mount type. It uses standard size bulbs.
It has another tag that says max 60W bulbs.
I had planned to use the new CFL type bulbs with either a 19 or 23 watt rating, which is equal to a 75W or 100W standard bulbs.
Do you think I would be OK to use the fixture as long as I used these type bulbs?

Also, another question.
The new fixture has black and white wires.
The directions say to wire black to black and white to white, BUT my wiring has black wires and BROWN wires, no white!
I am assuming I treat the brown wires as the white, correct or not?
Thanks for your help!
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Old 12-05-2008, 05:05 PM   #7
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You need to find out which wire (black or brown) is hot and which is neutral. A long single conductor wire stretched across the room from a known neutral or ground might help.

A tremendous amount of heat can build up inside an enclosed flush mount fixture with incandescent lamps in it, particularly oversize lamps the next owner of the house screwed in. It is not unusual to find the feed wires entering a fixture to have cracked and/or brittle insulation from lamp heat over the decades.

Last edited by AllanJ; 12-05-2008 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRIK-56 View Post
Also, another question.
The new fixture has black and white wires.
The directions say to wire black to black and white to white, BUT my wiring has black wires and BROWN wires, no white!
I am assuming I treat the brown wires as the white, correct or not?
The reason the wire is brown is because what Allan said. That wire WAS white.
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Old 12-05-2008, 08:36 PM   #9
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Heat rises. High wattage light bulbs get very hot.

In the past, this heat has caused the insulation on wiring to disintegrate. You pull out an old light fixture and the insulation on the wiring has crumbled and just comes off the wires more as you move them around.

Needless to say this is dangerous! Especially if the fixture is part of a metal bathroom medicine cabinet! Insulation falls off of wires, bare wire touches the metal case, you touch metal case and get electrocuted!

So they now have a requirement to use wiring which will hold up to the heat.

The damaged wiring looks like this...

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Old 12-05-2008, 08:43 PM   #10
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If the fixture uses XXXw worth of bulbs, you can get the lower temp. rise, to 60C, by using half that wattage (calculation available on request)!

I brought up this derating issue to UL, and they knew exactly what I was talking about and what I meant, but they refused to sign on with it.
Their objection was that the fixture wasn't relabelled as to using the lower wattage, with a permanent label.

Imagine if you used 10w bulbs in that fixture. Would you get 90C insulation temps?

The customer whose house had this had almost every fixture with lamps in them over the max.
Nobody reads those labels.
I think the worst that happened over decades is that the insulation became more brittle than it would otherwise be.

Speaking of which, I saw an IKEA bathroom fixture with a 13w flourescent, and the packaging called for 105C wire. No way is a fixture with that surface area and dissipating only 13w going to come anywhere near 105C.
UL told me that kind of wire is only for commercial buildings. Then they wanted me to go back to IKEA and do some detective work for them, for free.
Not!

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Old 12-05-2008, 09:34 PM   #11
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Billy Bob, the damage caused in the photo is from over wattage. Plain and simple.
It's the bigger is better philosophy, and it's repercussions.
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:13 AM   #12
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It is highly unlikely you want to rewire the house just to hang a light. And of course it would be bad advice to just say "hang it anyway". But there may be an easier solution, even if it isn't exactly standard. You could sleeve your wires with some heat shrink tubing, maybe a couple of layers. Or, if you can find it, the high temperature braided insulation that sleeves the wires in some fixtures and appliances. I can't remember the name of it. Someone else here may be able to conjure up a link. You may find some in an old appliance like a stove.
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InPhase277 View Post
the high temperature braided insulation that sleeves the wires in some fixtures and appliances.
Pretty good idea.
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...al&btnG=Search
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:28 PM   #14
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I would just go with the CCFL lamps. They will not generage nearly as much heat as the normal 60W incandescent lamp, and you should be able to get away with using the higher wattage ones due to that fact. You get more light for less electricity and less heat.

The real problem was identified by Speedy Petey. The bigger is better philosophy. Guaranteed that 95% of all homeowners do not read those little labels, and even if they did, they would have forgotten what it said the next time they change the bulb and want more light.
Personall, I have always paid attention to those labels. I am now using CCFL bulbs instead. I love them.
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Old 12-08-2008, 01:54 PM   #15
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Use of ccfl bulbs is not going to cut it, with the local codes, because it doesn't assure that incandescents will not be used as replacement someday. So in my area of the country we have been down this road with the inspectors many times. As a result the bottom line is the inspector or ahj has the final say. This is a homeowner minor repair and would normally be just fine to simply replace. But you have a light fixture that requires 90C wire and the insulation rating that goes with it. Not to be confused with 90C ampacity. The requirements intention for 90C wire is the wire exposed to the heat of the fixture within the electrical box or fixture wiring compartment. Not anywhere else. It is not an ampacity issue where the entire length of the branch circuit wiring would be exposed to the temperature rise. You must bring a 90C conductor into the existing electrical box and connect to the fixture wiring and use modern wirenuts or push connectors rated for the temperature...do not reuse the old wirenuts they are not rated to the correct temp for a 90C fixture. Our inspectors site article 90 where they have the authority to accept anything they feel meets the required modification for the installation UL or Not. I can assure you if you install a junction box and from that junction box to the fixture run 90C wiring either nm-b or lighting whip and connect to the light fixture wires it will pass any inspectors eye that I have been assoiciated with. I would simply go down to local codes and ask what they accept...believe me thay are constantly dealing with this issue and have a acceptable method in place that does not require rewiring. They may accept inphases suggestion but you gotta ask.

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