Necessary Wattage for Antique Lamps

When it comes to buying vintage light fixtures – chandeliers, lanterns, pendants, and sconces – selecting the correct light bulb can be tricky. We spend most of our adult lives buying incandescent bulbs because we can usually select the right light bulb based on wattage rating alone. However, all lamps have maximum wattage ratings that are important to follow. Don't make the mistake of choosing any bulb for your antique lamp. In this guide, we explain and explore the necessary wattage for antique lamps, so you can find the best bulb for your heirloom.

Summary of Wattage

Most people know that power is a metric of the rate at which energy flows. One measurement of electrical power is known as wattage. One watt is equivalent to one joule per second. It might be helpful to think of watts as the equivalent of miles per hour when it comes to electrical equipment. Today, the Federal Trade Commission and other organizations no longer view wattage as a reliable way to gauge light bulb brightness due to the advances in LED technology, but understanding wattage is still essential to shopping for incandescent bulbs. The more watts, the brighter the bulb. When an antique lamp isn't as bright as you would like it to be, you can easily find a bulb to suit your lighting requirements and preferences without raising the risk of a serious safety hazard.

Wattage Safety Issues

When you exceed the maximum wattage rating of an old lamp by replacing the low-watt bulb with a high-watt bulb, there is serious cause for concern. If a bulb draws more current than a light fixture allows, you risk starting a fire. For example, a 100-watt bulb in a 60-watt lamp will draw more power through the wires than they are designed to handle. Furthermore, an incorrect bulb can damage your lamp's socket or wiring. Finding the necessary wattage for antique lamps may seem difficult, but we provide more than 60 years of experience in the lighting industry.

There are several concerns to monitor once you've replaced the light bulb of an antique lamp. You are likely exceeding the wattage rating of the lamp if you start to detect a burning smell or see any scorch marks. If this should happen, shut off any power to the lamp before attempting to inspect. If the lamp is warm to the touch, you need to double check whether there has been any damage done to the lamp wires or the insulation. Remove any mounting hardware and move the lamp away from the electrical outlet. Inspect the wires to determine whether there are any melted or scorched nuts and insulating on the sheathing. If there are any troublesome signs, you should have a professional electrician inspect the lamp and reconnect the wiring. Don't simply replace the light bulb with one that has a lower wattage rating.

Lamp Wattage Ratings

Whether you have purchased the lamp from an estate sale or you inherited it from a family member, you will likely notice a wattage rating and other lighting facts printed on the light bulb socket. These cautionary guidelines explain what maximum number of watts the lamp can safely handle and help you determine what kind of light bulb to purchase. In the event that your antique lamp has more than one bulb, you will need to find the maximum rating of the entire fixture to ensure that all the light bulbs do not exceed the maximum rating. In other words, you will have to double check that the combined heat of all the light bulbs being used is not enough to damage the lamp or penetrate the wire insulation.

From incandescent to compact fluorescent bulbs, there are a wide variety of wattage ratings to choose from. LED bulbs are often rated to lower amounts than incandescent or halogen bulbs, despite being equal in brightness. Both compact fluorescent and LED bulbs are usually labeled in a way that likens them to standard light bulbs, so you can compare performance, longevity, and other key factors. When matching the bulb to the lamp socket, pay attention to only the actual wattage rating of a compact fluorescent or LED light bulb, which is usually the smaller amount.

Finding the necessary wattage for antique lamps isn't as difficult as it seems, and we hope that this guide gives you a head start on shopping. Antique Lamp Supply offers a vast selection of Edison bulbs and other options at great prices. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about identifying the wattage of an antique lamp today. We look forward to hearing from you!