Can I Use Higher Watt Bulbs Than That Recommended on a Lamp?

Just bought 2 table lamps for my living room, but the directions say only use a 60 watt bulb in each lamp which is definitely not a lot of light. Is it okay to use a 75 or 100 watts? I am trying to get some light in my living room. It has no light in the ceiling or on the ceiling fan.


By Onesummer

July 3, 20100 found this helpful

I don't believe that would be safe and would be a possible fire hazard.

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July 3, 20100 found this helpful

I have done this by mistake in the past and the socket becomes yellowed from the heat and sometimes melts. Not a good idea as it could cause a fire. Get some more lamps if more light is needed.

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July 3, 20100 found this helpful


The reason the lamp is restricted is because it will likely cause a fire, if you use a higher wattage bulb. Especially with cheap imports, there is not much of a safety margin, and you have no way of knowing, whether it is the shade or the wiring, which will

1) cause the inevitable fire, and

2) give the insurance an excuse for not paying.

You can use 27 Watt spiral fluorescent lamps. They produce the equivalent of 75 Watt incandescent bulbs.

Neither the heat they produce nor the load on the wiring is a problem. If there is space in the fixture, you can even use a "Y" socket and use two 27 Watt spirals. That will still be well within the 60 Watt limit, and for times, when you don't need that much light, you can partially unscrew one of them.

Spiral fluorescent lamps, also called CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) normally don't get hot, just warm. If they do get hot, return them to the store, because they are about to burn out.

You can also get "Y" sockets with chain switches, that allow you to turn one or both sockets off. However, don't use those with incandescent bulbs inside a fixture or shade!

Have fun!


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July 5, 20100 found this helpful

Agree. I have had a few electricians warn me about not using too much wattage. Better to buy a different lamp that can take more power.

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July 6, 20100 found this helpful

No they are built according to a standard plan, recommendations should be the rule, it is a safety thing.

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July 7, 20100 found this helpful

I was wondering, if you used the new CFL or LED bulbs, could it be done? Those use less actuall electricity. I'll check back to see if anyone has an answer...

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July 7, 20100 found this helpful

The wattage is for incandescent lights. They give off tons of heat. CFL's give almost no heat. It is the heat that is a concern not the watts. I have a lamp that has a 40 watt limit that I have CFL's with 100 watt equivalent for the last few years with no problems. The cord is not a problem, think of how small the cord is to the toaster which uses over 1000 watts.

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As a property manager for 12 years, I can tell you not to mess with the recommendations. For one, you are probably dealing with an enclosed glass cover. I have seen them accidently hit by a broom handle and shatter, raining hot glass down on the renters head.

Some are low because the lampshades are not meant for more than the 60 watts of heat.

If you have a lamp that has an open shade, you can then put in florescent bulbs, and get away with a larger wattage.

You can go to the Dollar Tree and find good bulbs, even the white decorator ones that go in the bathroom. Don't get the clear ones if you can help it. They are so bright they hurt the eyes, and they get so hot you can touch one and get burned.

Good luck!!

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July 8, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks for the education, that makes me feel a lot better! I never thought to check the load limit for our living room lamp. We have a 100-watt equivalent CFL bulb in it.

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