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phmoffett

03:35PM | 02/06/05
Member Since: 02/05/05
5 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
My house was built in 1962. One of the original fixtures no longer works and needs replacement. I see the same warning and I'm baffled by it. Am I to believe lighting fixtures manufactured PRIOR TO 1985 did produced LESS HEAT than fixtures manufactured AFTER 1985? I don't see the difference in the manufacture of a 100w bulb manufactured prior now and 1962. So what's the story there?

Tom O

02:16PM | 02/07/05
Member Since: 09/17/02
477 lifetime posts
The story is the temperature rating of the insulation on the conductors. The rating is the maximum temperature that the insulation can withstand indefinitely without damage. Older insulation was rated for 60 degrees C. Newer insulation is generally rated for 90 degrees C in dry locations, which is getting close to the boiling point of water.


phmoffett

06:42PM | 02/08/05
Member Since: 02/05/05
5 lifetime posts
I'm NOT trying to avoid a safety warning -- just trying to understand the threat level.

Let me see if I can reduce the argument to the basics. SOOOO Here goes --- Nothing has changed as far as the heat generated by a lighting fixture with a 100w bulb flush mounted to a box since my house was built in 1962. The same fixture manufactured today would generate the same heat with the same 100w incandescent bulb as the fixture manufactured in 1962. So -- the ONLY thing that's changed since 1962 is that sheathed electrical cable is now rated at a higher temperature. SO - I must have been living with the same threat of fire due since 1962 as I do today should I replace the fixture using the very same 1962 era sheathed electrical cable.

Tom O

03:44PM | 02/12/05
Member Since: 09/17/02
477 lifetime posts
You're right, that 100 watt lamp is still making about 314 BTU an hour after all these years.

Is your old fixture a hazard? Who knows? There are many variables involved (fixture design, lamp wattage, insulated ceiling, etc, ad nauseum) and I'm sure that UL & other testing labs have tightened up their standards over the years. If you examine the conductors in the outlet box and they appear to be undamaged, I'd say the old fixture is/was probably safe provided you don't go overboard on lamp wattage.

As far as a replacement goes, following the NEC, manufacturers instructions and NRTL listing requirements is the best policy. The risk of using a fixture that requires 90 degree conductors with your 60 degree wiring is probably small, but you just might have that 1 in (fill in a number) that could be a problem.

If you have further interest in this subject, you might try contacting one of the testing labs directly.

Tom

phmoffett

04:49PM | 02/20/05
Member Since: 02/05/05
5 lifetime posts
Well, I'd say the Labs have it backwards. Instead of posting warnings on new fixtures available for sale in the hardware store, the Testing Labs should be warning every homeowner to replace 60 degree sheathed electrical cable to boxes for flush mounted lighting fixtures. In fact all such wiring manufactured prior to 1985 is the potential problem and has been a potential problem since manufacture...
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