Wrong Bulb Can Burn Wiring

Can a Light Bulb Start a Fire?

A common mistake made by homeowners is their failure to realize that the wrong bulb can burn wiring and start a fire.   You should know this and tell your family members, especially children, in case they replace a burned-out bulb when you aren’t aware of it.   You may already have hotter bulbs in some of your lamps, and don’t realize the unseen danger that it poses for your family.

Why You Should Never Use a Higher Wattage Bulb Than Recommended

​In order to get brighter light, it seems like simply changing the bulb to a higher level one will solve the problem.   It is not unusual for a person to put a 75W (Watt) or 100W bulb into a socket that is only rated for a 60W bulb.  If you have thought about it — don’t do it.  This image shows the in-ceiling results when a chandelier was using five 100W bulbs instead of five 60W bulbs, the recommended maximum.  This could have been a disaster for the family.

The reason for the 60 W rating on a socket is usually because the wires are only 16 gauge in thickness.   When you put in a higher wattage bulb, the heat will build up and eventually cause the wiring to fail because it can’t take that much heat.  When the wires are exposed through the insulation, you have a fire hazard.

Another reason is the heat generated by the bulb itself… a 100W bulb gets hotter than a 60W bulb.  Even if the wiring doesn’t fail, the lamp may become too hot to touch and someone could get burned.

The best bet is to look inside each lamp when you change a bulb.  There should be a warning label from the manufacturer.  Follow that instruction and minimize the fire hazard to your home and family.

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