LED equivalents - Watt maximums?

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Mark Ezrin

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I have an old ceiling fan with a light fixture on it.

It says 60w or less and obviously, this was for incandescent. Can I exceed the 60w limit if I'm using an LED bulb? In other words, can I install a 100w equivalent LED bulb since it is really only 14w?

Also, I'm tired of the E-11 halogen bulbs for ceiling fans. Those bulbs are super hot, expensive and don't last. Can I change to an LED equivalent? I guess what I'm wondering is if I can/should focus on the lumen equivalents and not the watts?

Thanks.
 
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oldVermonter

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What counts is the actual wattage usage, not the "wattage equivalent" used as a marketing tool. Your 14w/"100w" LED will be well within the fixture's spec.
 

DIYorBust

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I too would like to better understand this. Older fixtures had a wattage rating, so using a CFL or LED would allow a much brighter bulb. During that era I purchased a 400W "equivalent" movie making CFL that did not exceed the wattage rating of the fixture I was using, I think around 100W. I used this as primary lighting for a large space for many years without incident, and I was not able to find a suitable LED, even up until a few years ago, although now I think you could.

However today, fixtures come with a lower watt rating for CFLs and LEDs. An obvious reason for this would be overheating the fixture. Since the load on the wiring would be lower at a lower wattage, is it the bulb itself getting too hot? Anyone know?
 

wwhitney

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However today, fixtures come with a lower watt rating for CFLs and LEDs. An obvious reason for this would be overheating the fixture. Since the load on the wiring would be lower at a lower wattage, is it the bulb itself getting too hot? Anyone know?
I'm pretty sure that if the fixture has a lower rating for LEDs than for incandescent, it's to forestall customers putting in high wattage LEDs that are not rated for enclosed fixtures, cooking the LED driver, and blaming the fixture manufacturer.

Another possible issue is that for LEDs and CFLs, the power factor is often less than one, so as far as fixture limits, the VA of the bulb would be more important than the Watts of the bulb. So if there's smallish fixture wiring that has a particular current limit, the manufacturer might, say, pessimistically assume a PF of 0.5 for non-incandescents, and rate the first at half the watts for those.

Cheers, Wayne
 

Fitter30

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Do u have a older remote control on that fan? If you do led bulbs probably won't work. The old controls don't vary the voltage they cycle power fast to dim the bulb even on full bright.
 

jadnashua

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An incandescent filiment heats up and glows and while it does flicker a bit as the a/c sinewave goes through its zero point, it's so hot, it doesn't cool off enough to show up except under special test circumstances...your eye can't detect those light changes. An LED uses DCV, so internal to the bulb, it converts the acv to dcv, and when the acv goes through the zero point, the LED goes out, so to do a dimmer with an LED takes either a compatible dimmer, or a bulb designed to be dimmed...not all of them are.

But, if the fixture just supports on/off, it is the wattage that is the limiting issue that is actually used, so a 100W equivalent LED bulb, since it's not drawing anywhere near that amount of power, should work just fine in most fixtures. There are exceptions, but most should work. The 60W limit is to limit both the current, but usually just to keep the heat rise down so you don't fry the insulation, or maybe any other plastics that may be there. IOW, it's the heat you're worrying about created by the amount of watts, not light.
 
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