The biggest danger is heat. 75 watt bulbs put off more heat than 60 watt
bulbs do. While this "might not" be a problem, it is possible the excessive
heat could damage the fixture and/or the wiring. Especially with a fixture
that encloses the bulbs within a globe or cover.
Most light fixtures also require your house wiring to be rated for higher
temperatures (i.e. the newer NM-B instead of the original NM type). I have
seen the insulation on older wiring get brittle from too much heat and
break away from the wiring, leaving exposed conductors that could touch and
start a fire. However, it's probably not an issue for a ceiling fan which
has the bulbs located a fair distance from the house wiring.
In simple terms, you could probably put the 75 watt bulbs in and not have
any problems. But is the extra bit of light really worth the risk of
burning down your house? It's like putting a larger fuse in a circuit when
the correct size blows. You might get by with it for years, but it only
takes one time for the wiring to overheat and start a fire. Just because
you can, doesn't mean you should. Follow the manufacturers recommendations.
One option is to replace the 60 watt bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
You can find bulbs rated for the equivalent light output (lumens) as a 75
watt bulb, but they use far less power and put off very little heat. It's a
great way to conserve energy, and safely increase your light output at the
same time. However, the fluorescent bulbs are even more sensitive to heat,
and may burn out prematurely in an enclosed fixture. The only real problem
with that is cost. But it probably wouldn't be a big problem for an outdoor
fixture that is only used occasionally.
Assuming you are talking about a 1-piece glass globe, no, there is no good
way to drill a hole in it. If it is a frame with panels, you can make cracks
for air. Glass breaking isn't the risk- overheating and disintegration of
the cheap socket, feed wires, and base insulation is the risk. I've had to
replace fixtures where all the electrical parts were scorched brown and
crumbly from the heat.
These types of light fixtures are pretty cheap- if you need more light than
the fixture is rated for, just change it out for a bigger or better one.
If the lamp sockets are ceramic (china-like) material you may get away
If the sockets are plastic/bakelite material would not recommend it.
Even at the 'rated' wattage non-ceramic sockets often crack and
deteriorate in my experience. In fact I would even de-rate- to 40 watt
bulbs unless the fixture sockets are nice and open /well ventilated.
However for a few dollars you can usually rebuild a light fixture with
ceramic sockets. Probably cost you around ten bucks?
As others have suggested you could try non-incandescent lamps (CFLs
for example.) My opinion.
I would say there's a danger if the manufacturer took the time to put a
warning on there. What I have seen on a lot of fixtures is a piece of
adhesive foil foam above the light, or where the light comes close to
anything. I'd just buy a safer higher wattage fixture and be safe.
I have used 75's and 100's in sockets for 60's but didn't feel safe with
The manufacturer put the warning on; but did so after passing a UL test
which sets upper limits to lamp wattage based upon fire and electrical
safety. The UL tests consider socket temperatures, deterioration of wire
insulation and the life of the materials used in the fixture assembly.
Exceeding the wattage limit voids the UL listing.
On Mon, 30 Apr 2007 08:33:40 -0700, Steve B wrote:
Been using 75 watt bulbs in two, two bulb mirrorside vertical light bars
for 16 years with no evidence of damage to the Bakelite bulb bases. And
I'm certain these fixtures are at least 25-30 years old. Guess they just
don't make em like they used to.
#1 Offishul Ruiner of Usenet, March 2007
#1 Usenet Asshole, March 2007
I've seen a lot of old fixtures where there was discoloration due to heat,
and don't think there's a very high degree of danger.
When thinking of things engineering wise, I always extrapolate to the nth
degree. Like, what if someone would put in a 2,000 watt bulb? Sometimes it
makes the visualization of the math and algebra and angles and leverage
simpler so that one can comprehend "If I do this, that happens, and if I do
that, this happens."
I, myself, like to stick to the 60w bulb in a 60w rated receptacle, but will
go against that in cases where I need more light, or the 100s are on sale.
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