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Electrical Wire and Cable

What Size Light Bulb Is Safe For Fixtures?

Light Fixtures Light Sockets Lamps and Light Bulbs: Guide for Selecting the Right Size Light Bulb, CAUTION: Installing the Wrong Size Light Bulb Can be Dangerous!

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The Wrong Size Light Bulb Can Be Dangerous!
Electrical Question #1: I am replacing Light Bulbs in Light Fixture Lamp Sockets.

Background: Ed, a Homeowner from Amherst, Massachusetts.

Electrical Question #2: I’m wondering if halogen bulbs are OK in our light fixture.

This electrical wiring question came from Allie, a Homeowner in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your home electrical question Ed and Allie.

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Comments about this Electrical Project

13 Responses to “What Size Light Bulb Is Safe For Fixtures?”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Jane,
    The watt limitation is typically printed on the light socket. Plastic light sockets will have a lower watt limitation than a metal socket. Also check the Tiffany shade for additional lamp type or size limitations. Standard lamps will show a rating anywhere from 110 to 130 volts, so the 125 volt rating is fine.
    Enjoy your light!

  2. jane brown says:

    I just hung a Tiffany tulip style shade from an existing socket where a fan/light combo used to be. I want to use a hundred watt round clear bulb. The bulb I want to purchase says 125V. House is pretty old. Electrical just average. Will it be safe to use?

  3. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Christian,
    I would suspect that the wiring may be loose at the connections to the light fixture. Sparks may result if the wires are loose and the light is turned on.
    Be Safe,

  4. Christian says:

    My wife bought a 660W 250V porcelain lamp holder to replace one of the light fixture in our hallway. When I attempted to put it in, the black wire started sparking when I turned the electric back on. Any idea what might be the issue? There was a similar fixture there before so not sure what is causing the outage.

  5. Bruce says:

    How can I use a 60W/125V light fixture (from US) when the voltage is 250V (in Europe)? What light bulb specifications I need to follow?

    Thank You

  6. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Dominique,
    Yes the attitude of the light bulb will make a difference especially with chandeliers. The reason why is the construction of the light bulb, particularly the fulfillment, which may be mounted vertical or horizontal which will have an effect on the type of light that will be produced and the shadow that will be dispersed as a result of the internal construction of the lamp. You may also see light bulbs that are specifically for ceiling fans. A ceiling fan light bulb has a heavy duty filament what will withstand the natural vibrations that are produced by the ceiling fan. Heavy duty light bulbs are also know as Rough Service light bulbs and have a 130 volt rating, and they will last much longer than a standard light bulb. Mechanics and other service people who use a drop light generally use a 130 volt Rough Service light bulb which will take much more abuse.
    I hope this helps,

  7. Dominique says:

    When shopping for light bulbs, I only take into consideration the wattage regardless of the shape of the bulb. I have often wondered why some bulbs are marked for chandeliers upside or some downside. Does the position of the light bulb really make a difference? Thanks.

  8. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Joe,
    The light socket is marked 660w 250v because that is the maximum rating of the socket, however that does NOT mean that is the recommended or allowed size light bulb for that specific light fixture. The size of the light bulb for the light fixture should be specified in the instruction sheet that came with the light fixture. There may be a label inside the light fixture or around the base of the light socket with the allowed or limited size light bulb for that light fixture.

  9. Joe says:

    Can a 200 watt incandescent light bulb be used safely in a ceiling ceramic fixture socket marked 660w 250v

  10. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Catherine,
    With incandescent light fixtures you do not have to have bulbs in all of the light sockets, but having an open light socket that is energized is not a real good idea if the fixture is in an accessible location where fingers or objects may be a problem. It may be better to slightly unscrew the lamp so that it does not make connection and still occupy the space, or install a lamp that is burnt out.
    I hope this helps.

  11. Catherine Chambers says:

    Is it safe to have a light fixture that holds multiple light bulbs, but put only one bulb in it?

  12. Dave Rongey says:

    Indy, the numbers that are found on the light socket are the maximum rating for the Light Socket ONLY. This obviously does not mean that you can safely use a 660 watt light bulb in your light fixture, besides, it will most likely cause a house fire. This is why I say to go back to the light fixture instruction sheet or look on the box to see what is the specified size light bulb. Yes, I know that this is not possible for older light fixtures, so the other place to look is on the light fixture housing. Many times there will either be a imprinted stamp or a label that shows the size light bulb to use. If nothing is found then I would suggest finding a similar light fixture at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot hardware store and see what the specs are. Often you will find that 60 watts is the standard size light bulb, but it is best to find out for sure.

  13. Indy says:

    I have the same problem as the last guy. What does the 660w/250v mean. I have a fixture on a mirror (two one on each side of the mirror) and it says the same thing. I need to use it now and realize many years ago I must have just put a 15watt bulb in it. I would like to put a larger bulb but there is no way to find the manufacturer of this to ask. Is there a way to decipher what this means.

    like the last person I am not able to find anyone to tell me what these numbers mean.

    Thank you